Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma

One of our many treasured volunteers, Angharad Jones, tells us in her own words about becoming an RSPB Cymru volunteer in one of our special Volunteer Week blogs.

My name is Angharad Jones, and I volunteer for RSPB Cymru. In 2014, I attended a morning walk on a nature reserve, not realising that the walk had been arranged by RSPB Cardiff & Local District Group. From that morning on, I was hooked and continued to join them on as many outdoor events as I could. The members were clearly passionate and knowledgeable about birds which was infectious, and so my interest and passion also grew, and I subsequently became a member of the RSPB.  

Around that time, RSPB Cymru were looking for translator volunteers. It wasn’t a route I considered following, but this type of volunteering – working from home, coinciding with a full-time job, taking on work when time allowed – suited me. I translated a range of written pieces from English to Welsh; from blogs to food menus, events to job descriptions, posters to signs on reserves. I was learning on the job! I used to think that volunteering for RSPB meant physical work or mid-week opportunities only on reserves and having a qualification in conservation was a must. This is far from the truth. There are many opportunities available to suit time and abilities.  

Presently, I volunteer as a committee member for the Local Group that I met 7 years ago, after attending a few evening talks and birding walks. I enjoy helping during indoor and outdoor activities, chatting to like-minded people about birds and wildlife, trying to encourage more engagement with nature. On a personal level, I’m discovering more about birds and my local patch, on top of learning administrative and people skills. 

So why volunteer? It’s a great way of keeping your ‘hobby’ as a hobby. Volunteering and giving your time and energy to a cause that’s close to your heart is a great feeling. Both parties’ benefit – the volunteer gains new skills and knowledge, meets new friends, it can open doors, good for mental and physical health; the society gains your time, energy, passion and having you on their team. Don’t underestimate your role; it’s a fact that data collected during field surveys and monitoring by volunteers is extremely important for the RSPB in going forward with projects and campaigns to help tackle nature and climate crises. 

I love volunteering for a subject that’s important to me and that I enjoy. I do have one regret however…I should’ve started volunteering years ago!