volunteers at SISI project launch

How you can help

How you can help

Volunteer with us!

Get involved!

We are looking for volunteers to join us who are passionate about Scotland’s iconic rivers and wildlife and want to get involved in conserving our freshwater environment and keeping it clear of Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) for the benefit of our native wildlife.

No experience is necessary, in fact quite the opposite, we can support our volunteers by providing training and qualifications such as outdoor first aid and pesticide application (spraying) and equipment to use to tackle invasives species in your community.

volunteers removing invasive plants

We also want to help our volunteers grow and we can support you through your John Muir Award, provide training in volunteer management skills, and support students in dissertations and projects.

There are a wide range of ways that you can help support our project, from getting hands on with some invasive plant removal to just keeping an eye on your local river and reporting any sightings of invasive species.

Whether you want to come along just for a day out in the fresh air, or become a dedicated INNS crusader, there is an opportunity within the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative to suit everyone.

Find out more about the different volunteering opportunities that are available with our project
volunteers spraying

Who can get involved?

You don’t need to have any previous experience to volunteer with us, you will receive support, encouragement and training and work alongside SISI project and/or Fishery Trust staff.

We welcome people of all abilities and all ages.  Our normal minimum volunteering age is 18 years old, however we are happy to talk to anyone under 18 years about how we can work with you.

Schools and youth groups are welcome to contact us.  We can support you in getting young people out to do some environmental volunteering, under the organisation's supervision.

We’d also love to hear from corporate, business, community or youth groups who would like to get involved in carrying out some conservation work in their local community. Read more about Employee Volunteering. 

volunteer with mink raft

Why do you need my help?

Invasive species are a great threat to the native wildlife of Scotland. Our project is only funded for 4 years, so to be successful and create a long-term sustainable solution to controlling invasive species we need your help.

By providing free training, supporting and equipping volunteers we aim to embed invasive species control at a local level, within communities and supported by the local Fishery Trusts, so there is a long-term commitment to continuing the good work after the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative finishes.

Read more about the impacts of invasive species

Building our volunteer community

There are already lots of people involved in volunteering with the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative.  We’ve got students, wildlife groups, private individuals, corporate groups, estate workers, farmers, river bailiffs, and even sheep, all doing their bit to help remove invasive non-native species from Scotland's countryside.

We value our volunteers and it’s important to us that you feel involved in the wider project and understand how your contribution is really making a difference.  So, there will be volunteer events and barbeques, newsletters, various courses and guided walks that you can attend and we will provide amd support opportunities for you to gain qualifications. Read more about training opportunities here.

You can meet more of our volunteers and hear what they have to say here.

Some of our volunteers

Kevin

Dedicated Deveron devotee

Some volunteers exceed our expectations and represent exactly what the SISI project is trying to aspire to - enabling enthused and inspired local people to look after their rivers long-term, with the support of their local fishery trust. Kevin is already doing just that.

For nearly 10 years Kevin has volunteered with the Deveron, Bogie & Isla Charitable Trust, spraying invasive species along the banks of the Deveron and Isla Rivers. He explained what motivates him;

"For over 30 years the River Deveron had been kind to me and for me to get a chance to be a volunteer was just my way of saying 'thank you' to the river. It has given me so much satisfaction and I wanted to give something back. It's good to see the river, it gets you out of the house and takes you to places you probably haven't been to before. 

I just love it. I get satisfaction at the end - sure, not a lot of people want to go around with a knapsack sprayer on their backs for 4 or 5 miles, but for me if doesn't make any difference. Yeah, it's tiring, but at the end of the day, once you've done it, it's good fun and it's rewarding. I have a sense of pride for doing that."

Ross

One of our first volunteers!

Ross, currently working in the social care sector, has been volunteering with SISI in Angus since the project kicked off assisting with surveying and herbicide control of INNS. He has also successfully gained his pesticide application qualifications.

Ross shared his experiences and how being involved in the project has benefited him:

"I was suffering from depression and wanted something that would put me back in touch with nature. This project helped me to raise my self esteem and took me to some of the most beautiful hidden surroundings that Scotland has to offer.

I'm enjoying making new friends, exploring new places and with the useful skills and qualifications that I gained I now plan to go into this sector as a career."

Marigold

Hogweed muncher

Marigold is a key volunteer over on the River Deveron catchment, where she spends her days enthusiastically munching her way through a serious Giant hogweed infestation. Unlike her human handlers she isn't bothered by the toxic sap of the plant and finds it's fresh new leaves quite tasty. She's also keen to help the promotion of the project and she has starred in several newspapers and on television!

Marigold said "Baa mheee ba, munch munch, yum, ba ba baaaa"