Conservation working holiday to Estonia August 2018

We have been invited by our friends in the Estonian Fund for Nature (ELF) whom we worked with on the bird surveys of the peat bogs in the east of the country in 2016, to return to Estonia this August 6th – 16th 2018. That was a truly memorable trip full of amazing highlights and enhanced by the wonderful hospitality of our hosts!

This time we are going to spend the first part of the visit, four nights, on the small island of island of Osmussaare off the west coast of Estonia; then transfer to the far eastern side of the country to help ELF with the re-instatement of a very important peat bog.

Osmussaare: see the Flickr album of photos taken by the volunteers of the Estonia Fund for Nature (ELF) during their visit to the island in 2016. Our task there will be to work with ELF volunteers to clear scrub from the species-rich ‘alvar’ grassland. We will get a boat out there and stay either in tents or in the visitor hut for four nights from Monday August 6th to Friday August 10th .


Osmussaare – photo: Riho Peterson.

Kadri Aller, one of the ELF volunteers, has  written a short introduction to the island of Osmussaare – click here.

On Friday 10th, we will return to the mainland and drive across Estonia to the Feodori mire, one of the peat bogs we surveyed in 2016 and very close to the eastern border. Our accommodation here will be in a basic but comfortable hostel with chalets in the grounds : . We will stay here for 6 nights and leave for Tallinn on the Thursday 16th. Our task here will be to work with ELF volunteers to un-do some of the drainage work by the forestry companies that has damaged the peatbogs over the past 50 years. This will be fairly physical work which will involve building dams in the ditches. The landscapes in eastern Estonia are in complete contrast to those of the islands off the west coast and very rich in a totally different set of animal and plant species. Have a look at the photos from our June 2016 visit to the east of Estonia- here.

White-tailed Eagle Paul Lewin

White-tailed Eagle. Photo: Paul Lewin.

During our stay there will be opportunities to explore the wildlife and culture of the country and participants may like to stay in Tallinn for some days before or after the EuCAN trip – it is a beautiful city, the old part being a World Heritage site.

Travel to and from Estonia: Participants will have to make their own way to Estonia and meet in the capital Tallinn at a prearranged pick-up point. Travel via Riga in Latvia and by bus to Tallinn is recommended, but we can also pick up from Tallinn airport. There is a ferry from Tallinn to Stockholm or to Helsinki if you want to include Sweden or Helsinki in your adventure!

Cloudberry Heather Sunderland

Cloudberry. Photo: Heather Sunderland

Estonian Wildlife: To find out more about Estonian wildlife, the lists from various wildlife tours over the last few years are very helpful – and have some mouthwateringly exciting species! see this link.

Of particular note are the species lists from this tour , and the information from scrolling down this blog.

We also have species lists for our visit in 2016:

bird-lists-estonia-updated-june-2016-1 ,




moth-lists-for-poland-and-estonia-may-june-2016 This includes a wide range of moths trapped in western Poland on the journey to Estonia.


Cranberry fritillary

Cost of this conservation working holiday:   £350 per person. This is heavily subsidised out of EuCAN funds, we would be happy for you to pay more if you are able to!

This does not include meals, refreshments and treats on the journeys, entry fees for the attractions we visit (which are very inexpensive) or drinks with the meals while we are there (we will buy bottled water to accompany the picnics). It does include breakfast and suppers each day, picnics which we will buy or have made up locally. It also includes minibus travel in Estonia and nine nights accommodation.

To register an interest in this, please complete this registration form and email it to

Booking/Deposit:  once there are enough people interested for this visit to go ahead, we will ask you to pay a deposit of £100 per person to confirm a place. If there are insufficient numbers by the end of May, we will let you know.