Volunteering is a great way to get out into the countryside, meet like-mided people, keep fit and do your bit to look after this amazing place - no matter how big or small that may be. Cairngorms Nature is a good example of how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and volunteers play a huge part in that collective effort. Here are some opportunities you might like to try...


Junior Rangers

Find out more about the National Park, get involved with conservation activities, learn new skills, meet new people and become an ambassdor for the Cairngorms. The Junior Ranger programme is for young, adventurous people age 11 - 18 years. Find out more about how to become a Cairngorms National Park Junior Ranger

Balmoral Ranger Service

Regular groups are mostly engaged in practical conservation tasks. Groups include Junior Rangers, students on work experience, Scout groups and students. Contact Glyn Jones, Ranger

Crown Estate Ranger Service

Based in Tomintoul, opportunities are mostly informal, when people or organisations contact the ranger service directly.

Glen Tanar Ranger Service

Glen Tanar involve numerous groups in practical conservation tasks. Groups include Junior Rangers, the John Muir Trust’s North East members group, Scouts, Guides, and DofE, as well as students on placements. They are very welcome to recieve Community Service and literacy groups, as well as people with mental health issues referred by social workers. Contact Eric Baird, Ranger

Health Walks

Volunteers lead weekly guided walks to promote active lifestyles in a fun, sociable manner. Find out more about the programme and the free training to become a walk leader.

Highland Council Ranger Service

Rangers are an excellent route to finding out more about what's going on in area. They have good connections with local conservation groups and activities, and are sometimes able to offer work experience for young people. Contact Saranne Bish, Highland Council ranger

NTS Mar Lodge Estate Ranger Service

One of the largest providers of volunteering opportunities within the National Park, NTS Mar Lodge takes on a wide variety of volunteers and voluntary groups, mostly focusing on practical conservation tasks. Groups include the NTS Thistle Camp (for over 18s) and Trailblazer Camps (for teenagers). Contact  marlodgeestate@nts.org.uk

Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS) Adopt a Path scheme

Volunteers become responsible for regularly monitoring the state of a particular path, and notifying OATS of any maintenance required, or access issues that have become apparent.  Contact Chris York, adopt-a-path scheme co-ordinator

RSPB Abernethy Reserve

Abernethy currently offer residential volunteer internships lasting from between six months and a year.  These internships are designed to allow successful applicants to gain field skills and knowledge of the Cairngorms and its biodiversity.  Training and mentoring is provided.  There is also a “Friends of Abernethy” group of local volunteers who help out with practical conservation tasks on a regular basis. Contact Amelie Sumpter, Assistant Warden. Amelie.sumpter@rspb.org.uk

RSPB Insh Marshes Reserve

A small number of long-term local volunteers help out with surveys, admin tasks, and general maintenance work. There are also opportunities for volunteers to come from outside the Park and stay for a minimum of a week (two preferred) and up to a year in on-site accommodation. Contact: Pete Moore, Warden

RSPB Loch Garten (Osprey Centre) Reserve

From the third weekend in March through to the end of August, the centre hosts a team of six volunteers every week, recruited centrally by RSPB. Accommodation is provided on site. Their main task is twenty-four hour surveillance of the osprey nests and recording any activity. Volunteers also carry out minor maintenance tasks such as litter picking, and occasionally take on visitor engagement roles such as manning the visitor centre.Contact RSPB Abernethy

Boat of Garten Wildlife Group

A small, local conservation group run entirely by volunteers. Members carry out wildlife surveys ,fill bird feeders, montor nest boxes, talk to visitors and carry out practical task. Find out more. 

Highland Aspen Group (HAG)

Operating from a tree nursery within the grounds of the Highland Wildlife Park, HAG involves a combination of part-time staff and a few local volunteers. Activities include surveying aspen, planting trees in the local area and more skilled tasks in the nursery such as “grafting”. Find out more

Muir of Dinnet NNR

A small team of local volunteers help out with maintenance tasks, information centre and visitor management. Contact Catriona Reid, Reserve warden

RSPB Crannach Reserve

A small team of local volunteers help with practical conservation tasks and wildlife recording. There are also opportunities for occasional corporate groups for “challenge” days.Contact Stuart Jennings, Reserve manager

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