Join a Garden or Environment Society
If you are interested in gardening, wildlife and the environment, then perhaps joining a society can help you learn more about your passion, meet like minded people at events, volunteer, fundraise, or just be able to support them financially and receive the members magazine. There is many charities and organisations throughout the UK, covering a wide range of specialisations. Here are a few of them, with links to their websites for more information. They have been divided into three categories; animals, environment & habitats, gardening & plants.
Amphibians & Reptiles
Amphibian and Reptile Conservation - Working to protect Britain's frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards. Members get invited to events, bi-annual magazine etc.
Frog Life - Membership charity with regional and national projects to protect Frogs and other amphibians and reptiles.
Badger Trust - This charity has been campaigning strongly against Badger culls. If you love this enchanting British mammal, this is the charity to join.
Bat Conservation Trust - Nearly 100 local bat groups and thousands of volunteers work to care for bats, monitor bat populations, create bat-friendly gardens etc.
RSPB - Over 1 million members and over 200 nature reserves. This bird charity is the largest wildlife conservation charity in Europe.
BTO - The British Trust for Ornithology is a bird charity with a strong focus on research and surveys. As a member you can volunteer and take part in surveying events.
WWT - Wildfowl and Wetland Trust dedicated to protecting wetlands in the UK & internationally has 9 wetland reserves in the UK and members can volunteer at them, and also support their work in other ways.
Barn Owl Trust - A charity that aims to preserve the Barn Owl and its environment.
Hawk Conservancy Trust - A charity that works to conserve bird of prey populations in Britain and around the world. Members get 3 newsletters per year, an annual review and invites to members events.
Bumblebee Conservation Trust - Working to protect the various species of Bumblebees that live in the British Isles. Volunteer to do Bumblebee surveys etc.
Butterfly Conservation - Local volunteer groups throughout Britain. The UK's charity to protect the Butterfly population.
The British Deer Society - 16 regional branches that have meetings, as well as national campaigns and events.
Dolphins & Whales
Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust - A perfect charity to be a member of, if you love whales and dolphins and have an affinity with the West Coast of Scotland.
Orca - A charity that’s entirely dedicated to studying and protecting whales, dolphins and porpoises in the UK and European waters.
Seawatch Foundation - Monitors and surveys whales and dolphins in British and Irish waters. Members can volunteer to help with their work.
British Dragonfly Society - If you have always loved Dragonflies & Damselflies, why not join this charity to help protect them and their habitats. Members can get involved with surveys nationwide, and also volunteer at their centre at Wicken Fen.
National Fox Welfare Society - Members can just financially support the charity, or they can even volunteer to rescue foxes, or house a pair of foxes (that are unable to be released back into the wild) in a large farm or garden enclosure.
The Linnean Society of London - This natural history society was founded in 1788, and is based in Picadilly, in the centre of the city. It has regular talks and events. A great society for wildlife enthusiasts living in the capital and further afield.
Wildlife Trusts - The Wildlife Trusts are local wildlife charities, in both urban and rural areas, that work to conserve wildlife and improve the local environment. There is too many to list on this page, so visit the main website to find the Wildlife Trust local to you, by adding your post code. They all have great volunteering opportunities, and have regular events, as well as plenty of events for children.
British Hedgehog Preservation Society - If you love Hedgehogs this is the ideal wildlife charity to be a member of. You'll be kept up to date throughout the year about their work.
Buglife - If you are fascinated by insects, Bug Life is a national charity that works to survey and protect the hundreds of species resident in Britain. You can volunteer to become a 'bug champion' in your local area.
Royal Entomological Society - Founded in 1833, the society is for anyone interested in insect science and conservation. Members receIve 'Antenna; the societies journal, 4 times a year and can participate in special interest groups, have access to the extensive library and attend meetings with invited speakers.
The Mammal Society - Science led conservation of all types of mammal in Britain, including rabbits, hares, moles and voles. Members can help map mammals, by recording sightings.
International Otter Survival Fund - Works to conserve Otters here in the UK and around the world. Although there doesn't seem to be a membership option, you can help raise funds for them, if Otters are your favourite animal.
Red Squirrel Survival Trust - A charity that is assisting the Red Squirrel survive the American Grey Squirrel onslaught. Members can volunteer and check out their page which has links to other regional and home nations groups that also rely on volunteers.
British Arachnological Society - A members charity for people fascinated by spiders. 3 times a year newsletter. Recording scheme, small grants for fieldwork etc.
Wild Trout Trust - An ideal wildflife charity to support if you are an angler. Help protect the wild trout population. Members get invited to events, newsletter etc.
Environment & Habitats
Canal & River Trust - A charity that works to protect and improve the environment of 2000 miles of waterways. Particulary good charity to join as a member if you live in a canal area. Loads of hands on volunteering opportunities.
Countryside Restoration Trust - The CRT buys intensively farmed land and restores it to wildlife friendly farmland, using traditional farming methods. A nice charity to be a member of, if you are interested in agriculture, rural life and British wildlife.
CPRE - If you are concerned about urban sprawl, building on the greenbelt etc, then being a member of the Campaign to Protect Rural England will enable you to help protect the English countryside.
Freshwater Habitat Trust - Engages in practical action, research and lobbying to protect UK freshwater habitats. Volunteer network manages and monitor freshwater sites across the country.
Friends of the Earth - Founded in 1969, an environmental campaigning community dedicated to the wellbeing and protection of the natural world.
John Muir Trust - John Muir was a Scottish Victorian era conservationist who moved to America, and was an early advocate of protecting their wild spaces. The trust named after him owns and protects areas of UK wilderness, most land is in the Scottish Highlands (including the peak of Ben Nevis). Members can join summit work parties, to clear litter and maintain paths.
Keep Britain Tidy - If you can't stand litter, then being a member of Keep Britain Tidy is a great way to fight back. Volunteers can help with local, regular litter picks, the annual Spring Clean, or even become an assessor for Green Flag (open spaces) & Blue Flag (beaches) Awards
National Parks - Although not membership organisations, the 15 national parks of the UK all have volunteer opportunities.
National Trust - Being a member allows free entry to hundreds of places of historic interest and natural beauty throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A wide range of volunteer opportunities.
National Trust for Scotland - Similar to the National Trust, with many beautiful sites to visit, and volunteers wanted.
Plantlife - 23 nature reserves throughout the UK, that are havens for native wild plants. Members can help with the National Plant Monitoring Scheme.
Rivers Trusts - An umbrella group that represents local river trusts in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland. Join a local river trust and you can volunteer with conservation work. Scotland does have some local river trusts as well, eg. Galloways Fisheries Trust (Only Scottish river trust in the Rivers Trust network), but they do not seem to have an active umbrella group. Do an internet search with the name of your local river and 'trust' 'wildlife' or volunteering' to see what comes up.
Soil Association - Founded shortly after WWII, the charity promotes sustainable and organic farming methods and organic food. Members get special offers from retailers / producers, invites to member events etc.
Surfers Against Sewage - This charity is great for people who love surfing and keeping our beaches and sea clean. They do regular beach cleans and campaign work all over the country. Plenty of events and volunteer opportunities.
Sustrans - The aim of this charity is to make it easier for people to walk and cycle in our towns, city and countryside. Members can volunteer to help maintain the national cycle network routes in their local area.
Woodland Trust - Working to protect existing woodland and increase the number of trees in our country. Many volunteering opportunities for members, from hedgelaying, to leading guided walks.
Gardening & Plants
Botanical Society of Great Britain & Ireland - Founded in 1836. For everyone who cares about wild plants in Britain & Ireland. Member events and courses.
Kew - Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London is a world leader in plant conservation. Join as a friend and you can gain free entry to the gardens and their country estate at Wakehurst, plus invites to special events and discounts on courses.
Botanical Garden Conservation International - More botanical gardens in the UK
National Garden Scheme - Every year thousands of private gardens open to the public to raise funds for nursing charities, such as Marie Curie. Volunteers help promote the gardens, and can also assist at garden open days. If you have a great garden, you can apply for it to take part in the scheme.
Royal Horticultural Society - Founded in 1804, they are the UK's leading garden charity. Organises major flower shows, including RHS Chelsea, and manages Britain in Bloom. Members get free entry to RHS gardens, magazine etc. Members can volunteer at shows, RHS gardens and within your local community.
Alpine Garden Society - Founded in 1929, a members society for alpine plant enthusiasts. Seed exchange, members magazine, shows, tours etc
Scottish Rock Garden Club - .Founded in 1933 the charity has local groups in Scotland and Northern England, but with members all over the world. Talks, seed exchange, conferences etc.
Australasian Plant Society - A society for UK gardeners who enjoy growing plants that are native to Australia, New Zealand and the surrounding islands.
National Begonia Society - Formed in 1948, the society organises area shows and meetings. 3 members newsletters per year.
FoBBS - The Federation of British Bonsai Societies is an umbrealla group for over 60 local Bonsai societies in the UK. Founded in 1982 they hold conventions and competitions, and help organise a national bonsai collection at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Local groups pages here.
The National Bonsai Society - Founded in 1973. The objects of the society are to promote, inform and develop the art of Bonsai, for the benefit of members and the health of their trees.
Cactus & Succulent
The British Cactus and Succulent Society - The society has approximately 3000 members throughout the UK, and 80 local branches that hold monthly meetings. Quarterly members magazine. It holds an international convention, once every four years, and a national show in the intervening years.
British Clematis Society - The society exists to promote the cultivation and preservation of clematis. Seed swaps, regional workshops, garden visits, national meetings etc.
British Conifer Society - A membership society for those that are particularly fond of conifers. It organises garden trips, has an annual general meeting and has a twice yearly members journal.
National Chrysanthemum Society - Founded in 1846, this society has for generations been the society for Chrysanthemum enuthusiasts. Regional groups, shows etc.
National Dahlia Society - Founded in 1881, the society for people who love Dahlias has a twice yearly members magazine, an annual conference, annual exhibitions at RHS Wisley and Harrogate Flower Show etc.
British National Carnation Society - Formed in 1949, when two older societies merged, the group is dedicated to the three types of Dianthus - Pinks, Border Carnations and Perpetual-flowering Carnations.
British Pteridological Society - Founded in the Lake District in 1891, it is the society for Fern enthusiasts throughout the British Isles. Promotes all aspects of pteridology by encouraging the appreciation, conservation, cultivation and scientific study of ferns, horsetails, clubmosses and quillworts through publications, meetings, grants etc.
The British Fuchsia Society - The Society was formed in 1938 with the object of furthering interest in cultivation of the fuchsia. Member's annual, regional shows, free cultivation advice, free cutting distribution scheme etc.
Pelargonium & Geranium Society - The Society welcomes all persons who are interested, or would like to become interested, in the fascinating genera of plants named Geraniaceae. Four members journals per year, events, shows etc.
Hardy Plant Society - For gardeners that enjoy growing a wide range of hardy perennials. Local groups throughout Britain have meetings, plant sales, talks and garden visits. Twice yearly journal, free advice service etc.
Hebe Society - The Hebe Society promotes the cultivation and conservation of hebes and other New Zealand native plants.
The Herb Society - Its herbal roots go back to 1927, when it was founded as the Society of Herbalists, by Hilda Leyel. Promotes the use and enjoyment of garden herbs. Members annual journal, Herbs. Volunteer opportunities at garden shows etc. Local groups. Annual gathering.
British Iris Society - Founded in 1922 to promote the growing of Irises. Members can exhibit Irises at BIS shows, receive an annual year book and twice yearly newsletter. Plant and seeds sales scheme and local groups.
The Scottish Rhododendron Society - A chapter of the American Rhododendron Society, based in Scotland. It holds seminars, study days and tours of gardens seldom open to the general public. Annual members show in April.
The Rose Society UK - A new society for rose gardeners. Rose amateur shows, etc. It has been formed by former members of the Royal National Rose Society, that was founded in the Victorian era, but unfortunately went into administration in 2017, and closed.
The National Sweet Pea Society - Established in 1901 for Sweet Pea enthusiasts. Members annual, events, shows etc. Members can exhibit their Sweet Peas at the shows.
Wakefield & North of England Tulip Society - Dating back all the way to 1836, the society is the only one dedicated to Tulips in the UK. Members meet in Wakefield, and show Dutch and English Florists' tulips.
The National Vegetable Society - Society for enthusiasts who enjoy growing and/or exhibiting vegetables. Regional branches, shows etc
The National Allotment Society - The leading national organisation upholding the interests and rights of the allotment community across the UK.
Cottage Garden Society - You don't have to live in a cottage to be a member! The pretty and informal cottage garden can be grown in all types places, from new build properties, to the long narrow gardens of inner city terraced homes. Quarterly members magazine, seed exchange, local groups etc.
Japanese Garden Society - Founded in 1993, the Japanese garden society (JGS) brings together people interested in the gardens of Japan and Japanese gardens. Members journal, organised trips to Japan, regional groups, workshops and lectures etc
Mediterranean Garden Society - A garden society for people who are enthusiasts of mediterranean gardens and plants. Members journal four times a year, garden trips etc. Founded in Greece, with branches in Mediterranean countries, as well as the UK
Garden Organic - A national charity that promotes organic growing.Members receive 'The Organic Way' magazine twice a year, and get a 10% discount off items ordered from the organic catalogue. Heritage Seed library members get to choose 6 packs of free seed per year.
British Koi Keepers Society - Supports local Koi clubs for garden pond fish enthusiasts.