Shadow Volunteer scheme

A woman wearing a green jacket and yellow hard hat crouches outdoors near some young trees.

Shadow Volunteers programme

Shadow Volunteering at Forestry England

Our Shadow Volunteer scheme puts successful applicants into the heart of the work we do by placing them into teams where they will learn from Forestry England colleagues as they carry out their day-to-day tasks.

Shadow volunteers are given training and will develop on-the-job skills and experience during their placements, which run one to three days a week for a period of six months.

The scheme runs twice a year in a selection of the nation’s forests. Watch the video below to find out more.

Could you be a Shadow Volunteer?

We are looking for individuals who want to gain practical experience in the forestry sector and who are also interested in pursuing a career in conservation, community engagement, recreation, site management, or working with volunteers and the public.

Recruitment for March 2024 has now closed.

Applications for September 2024 will open in June.

Two Forestry England volunteers working

Why does Forestry England run the Shadow Volunteer scheme?

We are proud to be able to offer the shadow volunteer programme to individuals with an interest in pursuing or considering a career in the forestry sector.  

Not only does it give valuable experience for those taking part in the scheme, but it also provides the nation's forests with an extra pair of hands to support their forest habitats, timber resources, trails, recreation facilities and community engagement. 

We have the opportunity to reach out to a diverse range of people and give them a taster of what it means to manage our magnificent forests, and through decision-making and management of the environment, to make a positive impact at a local and global level.

'The Shadow Volunteer program has helped me develop my skills and confidence, allowing me to pursue my career as a ranger.  The role is what you make of it and I’ve made it a dream come true.'

- Lawrence, Shadow Ranger spring 2023

Discover more stories in our Shadow Volunteer video playlist.

A white man wearing a green outdoor jacket and dark trousers leaning on a wooden post in the forest, with tools shown around him.

Keep exploring...

Volunteering group sat on a bench

If you enjoy the outdoors, want to learn new skills, meet new people and be part of our team, why not get involved with your local forest?

Search the map below to find a volunteer opportunity in a forest near you. Click on the link to the forest’s volunteer page and apply via the 'Register your interest' online form if the forest is currently recruiting volunteers.

Community group
Community stories
In quiet corners of local forests community groups meet regularly to share the benefits of spending time and learning together in the forest. 
The Blog
10 November 2021
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30 March 2022
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