A day in the life of a volunteer at Finchampstead Ridges

Dog Sally sitting in Simon's Wood

My name is Sally the dog, and I regularly attend volunteer sessions at Finchampstead Ridges and Simon's Wood with my owners Ross and Tabs. I act as a friendly presence and keep a close guard on the bonfire, especially in winter. Here's my diary of a typical day with the conservation volunteers.

On the morning of the work party I'm ready and eager to go, and after a short journey we reach Wellingtonia Avenue. This is when I start to get excited as I know we are there. It's easy to recognise since the volunteers cleared away all the scrub from the base of the trees a couple of years ago, making sure the enormous sequoia trees have the space they need to keep growing.

I leap out of the car and, with much tail-wagging, greet all my fellow volunteers. We normally start off with a quick litter-pick of the car park. I do wonder why humans drop so much litter – it’s much better to take it home with you and put it in the bin than leave it to pollute the countryside.

My owners Ross and Tabs always clean up after me as well, and take it away with us at the end of the day. I do wish other dog owners would do the same as it would keep the site cleaner, safer and more pleasant for everyone.

Once we've settled in to the day’s programme, my main role is to keep a lookout and maintain a safe perimeter while the rest of the team lop, chop, saw and clear invasive scrub or rhododendron to help restore the native woodland and heathland.

Simon's Wood, Berkshire
Rhododendron clearance in Simon's Wood, Berkshire
Simon's Wood, Berkshire

The team come together at tea break. I make sure everyone has their tea and biscuits and then I usually relax for a while, but always keeping an eye on the workers.

After a morning’s hard work we all stop for lunch, and then I normally sneak up to my friend Jamie the ranger who (if I am good) often passes over some of his meat sandwich. I, of course, try to get as many volunteers as possible throwing my ball…good exercise after lunch, and I have to watch my figure, you know.

Simon's Wood, Berkshire
Dog Sally sitting by the bonfire at Simon's Wood
Simon's Wood, Berkshire

As the day comes to a close, I often stay behind with Ross and Tabs to make sure the fire burns down safely before we head for home. After a hard day I am feeling pretty tired, so when we arrive home it’s paws up in my favourite armchair, feeling great about the positive difference we’ve made today. Then I drift off to sleep to dream about the day we’ve had volunteering.

Volunteer with Sally

Join Sally and her human counterparts on our conservation work parties at Finchampstead Ridges every second and third Wednesday of the month.