Mark Makulski has been volunteering with Route to the Hills since December 2016. He undertakes the role of administration assistant, helping to organise and manage some of the project's administrative requirements. Read below to find out a bit more about him and his love of nature.
I took an interest in the countryside a few years ago when I embarked on a career change that took me to the West Midlands. I have since been a volunteer at the Grade 1 listed National Trust estate at Attingham Park in Shropshire, a 4000-acre estate which enjoys an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) conservation status. I worked on a number of different sites throughout the estate including the parkland, pleasure gardens and in the chiefly volunteer-restored two-acre organic Walled Garden and three-acre orchard. I have also completed a few short courses and helped with other voluntary tasks in the magnificent Wyre Forest.
Environmental settings are great places both to interact with nature and keep fit. Open spaces are especially important for children because environmental exposure is now firmly linked to their wellbeing. In fact mountains, moorlands and heaths (MMH) have been grouped together in an environmental/conservation context, and are regarded as important cultural landscapes, partly as they can convey a national or a regional identity. This is evident with the iconic Malvern Hills, which helped give Great Malvern it's origins and fame by promoting healthy living through its famous waters and landscape for exercise. It was for this reason that I was drawn to help with promoting the project, as it will encourage parents, teachers and especially young people to leave their phones and laptops at home for a couple of hours and discover/re-discover the Hills and the town!