Eco conference volunteering

Trip Start Nov 27, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A month of British summer in a field. We were supporting Europe's only tented conference centre. Everything eco orientated from local and/or organic food to recycling rubbish into art. In June, it was an empty field. 6 weeks later it is returned to a field. All the structures are taken down. A labyrinth of drying mud slicks were the evidence of our stay.

A team, varying in size between 30 and 50 people, created the community with kitchens in tents churning out every meal for up to 150, a bar serving amongst other things local cider, strawbale bender sitting rooms, yurt spaces, sweat lodge, canvas marquees, healing domes, shady spaces (not so much in use this year!) created within geodesic designs. Wood fired showers, solar heated washing up water, composting loos and 12v site power from solar panels and a wind turbine all added to the sustainability credentials of this venue.

So what did Laura and I get up to? Lots! Besides meeting a fabulous group of folk and tasting the local brews, we got involved with all sorts of the functions required behind the scenes for a conference centre as well as roles interacting with the delegates directly. Keeping this sort of place running requires volunteers to cook, wash up, light fires, make sure there is hot water for tea, build every structure on site, fix and reuse other people's junk (my idea of fun!) and be happy whether it's raining or scorchingly hot. Being under canvas in a field also means that guy ropes have to be retensioned after every rainfall and the deluge in July meant trenches were dug, and guttering systems improvised whilst the river many metres below us broke it's enormous banks and started heading up towards our field. "Mud management" became a daily activity and pallets were begged and borrowed to create ever increasing walkways.

Towards the end of July, it started drying up but not soon enough to prevent Brian getting stuck in the mud. Volunteers willingly came to push us out and soon became covered in mud spun out from the rear wheels. Thank you so much! 

The happy attitude of the crew carried on as we went for a day out and played sardines in a hedge maze and then "ninjas" at Goodrich castle. Fun and games celebrated the Olympricks on a day off and teams of space invaders, ninjas, pirates and hairy heroes tackled obstacle courses, memory games and performing arts.

Too much to write about. Great memories and we've learned lots from our experience with Green and Away. Thanks everyone! Please do annotate and comment on the photos with names etc. 
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