Chris chairs committee meetings and is the landowner liaison for PEA. He has expertise in conservation and heritage techniques, but that doesn’t stop him trying out his 'dad' jokes when the inspiration hits him!
Esther is our resident marine biologist, with an unusual mix of other interests: painting, plants, seaweeds and guinea-pigs to name a few! She never misses a chance to brew up a fresh round of teas!
Mike Design & Media
Mike is constantly kept on his toes capturing the bustle of activity during our volunteering events and workshops with his camera! He has a flair for design and loves to keep the team smiling!
Secretary and Volunteer Project Officer
Hayley is the quiet, contemplating member of the group. She is usually keeping an eye on what mischief the others are causing, and has a big thing for insects!
Manon Volunteer Project Officer
Manon joined PEA to develop practical skills in nature conservation and sustainability. She loves bees, honey, and can easily be spotted cycling through Plymouth with her red polka dotted helmet.
Julz exudes happiness when outdoors so much so that brambles find her completely irresistible, she never misses a chance for a laugh.
What to expect as a volunteer
All volunteering events with Plymouth Environmental Action are FREE!
As a volunteer for PEA you will gain valuable nature conservation skills in countryside management, such as how to create and restore important habitats for wildlife and people. You will also gain other key skills such as communication, team working, and leadership! If you are really keen, you may want to progress to become a Volunteer Project Officer (VPO). You'll then get more involved in the 'behind the scenes' - planning and leading practical projects and social events . You don't have to have any skills, experience or abilities to join as a volunteer; all you need is a love of the outdoors and a good team player! We provide free minibus transport from Plymouth City Centre, as well as plenty of tea and biscuits throughout the project day! Waterproofs and wellington boots can be provided if you don't have your own.
Many volunteers have gone on to do great things with the skills they have acquired with PEA. These include working with environmental consultancies, NGO's, conservation charities, and research institutions!
Additional to our Volunteering project, we also provide skills-based training in the form of one-day workshops. These cost £10 per person and include all training by a qualified leader, free transport from Plymouth, tea and biscuits throughout the day, and all course materials. Examples of our workshops include Coppicing, Dry Stone Walling, Hedgelaying, Tree ID, Seaweed Identification, and Wildflower ID.
A brief history of PEA
2008: Plymouth Environmental Action (PEA) was founded!
The first inspiration for a weekend practical conservation group was thought up by Emily, who was the Youth Project Manager at the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) – now known as The Conservation Volunteers (TCV). A committee was formed, (members: Emily, Chris, Esther, Jonny, Katie, Steve, and Michael) and a constitution written! The team soon started planning a variety of practical conservation activities at the weekends specifically for young people aged 16 to 25 years!
2009: During this year, we secured two grants from the Dartmoor Sustainability Fund and OPAL (Open Air Laboratories) Fund. This enabled us to run practical nature conservation projects on Dartmoor such as Molinia (an important grass species) raking and Dartmoor Leat restoration, as well as biological surveys of lichens, wildflowers, trees, and insects to name a few!
2010 - 2011: Heritage Lottery Funding! We secured a Young Roots fund from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to run a year long ‘Conserve, Enjoy, Explore’ project for young people aged 16 to 25 years. This consisted of 48 exciting weekend heritage and conservation projects focused on conservation around Dartmoor. Examples of project days included bracken bashing, Dartmoor leat restoration, Gorse management at Brentor Common, Molinia grassland improvement with the Dartmoor Preservation Association, beach cleans, butterfly surveys, parrot-feather removal, wildflower surveys (including the rare Heath Lobelia!) at Andrews Wood with Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) and more! This project was run by Esther - PEA's first employed Youth Project Officer! Committee members were Emily, Chris, Michael, Hayley, Sam, Laura, Rob, and Pete).
2012 - 2013: PEA committee regularly met up to explore potential funding streams, and selected and applied for the HLF for 2014. Our committee members were Chris, Esther, Hayley, Rob, Pete, Laura, and Sam.
2014 - 2015: Thanks again to the HLF, we planned another year of weekend conservation projects. Heritage Lottery Funding! We secured a Young Roots fund from the Heritage Lottery to run a year long ‘Connect, Restore, Discover’ project for young people aged 16 to 25 years. This consisted of 48 exciting weekend heritage and conservation projects focused on the redoubts (forts) at Maker in South East Cornwall. Examples of project days included wildflower identification, bracken bashing, lichen ID, meadow creation, sycamore removal, vegetation management on the forts (in collaboration with English Heritage), and beach cleans to name a few! This project employed Chris as the Youth Project Officer. Committee members were Chris, Esther, Hayley, Mike, Rob, Pete and Julz).
During Autumn 2015, PEA opened up the project to ALL AGES! In November we secured funding from the Tamar Valley AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) to run 6 training workshops (coppicing, dry stone walling, hedgelaying, foraging, introduction to estuaries and tree ID). We also carried out the first practical conservation day at the new nature reserve in Plymouth - Poole Farm (Derriford Community Park) in conjunction with Nature Plymouth (Natural Infrastructure team at Plymouth City Council).
2016: In January, we ran our first training workshop - Hedgelaying at Pentillie Castle. On the 1st March we held our first Annual General Meeting (AGM) to officially recruit the committee and discuss our aspirations for the year ahead! Throughout March we held our first Crowdfunder Campaign to raise funds to run 10 practical conservation projects through Summer 2016. These included creating a 10m long Wildlife Pond near Bodmin Moor, a Wildflower meadow in Plymouth, removing Non-Native species (Himalayan Balsam from Plymbridge and Yellow Archangel from Dartmoor), Beach cleans, and footpath maintenance and tree care at Burrator! We also hosted our first official AGM, at which our new Committee was appointed: Esther (Treasurer), Chris (Chairperson), Hayley (Secretary), Mike (Design and Media), Pete (Health and Safety).
In April, we recruited two new Volunteer Project Officers (VPO) Manon and Lianne, who both joined the PEA team and Committee, with Hayley becoming our latest VPO in October.