Volunteering in Woodlands - Motivations and Barriers

Carried out by: Liz O'Brien at Forest Research

Summary Description:

This project focused on practical environmental volunteering to explore what motivates people to become involved in practical volunteering work, what benefits they gain from their involvement and are there any potential barriers to getting or staying involved.

Timescale: 2007-2008

Project Outcomes:

The research found that volunteers are not only motivated for environmental reasons but also by the personal benefits they gain from the outdoor opportunities and the social nature of environmental activities. Volunteers learn new skills and meet others while improving their health, well-being and quality of life. Environmental volunteering offers a range of opportunities to suit people with diverse interests and abilities. The environment provides a common language for all and a shared purpose independent of gender, ethnic background, age, physical ability, mental functioning, socio-economic status or knowledge of environmental management. The diverse nature of volunteers provides organisations with a range of skills to draw from while also challenging organisations to accommodate differences in the backgrounds, abilities and interests of the volunteers. Organisations need to ensure they involve volunteers in decision-making while providing them with a range of opportunities, choice, rewards, recognition, flexibility, support and adequate resources to complete the environmental activities.

You can find out more information on the project here. The full report is available for download here

The project was carried out by Liz O’Brien, Forest Research in association with Mardie Townsend and Matthew Ebden, Deakin University, Australia

Further Information

Volunteering in nature as a way of enabling people to reintegrate into society
Liz O'Brien, Ambra Burls, Mardie Townsend and Matthew Ebden
Perspectives in Public Health - Perspectives in Public Health 2011 131: 71 originally published online 18 November 20102010
Highlighted Projects