Blogger: Erica Howe, Communications Officer

 

I sat with goosebumps all over my arms and a tear in my eye. It was Sunday evening last week and I was watching the Tour de France on TV.

This sporting occasion was going to go down in the history books. I was imagining telling my kids about the day I sat and watched Bradley Wiggin become the first Briton to ever win the Tour de France, arguably one of the hardest sporting events in the world.

Over the last few days it has occurred to me how similar the RSPB is to that of Brad’s winning Tour de France team! Let me explain. Right from the very beginning, in the early days of Team Sky, they had a clear winner in mind, they knew who was destined to be the winner of the yellow jersey. It was agreed that the team would work to achieving this goal and stick to it. For us, this yellow jersey winner is all UK wildlife. And there is no alternative. If we don’t continue to work for UK wildlife; the otters, the skylarks, the swallowtail butterflies, the sparrows, then our countryside will be an impoverished place. I also think that an otter would look great in a yellow jersey!

Take the sprinters for example, the Mark Cavendishes who are about power and pure strength. For us at the RSPB, these people are our campaigners. When we need to shout loudly about something, they rally round and they move fast.

And how about the hill climbers? Well, it’s about putting in the hours, digging deep and getting a good job done and there is no better example of this than the network of RSPB nature reserves around the region. Day in, day out our reserve staff have to make sure that the habitats are in tip top condition for all kinds of wildlife and they have to make sure that our visitors have a great time too. This isn’t a job that you can hurry, it takes time, love and a lot of patience.

Finally, there are the domestiques, the riders who give themselves up for the good of their team mates, carrying bottles and getting the team where it needs to be. It’s no secret that the RSPB only survives because of its army of volunteers who give up time and expertise to get the organisation to where it is today.

It may not be quite the Tour de France, but running the RSPB is certainly a team effort and we wouldn’t succeed without the help and dedication of each and every single member, volunteer and worker. And until our UK wildlife is safe and sustained for future generations, I will always be striving to achieve that yellow jersey.

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