The Department of Life and Environmental Sciences at Bournemouth University (BU) has launched a new website to help people interested in volunteering find the perfect nature based project.
The physical and mental effects of being outdoors in nature have been long established, and volunteering is known to have a range of mental health benefits including increased confidence and satisfaction from doing something that makes a difference. New research from BU shows that volunteering whilst in nature can be even more beneficial to your health and welbeing than simply being outdoors.
However the research also showed that it can be difficult for people who want to volunteer to find a project suited to their needs, or that matches their motivations with the volunteering opportunity. The new website aims to solve that problem with a simple but powerful matching process that is based on artificial intelligence algorithms to match volunteers to the perfect opportunity for them.
Prospective volunteers just need to answer a few simple questions and then they can browse through projects in a location of their choosing that match their skills and motivations.
Wildlife organisations from across the country, including the National Trust and the RSPB, have signed up to the website so there are plenty of opportunities for people to get involved to give something back to the natural world whilst improving their mental and physical health.
Project leader Dr Anita Diaz said: “This is a great way to get involved in wildlife conservation. We have loads of projects from all across the UK, which can suit anyone from experts to beginners, for people wanting to learn new skills through to projects which will let you meet new people. It’s free, and really simple to use.”
To find out more, go to www.naturevolunteers.uk and click on ‘Find Projects’, or follow for updates of new projects on Facebook @NatureVolunteersUK.