volunteers at SISI project launch

How you can help

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There are a range of ways that you can help conserve our freshwater environment and keep it clear of Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) for the benefit of our native wildlife.

You can get hands-on with some invasive plant removal, keep an eye on your local river and report any sightings of invasive species or make an individual commitment to undertake more biosecurity actions.

Get involved and volunteer!

We'd love to hear from anyone who is interesting in volunteering with the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative, whether you want to come along for just a day out in the fresh air, or become a dedicated Invasive Species crusader! 

Read on for the Who? What? Where? When? of volunteering.

spraying hogweed


There are a variety of ways in which you can get involved. Our main and most popular volunteering opportunities are;

  • Invasive plant control; 
    • Spraying Giant hogweed or Japanese knotweed with herbicide
    • Conservation work days to remove Himalayan balsam 
    • Assist with riverside plant surveys
  • American mink control;
    • Monitoring a mink raft
    • Running a mink trap

Visit our Volunteering Opportunities page to find out more about these and other ways you could get involved. 




  • Anyone! 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.
  • No previous experience necessary. You don’t need to have any previous experience to volunteer with us, in fact quite the opposite, we can support our volunteers by providing training by our experienced staff and also access to qualifications such as pesticide application (spraying). Visit our training page to read more. 
  • Groups and Businesses. 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. Visit our Employee volunteering page to find out more about corporate volunteering.
  • Students. We can help with dissertations or support student summer placements. Visit our student volunteering page to find out more.
monitoring a mink raft


Please get in touch to find out what opportunities are available in your local area. We can only work withing our project area which covers Highland/Eastern Perthshire, Angus, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Highland (excluding Lochaber area) - view a map of the project area. 



Our plant control work is seasonal, we treat invasive plant during the growing season, typically April - October. 

Our mink control project runs all year round. 


volunteer group


Invasive species are a great threat to the native wildlife of Scotland. Our project is only funded for five 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


vol handbook


  • Your local contact. When you have registered with us as a volunteer you will be put in touch with your local contact, who is the first port of call for any correspondence, queries, training requests and support related to your volunteering. They are there to help you so please keep in touch with them and ask them anything you need to know. 
  • Volunteer handbook. To support you in volunteering we have prepared a Volunteer Handbook, which provides further information about volunteering with us.  Read the Volunteer Handbook.

    (You can also download the Volunteer Handbook in English or in Gaelic. (N.B. these documents are not fully accessible)

  • Safety guidelines. We advise that you read the Safety guidelines for volunteers undertaking outdoor work, which can also found in the handbook.
  • Join us on social media. Please also sign up to receive our e-newsletter and follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) where we post updates on current activities, projects and opportunities.
  • Stay in touch. If you need any additional information or have any further questions then let us know. We are here to help you help us! You can email us on [email protected] 

Volunteering Policy

Our Volunteering Policy outlines our commitment to, and support of, our volunteers. Read the Volunteering Policy.



Hear from some of our volunteers about their volunteering experiences...


Jess and Alan

Mink raft volunteers

Jess and Alan live in the highlands in what used to be a mink farm about 60 years ago. Legend has it that one day the owner was badly bitten by one of the mink, so he abandoned the idea and set all the mink free! After hearing about the SISI project they decided to get in touch and sign up as mink volunteers.

Jess said: “Living on an old mink farm, we wanted to help amend the mistakes of the past and this motivation was heightened by a recent mink sighting. A friend of mine told me that he had signed up to monitor a mink raft himself, and gave me the contact details for Trudi, the SISI Project Officer for the area. Helping to keep the highlands free of mink will benefit our chickens and ducks as well as the native wildlife.”


Dedicated Spey Volunteer

Mark retired a few years ago and was keen to volunteer for an organisation that included active participation. The SISI project caught his eye for several reasons - it was local to his area of the Spey, involved active control work and, most importantly, allowed Mark to get involved with giant hogweed control.

“Giant hogweed was a personal concern for me as I had some invading my stream at the bottom of my garden. As it happens, the stream was also ideal for a bit of mink trapping, so I have a mink trap on a floating raft in there too.

I thoroughly enjoy the days out spraying hogweed (or half days sometimes as I’m old and tired) and I had my first mink catch recently.  The days out spraying are fun and Karen keeps us organised and enthused. Her lunchtime coffee and biscuits are worth the effort alone!  It’s fine to help make a difference and killing hogweed is just plain fun.”


'Working with Rivers' Intern

Sarah is a recent graduate from the University of St Andrews where she studied Biology. Her passion for ecology and conservation led her to the Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Rivers Trust for a 6-month ‘Working with Rivers’ internship. She has started off by working on invasive species with their project officer, Elise, but will also be working on electrofishing, freshwater pearl mussel surveys and the Findhorn Watershed Initiative, which works on catchment-wide river restoration.

“I have always been passionate about nature and understand the importance of ecology and conservation. I want to make a difference and be part of the solution. Working with the Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Rivers Trust allows me to do this. Plus I get to be outside in nature and work with and meet some wonderful people.”