Your RSPB Local Group is the friendly face of the RSPB in the community and a great way to engage with nature near you. Over the next few weeks we'll be taking a closer look at RSPB Local Groups. This week we chat to award-winning blogger Sarah Hookway about the joy of experiencing wildlife through her local community.

Your RSPB local group is packed with opportunities to get closer to nature and to do something you love.

“As soon as I walked in to my first meeting, I immediately felt inspired.” Blogger Sarah Hookway is passionate about wildlife and was delighted to learn of the wildlife talks, walks and get-togethers going on at her RSPB local group.

Keen to let others know about the local group, Sarah decided to create and update social media pages on Facebook and Twitter for the Norwich local group. She also designed some posters to advertise upcoming talks to try and attract as diverse an audience as possible.

“I knew a lot more people would be interested in attending if they knew what was happening,” she explains.

Sarah knows a thing or two about communicating with new audiences, for as well as her role at the RSPB group, she also writes a regular blog, A Wild Life in Norfolk. Reporting and reflecting on nature sightings in her local area, Sarah’s blog has been so successful that she was awarded the BBC’s prestigious Wildlife Blogger Award in 2015. “It was a great honour to win such a prize for doing something I love,” she smiles.

Turning her hand to promote her local group was something that has helped her develop her social media skills. “I knew quite a lot about social media before I joined the committee but have been supported further in my role by the RSPB Eastern England regional office,” explains Sarah.

The effort is paying off and Sarah enjoys welcoming new faces to the group. “It's always exciting when a new face walks through the door at one of our meetings because they've seen one of our posters or visited our Facebook page. It's good to know that, however small, my role is having an impact on the numbers attending our meetings and, hopefully, the numbers joining the group.”

Sarah spends one to two hours a week in her RSPB social media role and is also a physics teacher at a secondary school. “That’s one of the reasons I do this role. I feel a responsibility to get younger people involved in conservation and volunteering.”

Sarah is full of enthusiasm when talking about her local group, highlighting the enjoyment she gets from being involved. “My advice to anyone considering going along to their local group is to do it. My group is very friendly and welcoming, and any time spent with them is time well spent!”