GVD United Kingdom: Clearing Gorse for the National Trust

As part of Oracle’s Global Volunteer Days initiative, a group of almost 50 Oracle UK employees with family and friends travelled down to Corfe Castle in Dorset to help the National Trust clear an area of gorse. The project was organised by Carole Speed, Linux, Virtualization and MySQL GBU.

The host Ranger from the National Trust explained that Heathland is a manmade landscape, created by the earliest stone age farmers and maintained by grazing and wood cutting throughout the years. The aim of this project was to continue this traditional form of management by clearing an area of scrub and gorse to allow regeneration of the purple heather for which the heaths are renowned.

After the safety briefing and a round of bacon sandwiches the Oracle team set to work – sawing, lopping and dragging the gorse to create a huge bonfire. It’s amazing what a large group of enthusiastic volunteers can achieve – by the end of the day, they had cleared well over an acre of gorse! Having such a fantastic turnout made a real difference, achieving more in 1 day than it would have taken the National Trust a fortnight to do.

Afterwards the volunteers enjoyed a splendid Dorset clotted cream tea at the Model Village in Corfe Castle and a visit to the Castle.

Feedback from volunteers has been really positive:

“A really great way to socialize and make friends across all areas of the business. Brilliantly organized, long enough to make a difference.”

“I find the day a great experience and chance to meet other fellow Oracle employees who I would most likely never come into contact with. It was great to see a number of staff who joined recently from Tekelec and days like this can only help their integration and ensure they get to know existing Oracle staff.”

“Beautiful scenery. My first bonfire, since the Brownies!”

As a new employee at Oracle (Acme Packet acquisition), today has been an extremely valuable experience. Oracle is an extremely large company but events like today make it a welcoming and personable organization and this event has been a great opportunity to meet my new colleagues. I feel all new employees should experience a similar event in their first 6 months at Oracle.”

A speaker from the National Trust said, “Thank you again for organising another hugely successful year of gorse clearing with us. Despite having to cope with the loss of one tractor (surely a testament to how hard you were making it work) in a few short hours your team blitzed their way through at least 10% of our annual quota of scrub work for Middlebere Heath. You have helped us to protect an internationally rare habitat and much loved area of Purbeck for years to come and for all to enjoy.”

Carole plans to organise more events next year in Corfe Castle for both Oracle’s Earth Week in April and the Global Volunteer Days later in the year.

---- written by Robert Harris ---- 

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