“I began volunteering as a community Warden in June 2019, visiting my local nature reserve in Didcot, Mowbray Fields. I would help in picking up litter and carrying out checks for the Trust. Sadly, in July 2019, I suffered a severe mental health breakdown and didn’t know if I would be able to continue volunteering, but the Earth Trust staff were so supportive and encouraging that I carried on with my role. As part of my journey to better my health, a therapist encouraged me to spend as much time in nature as I could. So, that’s what I did! Seeing the beauty the reserves held, and the wonderful wildlife, I decided to get a camera and start photographing what I saw. This led to me become a nature photographer for the Trust taking photos for their social media channels.
Volunteering for Earth Trust has given me my life back, as well as a huge sense of achievement. My confidence has grown hugely over the last few years, allowing me to take part in opportunities such as the public events and research surveys Earth Trust has been involved in. Visiting the reserves regularly with my camera has also allowed me to meet some truly wonderful people on my walks as they often ask what I’m photographing. My photography journey has gone above and beyond what I ever imagined, from sharing photos on my Instagram page to featuring in Digital Camera magazine, and this is all thanks to the team at Earth Trust encouraging me to be happy and enjoy my time out in nature.
I recently took part in some wellbeing walks with the Trust where members of the public joined us. This really reminded me of the benefits nature can have on your health and it’s inspired me to begin my own wellbeing walks (hopefully in the coming months) so I can support other people who may be struggling with their mental health.”