We had a chat with some of our lovely Aire Valley volunteers as part of Volunteers Week 2020 to find out a bit more about their roles, and what they enjoy about volunteering with the RSPB. Enjoy! 

Volunteer Ranger- Mel 

Where do you volunteer? 

RSPB St Aidan’s.

Describe your role in three words: Champion for Nature!

What’s been your best wildlife moment during your time as a volunteer? 

Standing with like-minded people awaiting the short eared owls that patrol the hillside in the winter, magnificent to watch and great to see the enjoyment people got when seeing them.

And what has been the funniest thing to happen while you’ve been out volunteering? 

Sat on the benches at Astley Lake at St Aidan’s chatting to people about nature when I felt something nudge me and turned round to see a fellow volunteer’s dog trying to chew through my fleece pocket to get to the dog biscuits, couldn't stop laughing!

Volunteer Reserve Assistant- Howard

Where do you volunteer? 

At both RSPB Fairburn Ings and St Aidan’s.

What’s been your best wildlife moment during your time as a volunteer? 

My most memorable wildlife moment was when Emma (former Intern) pointed out a Small Copper butterfly whilst we were undertaking a transect survey. They remain my favourite butterfly and I suspect this was the moment that triggered my interest in these stunning creatures.

And what’s your favourite part about being able to volunteer at both our Aire Valley sites? 

Working on both sites gives an amazing contrast. On Tuesdays at Fairburn there are lots of highly intelligent, academic, knowledgeable serious naturalists and me, constantly having my inferiority complex reinforced! Thursdays at St Aidan’s is a much more riotous atmosphere. Both, I believe, lead to effective groups that contribute to the maintenance and development of the reserves and I enjoy both equally.

Visitor Centre Volunteer and Ranger- Ginny (pictured left)

So you volunteer in two roles with the RSPB? 

I volunteered as a ranger but ended up doing shop and ‘rangering’ 10 years ago. It is never boring and covers all weathers by having the two roles.


How would you describe your role in three words? 

Giving something back.


And what’s your best wildlife moment? 

Watching a bittern come out of the reed beds and bellow and boom in front of me -sheer magic.


Tell us about your funniest moment while volunteering with us.

It was always great fun, I think at Halloween when the assistant warden rose up from the pond/swamp, covered in slime and chains and scared me to death whilst taking the visitors on a ghost walk. A little boy said he would protect me! I love working with the team of young people that make up the RSPB staff as they are always full of fun and keep you young.



Although our volunteering is currently on hold, if you are interested in volunteering with us please get in touch with our Volunteer Coordinator Janine via email for more information- Janine.Brown-Jones@rspb.org.uk