There are various ways that you can support any charity, from simply giving a cash donation to becoming a volunteer. Here at Denmark Farm, you can also support our work by staying in the ecolodge, by attending one of our courses or by booking all or part of the site for an event (from a conference to a wedding party)… or by becoming a trustee.
My association with Denmark Farm is all linked to teaching. As a lifelong learning tutor for Aberystwyth University, I have run courses on ecology and conservation at Denmark Farm for about 15 years. I gradually got to know the site through guided tours and talks from various members of staff and by looking at the different habitats with my students. So, a few years ago, when it was suggested that I might consider becoming a trustee, it felt like a very practical way that I could support an organisation that I had already come to value greatly.
At the time, the expertise that was being sought included two areas to which I was able to make a contribution: environmental education and conservation. As a result, in the years that have followed, I have been able to help develop the programme of courses that we offer, provide ideas about interpretative material and advise on the management of the land. In addition, you might notice that my writing skills are drawn on to contribute blog posts, just like this! Interestingly, I’ve also had the opportunity make different contributions as my own interests change. For example, in recent years I have taken up various handicrafts, an interest that led directly to the formation of our Cake and Craft group: a community project based around the idea that ‘all things are connected‘.
Much of the work that I do as a trustee is from home – writing, communicating, thinking, planning and proofreading – but I’m also over on site regularly, I attend about 10 trustees meeting a year and I often take the opportunity of a visit to have a walk around the site – both because I like to check out what needs doing, but also because it is a beautiful, peaceful place, abounding with birds, butterflies, dragonflies, wildflowers and small mammals. These informal visits highlight to me the unique nature of the site and remind me how important it is to contribute to the continued existence of Denmark Farm.
Being a trustee is about offering your skills, and the skills required are varied. Even a charity dedicated to conservation and education needs fund-raisers, financial experts, legal perspectives and people-managers, not to mention members of the local community who understand the history, politics and people of the area. The relationship is a two-way street: as well as knowing you are doing something to support a great cause, being a trustee allows you to have a direct influence on the direction that the charity takes when delivering its objectives.
You can find out more about being a trustee and how to apply here.