Rob Bowker, staff member of the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV), sent me an enthusiastic e-mail in response to the February 11, 2008, posting titled “Green Gyms: A Collision of Two Powerful Ideas.”
BTCV is a nonprofit organization that originated in Great Britain to promote conservation. Originally named the Conservation Corps when it was established in the 1950’s, the organization expanded its mission and changed its name to the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers in 1970. Its patron is HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Other notables in the organization are Lord Norrie, president of BTCV, and board members Sir David Attenborough, Baroness Hilton and Baroness Miller.
BTCV coordinates the environmental efforts of hundreds of volunteers in over 1,000 communities throughout England, Scotland and Wales. In addition, the organization has international ties and promotes conservation globally. BTCV was also instrumental in forming the Conservation Volunteers Ireland (CVI).
One of BTCV’s recent innovations (1996) is Green Gyms, which involves teams of individuals working outdoors to achieve exercise goals while simultaneously improving the environment. Participation has continuously increased in this popular program since it was introduced.
In support of its mission “to create a more sustainable future by inspiring people and improving places,” the organization espouses five goals:
- Sustained environmental improvement
- Inclusiveness, accessibility and choice
- Appropriate support to individuals and communities
- Individual and community empowerment
- Corporate responsibility as an employer
In his e-mail, Rob thanked me for posting the blog on Green Gyms and said, “Taking part in one can transform a person's life and make a huge difference to the environment. As well as a really enjoyable calorie-burn, loads of people get a real buzz from the social side, so there's a big 'smile factor' too.”
Thanks for your e-mail, Rob. Keep us posted on future developments.