Mark Whalley, Manager, Vertica Education, Vertica, based in the UK, recently used his Micro Focus INSPIRE volunteering days to help a variety of charities that work towards reducing environmental impacts.
From the Swansea Community Boat Trust to the National Trust, Mark has volunteered to help several charities stay connected and thrive during COVID-19. It’s not the first time Mark is volunteering to help protect our environment – here’s a snapshot of a few memories from his extraordinary volunteering journey that show his passion for making positive impacts.
“Reading how Joseiby Hernandez Cedeno used her Micro Focus INSPIRE volunteering days to collect waste from the oceans off Costa Rica, brought home to me how we can all do our bit to help protect the environment. Having previously had a spontaneous pneumothorax (collapsed lung), sadly I am no longer able to take to the oceans in scuba gear. However, that has not prevented me doing my little bit over the years. If I can do it, there is no reason you could not do your own little bit too!” says Mark.
Clearing water canals
Going back to 2006, as a volunteer with the Birmingham Canal Navigation Society (BCNS), Mark would spend the occasional weekend helping to retrieve various pieces of jetsam that had found its way into the canals around Birmingham in the UK. Within just a couple of hours, the team of six would easily fill their workboat called ‘Phoenix’ with everything from tyres to domestic appliances.
Mark explained that clearing the canals of rubbish, from plastics to metals, chemicals and other harmful contaminants, greatly improved the water quality – helping to help make it a safer place for wildlife.
Planting thousands of trees
Close to Mark’s heart is the UK’s National Trust (NT), Europe’s largest conservation charity, which has cared for historic properties and countryside for more than 125 years.
Over the years, Mark has helped the NT with many aspects of protecting and maintaining the countryside and its properties, including drystone walling, fencing, litter-picking, board-walk repairs, gorse clearance and many more. To support the NT’s ambition to plant 20 million more trees across the UK within 10 years, Mark joined a group of volunteers to start planting. On one particular day of planting, Mark recalls that after five hours, and several mugs of hot soup, the group had planted an impressive 1,000 trees.
“Sadly, due to COVID-19, even though most of these activities have been outdoors, the tighter lockdowns meant that we have been unable to do anything since spring last year. Although there have been very few good things to come out of COVID-19, I have at least been able to spend more of my own time working on other “projects”.
In March 2020, Mark shared his blog post – COVID-19 Birdsong – which although is not in line with his usual contribution to saving the planet, poignantly highlighted some of the more obvious and positive impacts of travel restrictions