Why We Volunteer At RSPB Fairburn Ings Ollie & Pete photos by Pete Carr


How Did We Find Out About Volunteering?

We were at Fairburn on a family visit, we’re lucky enough to live just five minutes away. We were sat having a snack in the Visitor Centre when an advert popped up on one of the big screens. Ollie, who was nine at the time, had been asking about volunteering for quite a while. I thought he would be too young. So we asked, and the rest as they say, is history. And Ollie became one of the youngest RSPB volunteers.


What Is Our Favourite Thing About Volunteering?

   Pete – For me there are two aspects to volunteering. The first is probably the obvious one. Getting out into our natural world, and learning about it. Talking to others about the things they can see and listening to the stories people have. I’ve always been interested in birds and wildlife. It’s great to be giving something back and trying to help create and promote a safe place for our natural world. The second, and slightly less obvious, is the time I get to spend with Ollie, as he grows and learns more and more about the importance of wild spaces. It’s a great family thing to do. In my opinion, kids can’t start to learn and take ownership of their environment and the wildlife we share it with too early. Being at the reserve when the spoonbills first successfully raised chicks was a great moment that we will always both remember.


 Ollie – I’ve always liked being outside, it makes me feel fresh and more alive. I enjoy passing on knowledge to others about the reserve, the birds and wildlife we have there, and pointing out interesting things through optics.

It has helped me understand the way we all have to work together to make the world a better place. When watching TV shows, such as all the ‘Watches (Springwatch currently) and Countryfile, the experience that volunteering has given me helps me understand what is being discussed. Which means I can take this detail and maybe use it the next time we volunteer.

My most memorable moments as a Ranger (so far) have been spotting the spoonbill chicks and being able to show them to visitors. Being part of the RSPB’s Big Wild Sleepout, and being part of the Countryfile programme on Young Volunteers, which was filmed at the reserve back in 2016. My dad and I even came back early from our holiday on the Yorkshire Coast to be part of it. We also had an amazing Bioblitz day with Chris Packham, which I was allowed to miss a day of school for! Another benefit to volunteering is meeting people and making new friends, such as fellow young volunteer Liberty and her mum Dawn.

Here’s a glimpse of what Pete and Ollie have crammed into their volunteering so far!



Although our volunteering is currently on hold, if you’ve been inspired to volunteer with us, or have any questions about joining our team please get in touch with our Volunteer Co-ordinator Janine via email for more information- Janine.Brown-Jones@rspb.org.uk


Photo credit: Pete Carr