Today – 1 June – is the start of Volunteers’ Week. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to say thank you to our amazing volunteers, and celebrate the wide variety of work they do in the Aire Valley!

Volunteering is absolutely vital to the RSPB - over the course of a year, more than 1 million hours are donated across the organisation. At St Aidan’s and Fairburn Ings, we have around 200 volunteers, contributing approximately 60% of our man hours. Even over this past year, with all the stops and starts and challenges, they’ve continued to give their time and talents generously to support nature.

We have a number of teams of volunteers undertaking a huge range of work, without which our sites simply could not operate. From protecting, improving and maintaining the habitats, greeting and helping visitors to enjoy their time with us, making sure you can get a hot cuppa and cake after your walk, introducing children to nature, right through to my role as Volunteer Coordinator - volunteers support us across everything we do.

Ranger John litter-picking around St Aidan's (Photo: Sarah Hoyle)

And we’re always developing exciting new roles and programmes – our very recently-established gardening team has been working hard throughout Spring to brighten up the areas around the Visitor Centres at both sites. Keep an eye out for the wildflowers that are just starting to bloom!

Gardening volunteers hard at work! (Photo: Janine Brown Jones)

We want our volunteering opportunities to be flexible and accessible, so we even have some roles that can be undertaken from home - or on a less regular basis - for those who want to be involved, but find it hard to travel to site or to make a regular commitment. And there are no barriers - we welcome everyone. Our volunteers bring a huge range of skills, experiences and backgrounds; and of course, most of all, they bring their invaluable time and enthusiasm.

Our Fairburn Ings Reserve Assistants on their way to do some path maintenance (Photo: Rachael Tulloch Jones)

RSPB Aire Valley is a great team to be a part of, and if you volunteer with us you’ll have a lot of fun and meet some brilliant people as well as working to help us save nature.

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering, speak to any of the staff or volunteers you meet on our sites, or get in touch directly with me. I’d love to talk through what’s involved and help you to find a role that’s perfect for you. Just email me at: Janine.Brown-Jones@RSPB.org.uk

Janine, with her Assistant Ranger Leia, at St Aidan's (Photo: Janine Brown Jones)

Janine Brown Jones

Volunteer Coordinator

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