Today is International Women’s Day – and what better opportunity to celebrate some of the wonderful women who work and volunteer in the Aire Valley? Undertaking a wide range of roles, their commitment and achievements are crucial to making our sites the amazing places they are. Let’s meet a few of them!

Maddy – Reserve Assistant volunteer


My role focuses on ‘hands on’ conservation, helping to manage the reserve by carrying out jobs such as scrub clearance, fencing, path maintenance, dead hedge construction and hide management. 

I enjoy volunteering with the RSPB because I can really feel the difference I’m making to the landscape and the wildlife that relies on the habitats we maintain. Doing surveys for species such as harvest mice gives tangible evidence of the good that is being done and makes me feel proud to contribute to just some of the wildlife success stories that come from the Aire Valley.


Debra – Wildlife Garden volunteer


I’ve been volunteering for almost a year at Fairburn Ings, helping to restore the small wildlife garden close to the visitor centre. It’s a labour of love which sadly was almost wiped out by recent flooding. Nevertheless, I’ll be back as soon as I can to start again.

I’ve developed new skills, polished up a few old ones, learned a lot about plants that attract wildlife and have thoroughly enjoyed myself. Working outdoors for a day each week has had a really positive effect on my well-being; it’s the perfect antidote to a stressful ‘real’ job and I’d recommend it to anyone!


Dawn- Aire Valley Retail Manager


I’ve been the Retail Manager here in the gorgeous Aire Valley for over ten years now! These sites have a very special place in my heart, so I’m proud to use my expertise to support them by managing our shop and catering offers.

Most of my team are volunteers, and it’s incredibly humbling to have such a dedicated (and lovely!) team of people giving up their free time to come and help us. Between us, we work hard to make sure the shop is fully stocked, clean and tidy, that our visitors are warmly welcomed, and that they get what they came in for - whether that’s a cup of bird-friendly coffee, a map of the site, or a pair of new binoculars. Every day is different, and I love having a job where I never get bored or stop learning!

Ann- Reserve Assistant and survey volunteer


My role is a varied one, with a range of indoor and outdoor tasks depending on the weather! On any given day I might be repairing fences, paths, or cattle pens, undertaking scrub and reed bed clearance, or trying to keep down invasive species (I’m pesticide trained).

I love working outdoors, surrounded by beautiful wildlife, with friendly, like-minded people and supportive staff. Although some tasks need more strength than I have I'm allowed to try anything and am not treated as a 'helpless female', and I enjoy feeling that I'm doing something useful – it’s always good to see tasks to completion.

Jan- Aire Valley Visitor Operations Manager

After starting my RSPB career in the Membership team, I took up post as Visitor Experience Manager in the Aire Valley in 2018, before moving into the role of Visitor Operations Manager in 2019. My role is focused on encouraging visitors to come to our sites, enjoy themselves, and engage with nature and the RSPB’s conservation work.

It’s hugely varied work and there are no two days the same! It’s an enormous privilege and responsibility - not just to work on the incredible Aire Valley sites, but to manage and support such brilliant and inspiring teams of staff and volunteers.

We’re incredibly lucky to have a fantastic team of staff and volunteers here in the Aire Valley. We’d love to hear your stories about the women in your lives who are doing their bit for nature. For more information about International Women’s Day 2021 click here.