I was not able to obtain an internship placement throughout my MSci geology degree due to COVID-19 and its subsequent lockdowns. By the time I reached my final year, I was rather disillusioned with the internships available to me as they were often exploitative, with many asking for payment from students in return for experience. A lot of their values went against my own, so I spent a while applying to environmental charities. Birmingham Friends of the Earth caught my eye because they implement a grassroots approach to their work around Birmingham with a range of projects kicking off at any given time!
During my internship hunt, I was working on an air quality master’s project analysing magnetic air pollution particles Birmingham. This aligned closely with BFoE’s values as well as their transport and air quality campaigns, so I decided to apply for a volunteer internship position in order to expand my knowledge of air quality campaigning and politics, the process was quick and easy with Libby Harris leading my interview and introduction to the BFoE team.
During my time here, I have been working as a researcher and office admin assistant for a variety of BFoE campaigns alongside the extremely dedicated BFoE staff and volunteers. This would involve analysing research papers and using their data to back up campaign aims and actions, creating articles, creating contact lists for potential volunteers, sewing up some snazzy bee costumes with my girlfriend, and more!
Overall, I have really enjoyed the friendly atmosphere at the office and the flexibility of being able to work from home too. It has been great being able to help out as every little effort counts and is appreciated by everyone, it’s sometimes hard to tell who is a volunteer and who is a staff member because of how dedicated and welcoming the BFoE gang are!
So, if you’re a student who is interested in environmental charities, or just someone looking to fill their spare time with some volunteering that helps their local community and the environment – then BFOE is the cause for you!