Volunteer at London Zoo
PUBLISHED: 10:46 11 June 2019
ZSL's Fundraising Director explains how both individuals and corporate groups can give their time to conservation and wildlife projects or even by feeding the zoo's animals
At ZSL, our volunteers come in many different guises; from those who help us educate and inspire our visitors at our London and Whipsnade Zoos, to people who take part in "citizen science" schemes and contribute to our global wildlife research.
Last week we celebrated our volunteers. For me, National Volunteer Week recognises the people who give one of their most precious commodities - their time.
In our increasingly busy lives, the gift of time is a valuable one, and we're fortunate to receive this from passionate individuals and responsible businesses alike.
Here in the UK, volunteers help us to conserve native wildlife and their habitats.
From citizen scientists providing vital statistics on the eels in the River Thames, to those helping us survey hedgehogs around Hampstead Heath - trawling through images generated by 150 cameras traps across the park - our volunteers' time makes a huge difference.
It's not just individual volunteers who can help, businesses that support ZSL encourage their employees to donate their time.
In the last year, 630 people working for our corporate partners donated more than 1,674 hours to ZSL.
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We're supported by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), whose employees recently spent a weekend helping our conservationists to clean up plastic waste from the Thames.
Our flagship conservation project for the UK this year, Mother Thames, celebrates the diversity of life in our great river.
The RBC's team are helping us to keep it that way, removing a staggering 52kg of plastic in just one afternoon.
Earlier this summer a team of volunteers from Bloomberg and White & Case filled 63 barrels of foliage, harvested from trees and plants around our Regent's Park zoo, to provide food rich in essential minerals and vitamins for our animals, including the giraffes and okapi.
Volunteers from Bloomberg also helped us to welcome 5,000 visitors to Special Children's Day, an event dedicated to children with special needs and their families.
Time donated by volunteers positively changes environments but, and significantly for us, it connects people and wildlife - we know that nature can improve people's mental wellbeing and a positive connection with wildlife is the strongest motivator to encourage action for wildlife.
Becoming a corporate partner and volunteering with your employer or volunteering in your spare time is a simple way to get involved and make a change.
Could your team help ours? We rely on support to run conservation projects.
To find out more about how you could become a volunteer or corporate partner visit zsl.org.