Spring seems to be springing into action recently. After what feels like months of grey days the sun has finally graced us with its presence. Recently we had the “Big Garden Birdwatch” which was a big success for the reserve, with bird ringing, guided walks and feeder making all taking place. Changes have also taken place in the visitor centre too. Welsh Government guidelines have been relaxed meaning there is now more seating in the café as well as on the decking out at the back, which we know many people have missed.  
 As 2022 seems to be on wheels, we’re always on the look out to expand our team of volunteers. Volunteers are essential to the RSPB and without their help we wouldn’t be able to run. I started as a volunteer back in 2016 when I was 16, and now writing this as a member of staff aged 22, I know first-hand how important vols are. There’s a range of departments that you could join. Meet and greet, retail, café, events and if you’re feeling hardcore the handy gang (I’ll explain that one in a minute).  

Meet and Greet 

As part of the front of house team, you’re responsible for being the first port of call for the public (but don’t worry it’s not scary!). From getting to know our regulars and we’re lucky there’s a lot! To explaining the reserve to a first-time visitor each interaction is unique. You’ll be part of the visitor experience team not only working with staff but also other volunteers. Most of our vols do 1 day a week from 10am – 4pm so it’s great for fitting in to schedules. Don’t worry if you can’t tell your blue tit from your great tit, being a volunteer is a great learning opportunity and as you spend more time watching the feeders, you’ll find your ID skills improving. All we look for is enthusiastic humans that can help share the joy of the wetlands to others.  

Events 

At Newport Wetlands we regularly run events such as guided walks, pond dipping and stargazing to engage visitors in a new way. We need people to help by leading these events and back marking.  You don’t need years of knowledge or experience just a positive attitude and want to learn alongside the visitors. Back-marking is a fantastic way to learn more and still be involved. If you do have a speciality which you think could be turned into an event, then this could be the volunteering role for you. 

Retail 

Ever fancied pricing your coconuts? If that’s got your attention, have you ever considered being a retail volunteer? Helping in the shop is a great way to support the RSPB, from binoculars to bird food every little bit helps. Under the guidance of retail staff, you’ll learn how to use the till, restock merchandise and create shop displays.  

Catering 

If being outside isn’t really your thing then have you considered volunteering in our café? Producing cake and coffee to our regulars to getting to meet new people the café is the place to be!  

 Education 
 

As we finally welcome education back to the reserve we are putting out the call for volunteers to come and join the new education team! Activities such as pond dipping, sweep netting and bug hunting are all on the menu and with school groups here most days not one day is the same. 
 

The Handy Gang 

Not all roles that support the RSPB involve direct public facing. Our handy gang are a group of people that carry out maintenance and general reserve upkeep. From clearing paths to clearing reeds in the reedbeds each session brings its new challenges. This is a great way to meet new people and to learn new practical skills. This role does require you to put up with the elements though as the rain has very rarely stopped the team before. 

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