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Brambles and radio silence

A local volunteering opportunity took some of the Anthesis team based in northern England to Jodrell Bank – the huge radio telescope near Macclesfield. Anthesis colleagues are accorded two volunteering days a year, providing us with the ideal incentive to get involved with some regional projects.

We had a lovely few hours clearing brambles (and picking blackberries) in the shadow the Lovell telescope. The space was being cleared so the arboretum can be extended, in particular the crab apple collection. A tree was to be planted in the space a few days later in honour of Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who discovered the first radio pulsars, “rotating neutron stars that appear to ‘pulse’ since the beam of light they emit can only be seen when it faces the Earth”.1 We also got a peak of some ‘behind the scenes’ locations, including a collection of gardening books from Bruce Lovell’s personal library and photographs documenting his original arboretum.

As well as getting some well needed fresh air, a bit of exercise (raking is good for the abs apparently) and helping to maintain a local landmark, it was a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues out of the office. As the area is quiet zone – mobiles (and microwaves!) interfere with the telescope – it was nice escape from our phones, too.

We look forward to tucking into our blackberry jam and planning our next volunteering day before the end of 2017.


Anthesis’ team of internal Sustainability Champions across the UK have been encouraging colleagues to make better use of the two volunteering days per year. We have been organizing some group volunteering opportunities to enable us to have a bigger impact and get the simultaneous team-building advantages, too. Take a look at our previous blog from June, “Biodiversity, burdocks and Brylcreem – Anthesis colleagues get volunteering”, to find out what our Oxford colleagues got up to on one of their volunteering days.

You can also read more about the direct day-to-day operations of Anthesis, and the work we do with some of the world’s leading organizations, in our UNGC Communication on Progress Report.

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1. https://royalsociety.org/people/jocelyn-bell-burnell-11066/
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