Edinburgh Local

Dirty Weekenders

Every weekend, in all weathers, University students from the Dirty Weekenders Conservation Volunteer Group pull on their wellies to go out and clean up the local environment.

Dirty Weekenders at work in the community
Dirty Weekenders at work in the community

This can mean anything from helping rangers in Holyrood Park make a firebreak through the gorse on the steep slopes around Arthur’s Seat to picking up litter in Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park.

Once or twice each semester, they spend a whole weekend somewhere in Scotland.  Recently, they put on their waders to help clear out a pond in a nature park near Blairgowrie, which made the ducks (and local people) very happy (pictured).

Dirty Weekenders was originally started to conserve native species by removing invasive non-native species in local nature reserves, such as removing spiky sea buckthorn from the Aberlady coast.

Since then, they have partnered with the RSPB on the Young Roots project to increase knowledge of native species.  They do this through special training days and by making links with local community gardens striving to plant only native species, such as Duddingston Field, Figgate Park, and Bridgend Farmhouse.


We all love the city and passionately believe in making it a more beautiful and safer place. The firebreak in Holyrood Park helps protect not only the natural landscape but also people who use the park.  And in Burdiehouse, we feel we were really helping to make the local park a nicer and safer place for families to take their children.

Peter Tyler, Project Co-ordinators for the Dirty Weekenders

One of the Holyrood Park rangers echoed Peter’s comments and thanked the Dirty Weekenders for helping make a difficult job a bit easier.

Find out more

Dirty Weekenders Conservation Volunteers is just one of many volunteering groups and societies which are part of the Edinburgh University Students’ Association.  The Association’s Volunteering Service offers local community groups and third sector organisations the opportunity to work with student volunteers.  Groups post what they’re looking for on a free online service and student volunteers are then matched to opportunities, and supported with advice and guidance.

There are lots of great examples of successful pairings, from environmental conservation to marketing advice, to help with websites to supporting elderly or disabled people.  Visit the Association’s webpage to find out how you can connect with our students and learn more about how students are working with the community.