Tree nursery volunteer - RSPB Abernethy/Cairngorms Connect

Help us to propagate and care for trees in the RSPB Abernethy tree nursery – from seed collection, to sowing, growing on and planting out in some of the most beautiful areas of the reserve.

Thursday 30 January 2020
Vacancy type:
Practical conservation
Abernethy Reserve

What we're looking for

The tree nursery forms part of Cairngorms Connect - a bold and ambitious 200-year vision to enhance habitats, species and ecological processes across a vast area within the National Park. We are aiming to grow 20,000 trees a year in the Abernethy tree nursery – focussing on native broadleaf trees such as aspen, downy birch, alder and rare montane willows. To achieve this, we need your help. Throughout the year, volunteers will carry out a range of tasks including: • Seed and cutting collection from across the Cairngorms Connect project area. • Sieving, sorting and preparing tree seed. • Digging and preparing seed beds. • Sowing and propagating trees. • Potting on/ lining out seedlings and cuttings. • Weeding and watering. • Producing compost. • Preparing trees for planting out. • Tree planting across the RSPB Abernethy Reserve. We are particularly looking for volunteers who can commit to helping out on a regular basis during the growing season (April-September).

The skills you need

No prior experience is needed – though any horticultural experience is very welcome. Volunteers will need to be able and willing to carry out practical tasks in an outdoor setting. Some tasks, e.g. digging new beds, seed collection in remote locations, will require a fair degree of physical fitness; other tasks (e.g. sowing and potting in trays, sieving collected seed) will be less strenuous and can take place in the polytunnel. Tasks can be arranged to suit individual interests so far as possible.

Your time

Flexible - can be negotiated with the Tree Nurser Manager
All year round, mostly spring, summer and autumn

What's in it for you?

By volunteering in the tree nursery, you can: • Learn more about the native trees of the Cairngorms – including rare species, ancient trees and remnants of montane woodland. • Help preserve and restore these trees, for nature and for future generations. • Gain practical experience and skills for propagating trees. • Discover some hidden corners of the Cairngorms (if you come out seed collecting and planting). • Enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Forest Lodge and the tree nursery – which is situated in the heart of the Abernethy Reserve by the banks of the River Nethy. • Meet new people and be part of the local community. All volunteers will be given a tree nursery induction, and instruction for each task they undertake. Supervision and support will be provided by the Tree Nursery Manager. Hand tools and gloves will be provided.

How to apply


David Blair, Abernethy Reserve
Tel: 01479 821409


Access to Forest Lodge is via 1.5 miles of unpaved vehicle track. No specialist vehicle is needed but the track is potholed in places and should be driven with care. Your time and skills could make a real difference to the work of the RSPB and it would be great if you could join us.

Reference number 7411