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!

 Paul Wright - Volunteer 

My family have lived in Glan Conwy since the early 1980’s, and we visited here regularly until my Wife and I retired a couple of years ago, when we decided to settle here permanently. So I have had the pleasure of watching the reserve being built and mature over the last 35 years or so, but didn’t ever think that one day I would be participating in the great volunteer programme here. I knew that when I retired I wanted to put something back into the local community, but had no idea what that involvement would be, until one day when I met Helen who asked if I would like to “help out” with the Wildlife Explorers’ Group that runs on the first Saturday in every month. 

I have a reasonable scientific and nature knowledge, but no previous experience of working with 7-14 year olds, so it was a new venture for me, but luckily Jill, my Wife, had some 35 years’ teaching experience and she steered me through how to manage group dynamics -and how to manage the “do’s and don’ts” when looking after a group of lovely kids with widely varying abilities and ages. 

So, 18 months later and the Wildlife Explorers’ Group is thriving. I should say that whilst the Group is a great place for young people to experience a wide variety of nature related activities, the RSPB has really given me a focus in retirement, and has also taught me a lot about things I just didn’t appreciate previously, such as bats, hedgehogs, bees, and yes, even birds. Whilst I’m not an avid “twitcher” I can now at least recognise some of the species present on the reserve. It has also been a place to meet lots of new people, have contact with the public and generally be a place that I am proud to represent when wearing my RSPB branded uniform. I have been made very welcome and feel part of the fabric of the site, and look forward to seeing it mature over the next few years.