Our team of dedicated and passionate volunteers play a massive role in helping us to make Dove Stone a more resilient nature reserve, from restoring the blanket bogs, to checking that our trails are safe for people or greeting our daily visitors on site, just to name a few of many tasks… Most of them have been supporting our work for many years and are very experienced.

However, what about the new generations that are leading a new movement to save our planet?  We had a lovely surprise when a young girl emailed us asking to volunteer at Dove Stone. Her name is Rebekah, 13 years-old student, and she is the latest recruit to our team. She started her volunteering experience in October from last year, and since then she has been giving her time on Saturdays to make a big difference for nature, by litter-picking and taking brilliant photographs of our wildlife and landscape.

When she first came to our office to know us, she said:

“I really love nature and I want to make a difference at Dove Stone. In the future, I want to become a marine biologist and learn more about the ocean life. I am very concerned about the current and global issue with plastic pollution which is harming marine wildlife and the planet.”

  View from Pennyworth by Rebekah Woodward

Sadly, we have to deal with some anti-social behaviour at Dove Stone including litter thrown regularly from some uncivil visitors who do not respect the environment. However, it is thanks to Rebekah and our other volunteers’ determination and passion for the natural world, that we are able to combat this issue and keep the reserve safe for wildlife and people. If only other citizens were as aware of the consequences of throwing litter as she is, we would definitely make this problem stop for good!

Besides, her photography skills are very welcome too - Whether this is a close-up of a 7-spot ladybird or a stunning view of Dove Stone reservoir, her photography donations are great content for our social media channels, which is greatly appreciated as well.

  7- spot ladybird by Rebekah Woodward

Very recently, she attended with her family one of our bird ringing sessions at Binn Green delivered by professional ringers from BTO and RSPB, Steve and Margaret respectively. She could not only hold ringed birds with her own hands, but also learn the importance of this practice from the conservation point of view. Plus, she managed to see 11 different species just in a few hours, an unforgettable experience!

 Goldfinches ringed by Rebekah Woodward

On Thursday 9th of January, Andy Burnham Mayor of Greater Manchester visited us to see first hand the ongoing work carried out by the RSPB and United Utilities on the moorlands to restore blanket bog, but he also had the chance to know the committed team of visitor volunteers who give their time every week to greet visitors. Rebekah kindly took some time out from school to meet him and tell him about her volunteering experiences at Dove Stone.

  Rebekah meeting Andy Burnham

But this is just the beginning for her…

Rebekah has shown a great interest in our work from her first day volunteering with us. This is why, we are exploring other and new ways how she can support our work and learn new skills at the same time. With the spring season upcoming, our knowledgeable VEO James, and also volunteer, has invited her to take part in his insect surveys - vital information for monitoring the wide range of biodiversity inhabiting our nature reserve. His entomological background and passion for butterflies will hopefully encourage Rebekah to keep chasing her goal and aspiration to become a conservationist in the near future.

If this is only what she has achieved in less than a year, we cannot even think what she would be able to do in the future as a professional biologist!

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