On 14 April 1995, after years of initial development, RSPB Conwy nature reserve opened it's gates to the public. Throughout April, we want to commemorate this milestone, and celebrate our 25th anniversary with you! As part of this celebration, we will be sharing what RSPB Conwy means to the people at the heart of the reserve - our fantastic staff (both past and present), and our amazing volunteers. Each blog has been written by various members of our team, as they share with us what RSPB Conwy means to them. We hope that you will enjoy these unique insights, and join us in celebrating 25 years of giving nature a home!

Audrey Parry - Volunteer

Alan and myself have always enjoyed walking and wildlife, and where better to walk than RSPB Conwy where there is so much to see?!

We became volunteers in the mid 90's and we enjoyed the fund raising side of things--- a new board walk was badly needed, and endless ideas on raising the funds ASAP were put into action.  Julia's bookshop was in the Coffee Shop where she raised a great deal of money, how she loved the place! We had 'Summer Fairs' and a 'Christmas Fairs'. We sold plants jams etc. in the porch, and children's competitions.  We cannot remember exactly how long it took but it was a challenge and we managed it fairly quickly. It was very rewarding, and as there was always something needed to add to a relatively new reserve we carried on fundraising. We loved it.

The other aspect of volunteering is all the people we met from staff, volunteers or management or just visitors, the camaraderie among everyone was lovely.  It was great to become part of it, and we thoroughly enjoyed our years there and still do a little if we can.  We can honestly say they were lovely years and very rewarding to watch it all develop into what it is today, a lovely welcoming place to spend time.

William Maidlow - Volunteer

When Helen asked me to write a few words about volunteering with the RSPB it made me think about the 11 years or so that have flown by, and about the rich rewards that come with volunteering at RSPB Conwy!

I work in an eclectic group with two colleagues, Enid and Vince, known at RSPB Conwy as the Monday Gang, essentially to distinguish us from the Tuesday Gang. There is also a Wednesday Gang…but that’s over complicating things! Essentially the Monday Gang deals with things that grow, are green (or sometimes brown), and sometimes can be very prickly. We can usually be found out on the Reserve supporting Tim, the current Warden, in most weathers, though as age and infirmity increase, working in the rain is, not surprisingly, a less popular option. We all have our individual skills, whims, and intricacies that defy definition, but somehow seem to meet the criteria of volunteering. We dread the RSPB volunteer questionnaires because our quirks and curiosities seldom tick the right boxes. Quite simply we do it because we enjoy it.

Oh yes, and then there’s Enid’s Bara Brith. Bake Off eat your heart out! I’ll keep going until age hinders me, or the RSPB decides that I’m more of a hindrance than a help, but I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside some incredibly knowledgeable RSPB staff, met lots of other really nice volunteers, and appreciated the cups of tea that lovely Lesley in the Coffee Shop brings out when we’re in the vicinity!

RSPB Conwy, welcome to the next 25 years!