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5 micro-volunteering tasks for your next lunchtime walk

For this week’s mini challenges, we are asking participants in the Step Count Challenge to try some micro-volunteering.

Published: 01/06/2021

Simple actions like picking up a bit of litter or cutting back a few branches only take a couple of minutes, but can make a big difference. Here are our top five suggestions for how you can fit some micro-volunteering into your next lunchtime walk.

1. Do a litter pick 

Take some gloves and a bin bag and pick some litter. Keep yourself safe and be careful around broken glass or sharp objects. Use a litter grabber if you have one. If there is a particularly bad littering problem on your path, and if bins are overflowing, then you can report this to your local authority, usually on their website. If you do pick up litter please make sure that you either put it in a litter bin, or take it home with you and dispose of it responsibly. Keep Scotland Beautiful has lots more info about doing your bit to clean up Scotland.

2. Clear the path 

Gather fallen twigs and branches from the path. Remember to use gloves and watch out for any sharp objects. Pop them into a small pile out of the way and make a habitat pile for mini-beasts. 

3. Clean up some signage

Take a cloth or wipe and clean a direction or information sign along the path. Over time and particularly during the winter months, signs and information boards around parks and walkways can become very grubby but it's a simple task to bring along some gloves and wipes from home and give them a clean-up. Be careful that you don’t over-reach yourself and only clean signs/panels that you can easily access. Make sure you take your cloth home or pop the wipe in a bin.

4. Get pruning

If branches have grown across the path and are making it difficult to walk then prune them back. You can put the branches in your habitat pile. Try not to cut anything more than 15mm thick, and cut the small branches close to the trunk or main branch but taking care not to damage the collar (where the branch meets the trunk). If the branches are more than 15mm thick (or if it is more than a 5 minute task) you should report the issue to the local council.

5. Report issues 

Report any major path problems to your local Access Officer or Ranger service. If a path is blocked or very difficult to use due to poor maintenance or weather damage, you can report such issues to your local Access Officer. In some places there are active Community Path Groups that recruit and organise volunteers to look after existing paths and create new ones. Your local Community Council is likely to know if such a group exists in your area – they may even have helped set one up.