Keen to volunteer - want to learn more about conservation

Hey all,

Hopefully a moderator for this Community or even another member can enlighten me on this.

I'm a recent RSPB member - I'm keen to volunteer locally, but I'd also like to learn more about getting some academic credentials in conservation.

It's more of a personal project; I already have a career plan (I'm working in Social Media), but I'd like to study this in my spare time. Where do you start when it comes to conservation biology? 

I want to start at the bottom and build up - I presume you need a GCSE / A level in biology before progressing in to a specific field of science relative to conservation or ornithology.

Anyone got any good recommendations for adult learning / open university / distance learning / part time study opportunities?


  • Hi Jack welcome to the community from Sheffield.
    You don't say where in the country you are but the Volunteering page on the RSPB main site may be a good place to start
    If there is a site near you why not pop along or contact them, if there isn't a RSPB site try looking on the Wildlife Trust website
    I've met some of the Volunteers/interns from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and they all say they have a great time.

    My Flickr photos

  • Hey Alan,

    Cheers! Forgot to mention that - I'm based in Cambridgeshire.

    Good shout, I think I'll chat to some staff about the sort of things that they've studied in the past that lead them to working in the job that they do.

    I've been looking at my local colleges / unis to see what they offer in the way of evening classes or adult learning but it seems difficult to find something that'll work with my current schedule.
  • To do some studies while you are working will be a problem as will volunteering unless you have some free time, to study probably the best bet is to look at the Open University and see what course you would want to do.

    My Flickr photos

  • It all really depends why you're looking at academic qualifications. Biology would probably be the basis for some aspects of conservation, but it's a wide ranging discipline. For example, in a lot of warden type roles you probably need a bit of horticulture, some engineering, stock keeping - all sorts!
    If this is a personal project rather than a career plan, I'd get involved as a volunteer first, before thinking about qualifications. That way you'd get a feel for what interests you the most, which will suggest a direction for any academic study. You may also find that opportunities for training come along to you as a volunteer, that may be harder to find as a member of the public. One thing that is certain, the vast majority of people working for organisations like the RSPB started as volunteers


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  • Some equally solid advice, cheers @Whistling Joe. Appreciate it!

    Currently scanning the volunteering opps in my area :)
  • Hi Jack,

    As Whistling Joe mentioned, volunteering is a great way to find out more about an area or work and whether it is something you want to do as a career. You can find opportunities to fit around your studies and the amount of time you have available . That could be from home, one day a week on a reserve or one week or more as part of the Residential Scheme where you can learn new skills and gain experience. Have a look at

    Want to Volunteer? Ask me!

  • Thanks, Rhoda! I'll consider all of this, too. I've already been in contact with my local group to scout things out.