In our second blog celebrating Volunteers' Week we hear from Lizzie Rhoades on how she's been involved in Digging for Diversity, a partnership project kindly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots Scheme aimed at engaging young people with Edinburgh's wildlife. Lizzie is the president of the Dirty Weekenders, the University of Edinburgh's conservation volunteers student society. 

Digging for Diversity

Group photo near the beginning of the Digging for Diversity project at a regular favourite, Duddingston Field. Credit: Lizzie Roades

For the past two years, the Dirty Weekenders Conservation Society has collaborated with RSPB Scotland on the Digging for Diversity project, aimed at encouraging young people to learn more about the natural environment.

Our last project of the first year; we helped to build and set up a huge wooden table at Duddingston Field. Credit: Cameron Kenworthy

It’s been a fantastic two years, with many new skills learned by all! I joined the committee as a social secretary, and I helped to plan out the training sessions for that year, including winter tree ID and willow weaving, and it’s been exciting to use those skills in future projects and expand on our work.


In Figgate Park we helped to clear out the burn of rubbish and trees. Credit: Cameron Kenworthy

This year, as the president, I’ve enjoyed watching the project increase its impact through more training sessions and the chance for students to achieve a John Muir Award for the vast amount of time that was put into conserving the natural environment of Edinburgh. Since the project began, we’ve created fantastic connections with different community groups, and many of us have participated in events and work in these communities outside of our normal projects.


Our members learned to identify bees during the Bee ID training session. Credit: Laura Goble

This project helped so many of our members feel more at home in Edinburgh through the impact that they created in their work, and I hope we’ll be able to continue similar projects in the years to come!

Find out more on how you can get involved in volunteering here