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British Trust for Conservation Volunteers

The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers or BTCV is the biggest practical conservation charity in Britain.

The charity enables over 130,000 volunteers per year to engage in practical conservation work[?] in both the urban and the rural environment. Activities include:

  • regular conservation tasks
  • Uk and international Conservation holidays
  • Green Gym programme
  • support scheme for local community groups
  • providing training for the long-term unemployed
  • conservation training for all
  • consultancy

BTCV Institute for Environmental Conservation is a partnership between BTCV and Broxtowe College, Nottingham, funded by the Learning and Skills Council.


In 1959, Brigadier Armstrong was appointed by the (then) Council for Nature to form a group called The Conservation Corps. The object was to involve volunteers in practical conservation work[?]. The first project was at Box Hill[?], Surrey. 42 volunteers, including David Bellamy[?], cleared dogwood to encourage the growth of juniper and distinctive chalkland[?] flora.

By 1964 the Conservation Corps had expanded its activities to include education and amenity work in the countryside. In 1966 it moved from a basement office at Queens Gate, Kensington, to new premises at London Zoo in Regent's Park. In 1968 the first training course for volunteers was held.

By 1969 membership had increased to 600, and volunteers completed around 6000 workdays a year. The first ever international[?] exchange visit to Czechoslovakia that year became the forerunner for the International Project Programme of today.

In 1970, the Conservation Corps started to operate under the new name of British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV), the Duke of Edinburgh became Patron. In 1971 the local group affiliation scheme was launched. By 1974, 57 groups had registered. In 1972, the "Conserver" magazine was launched, and by 1974 there were 3000 registered volunteers.

In 1975 the BTCV Membership scheme was started, and in 1977 BTCV set up an ecological park opposite the Tower of London as part of the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations. In 1979 BTCV moved to new premises in Reading, Berkshire.

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