This week has almost felt like going back to school in terms of learning. Here at the RSPB, volunteers have the opportunity to undertake a variety of training workshops and courses to improve their skills and knowledge in the field of conservation. This week, all of our volunteers have been busy brushing up on previous skills and learning completely new ones. So far we have whizzed around on quad bikes (safely and slowly of course) learning how to drive ATVs within the field, covered the ins and outs of pesticide information and application and dressed up in uniforms like ghost busters (rubbergloves and giant facemasks) spraying coloured water on the ground to be tested on our newly learnt pesticide application skills. Two of our longer term volunteers spent a day learning the essentials of reedbed management which may prove invaluable to them in future roles. In a field like conservation, experience is vital and training courses like these are a great way to learn new skills, meet new people and generally have a good time. Armed with an arsenal of qualifications, we will hopefully be much better prepared for careers within this field.

As the volunteer programme is so beneficial to our reserve sites and to the volunteers themselves, we are always keen to give this opportunity to as many people as possible. This week, Nick and I represented the RPSB at a volunteer fair in Newton Abbot. Setting up a stall in the beautiful building of Ford House we chatted to interested visitors to share with them the options for volunteering with the RSPB. There are a range of roles, from full time work to one day a week visits on the reserve to public engagement and office work. No matter how much time you have on your hands or what your skill base or interest, there will be something for you. Over the years, volunteers from all walks of life have found their way down to the Exe estuary and have gained a wealth of experience and wonderful memories and many have gone on to work within the RSPB as wardens themselves. If you are interested in wildlife, learning new skills or simply looking to enjoy the outdoors then I would urge you to look into any volunteering opportunities that may be around at an RSPB reserve close to you. All rspb volunteering opportunities can be found here http://www.rspb.org.uk/joinandhelp/volunteering/  

 

Hannah Whitfield

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