Thousands of people give their time to save endangered species in the UK...

The Back from the Brink project is marking National Volunteers’ Week by celebrating the amazing work volunteers are doing to save endangered species in England.

In just two years over two thousand people have volunteered their time to help the Back from the Brink project work to save 200 of the UK’s most endangered species from extinction. This has given the project the equivalent of over 4,000 days of work, or the equivalent of over ten years of time generously offered by people to protect our wildlife and wild spaces.

Throughout the year the Back from the Brink project runs courses and activities across England so that anyone can help. And, thanks to this hard work the prospects of many of our most threatened plants and animals are starting to improve.

Across Dorset and Wiltshire volunteers have planted and nurtured almost 2,000 Barberries. This is vital to help the Barberry Carpet Moth, a species that depends on the plant. Barberries were common in our hedgerows but over time have been removed or eradicated, which ultimately led to the moth only being found in ten locations in England. Volunteers working with Back From The Brink specialists and local land owners have been planting new Barberries to support existing colonies and have successfully created new sites, with a new population already being recorded.

In Gloucestershire, volunteers have been using their winter evenings to track down the places the Rugged Oil Beetle can be found. Before the project experts only knew of eight locations for these rare beetles. However, having been trained in how to find the Rugged Oil Beetle, the hard working volunteers discovered six new sites. This information is proving invaluable as conservationists learn more about the beetle and how to create the perfect habitat to protect and save it.

Along the Sefton Coast in the north west volunteers have provided over 500 hours of their time to monitor over 40 pools for evidence of Natterjack Toads. The volunteers found over 600 spawn strings which is helping conservationists better understand the size of the population and how to protect the species.

Volunteers surveying for tadpoles and spawn of the Natterjack Toad (Epidalea calamita) in pond in a dune slack, Ainsdale Nature Reserve, Merseyside, UK. May. Photographer: Alex Hyde

And, volunteers are credited with important contributions to citizen science project that have recorded the presence of Sand Lizards in areas where they have been absent for over 16 years.

James Harding-Morris at the Back from the Brink Project said:
“Volunteers are invaluable to our work, we have people of all ages and all walks of life giving their time to save species on from extinction in England. It is easy to think that there are only endangered animals in the remote corners of world, but we have over 200 species here that desperately need our help. But the good news is everyone can play a part in saving our plants and wildlife, we have volunteers in the field, and some who help us from their home, and it is down to their hard work that we are not just improving our understanding of endangered species but are seeing populations grow and become more secure for future generations.”

Gareth Brede

RSPB Senior Media Officer and BftB lover.



Would you like to help these incredible species? There are numerous ways in which you can:

  • Why not volunteer for Back from the Brink? Check out our events page for opportunities near you.
  • Help us to spread the word of this species, and the others we will be helping over the next 3 years, by sharing our message across our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Follow us: @naturebftb.
  • Finally - help support the work we do across England by donating. Our impact will be greater with your help.