We can do more for nature when we work together! We've pulled together some great examples of how businesses, partners, supporters and individuals have helped us achieve even more for nature in 2018.

We really depend on donations made by our members and our communities to fund important projects and to protect our most vulnerable UK wildlife. Christmas is the perfect time to give thanks to our members, funders and volunteers and we wanted to give an extra special thank you to some of our youngest South East fundraisers this year!

One of those people is nine-year-old Isabell Haskell, who raised more than £500 by cutting off her hair, which she’d been growing for three years! She was inspired by the story of the persecution and decline of Hen Harriers in the UK. Half of the money that she raised was donated to the RSPB and the rest to other charities. Her hair then went to an organisation that provides wigs for children who’ve lost their own hair due to illness or cancer treatments.Isabel and her dad at RSPB Rainham Marshes

Isabell, accompanied by her father Charles, was invited along to the RSPB Rainham Marsh’s Hen Harrier Day 2018 where she was thanked by the RSPB’s Conservation Martin Harper for her dedication and support for the persecuted birds of prey.

Isabell was too shy to comment but did say she had really enjoyed the day at Rainham and it’s a memory that will stay with her forever!

Another brilliant fundraiser for us this year is six-year-old Lorcan, who cycled 20 kilometres and raised £1,100 for the RSPB via his JustGiving page! Accompanied by his parents, Lorcan did two circuits of the 10km river wall trail at RSPB Rainham Marshes. They brought their own bikes - but if you want to recreate Lorcan’s ride, you can rent bikes from the Rainham Marshes visitor centre.

He decided to raise the money for us because “They [the RSPB] help protect the habitat and I love birds.” We are humbled and in awe of his dedication and achievement.

Lorcan said that if he was spending the money he’d raised then he would “just get a few jeeps that run on bio-gas for people to ride around in, so they wouldn't pollute and they'd be quiet but they could check on birds and if any birds were trapped it would have a claw that could release them so they could fly safely away". Or "we could do quiz games for schools so children know about birds and want to protect them." And his final words for others considering a fundraising cycle ride: "Pack loads of snacks. And drinks, just in case."  "Tell them how important birds are and go very far on your cycle".Lorcan

Been inspired to raise money for the RSPB? Challenge events are a great way to get started. By signing up to one of our challenge events you can push yourself to achieve a personal milestone whilst helping vital conservation projects. This April we supported ten runners to achieve their own goals in the Southampton Half Marathon, and they in turn helped us by raising vital funds to help water voles, skylarks and short- haired bumble bees.  Between five of our entrants over £1050 was raised, which is an incredible outcome. The entrants achieved a fantastic accomplishment and we were able to secure extra funds for our most vulnerable wildlife.

In 2018, our South East supporters ran 143 miles, swam 4,828 metres and cycled 800 miles for the RSPB. They raised over £5,500 to help us with critical conservation projects, an amazing feat (and probably some sore feet too!)

There are plenty of our volunteers who don’t run marathons though - one of our most successful ongoing fundraising campaigns is our pin badge boxes. You’ve probably seen the badges of native birds, flowers and other wildlife in shops, bars, cafes and venues across the country. They’re an important part of our fundraising mix and, like many other RSPB activities, only work thanks to the wonderful volunteers who support us. In the South East and London we have over 270 volunteers who look after around 1020 of our pin boxes. These volunteers find new locations for boxes, collect the donations and keep the boxes fully stocked for us. This year we have raised £110,000 from pin badge boxes and collection tins!

We quite simply could not do the work that we do without the help of our community fundraisers. They help us achieve far more for wildlife and the new fundraising ideas that our supporters come up with never fail to amaze us! Thank you to all of our volunteers and fundraisers – 2019 is going to be a critical year for saving UK nature and your support will really help us make the best possible difference.

This blog was written by one of our South East volunteers, Libby Morris. If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering opportunities visit our website

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