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Volunteering Case Study: Maria

Maria Peak is a regular volunteer in the Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths National Landscape, having first got involved in 2021. Maria explains why she volunteers her time and the impact it has had on her life.

I picked up a leaflet whilst at the Long Shed in Woodbridge as I thought my husband would be interested. He joined as a volunteer and had his first session in July 2021, removing Himalayan Balsam from the River Brett. I didn't know much about the river, so I decided to sign up too!

My favourite thing about volunteering in the Suffolk & Essex Coast & Heaths National Landscape is the variety of tasks available, from hands-on work to surveying and speaking to the public, as well as the different locations in which we work.

I really enjoyed the footpath surveys as other people will now benefit from the issues that were found and reported. Hopefully this will enable more people to get out and enjoy our beautiful landscape.

I love being outside, in the countryside and particularly along the coast or by a river. I guess I just wanted to do my bit by looking after these areas to encourage wildlife and for others to enjoy too.

I’ve learnt a lot about different plants and trees and what to do to improve areas for wildlife, which have benefited my own garden too! It has given me more confidence in my ability, and I’ve completed tasks I wouldn’t have previously thought I could do.

It’s been great to meet and work alongside so many new people. Come and give it a try!