The retired and the office bound make up the bulk of volunteers at Ouse Fen but there’s room for one and all. They’re all united by a common goal to help us grow and improve the reserve, a job that staff alone could never complete.

The diversity of the group brings with it many advantages. Having a mix of retired and working professional including engineers, chemists, police officers and scientists, there’s plenty of skills and experience to draw from.

Throughout the year we call on our growing team of volunteers to help us with habitat management. They get involved in all aspects of habitat work from reed propagation and planting; scrub bashing, tree planting, fencing and other estate work. Rain, hail or shine they are waiting for me at the entrance to the reserve as I trundle down the drove – often the last to get there.

Some of the vols stop for a quick cop of tea betrween rain showers - photo: Ricky W

In the year and a half I have worked with these guys I have never had a single complaint or whinge no matter how miserable the weather or wearisome the task. As mentioned in the title they are offered little more on the day to keep them going than a cup of tea and a few biscuits. In turn for a choccy digestive we get unwavering commitment, enthusiasm and hard work.

From time to time we host volunteer thank you events to show our appreciation of the great things our volunteers do for us. Saying that, I can’t help but think that a close view of a bittern or happening across a family of bearded reedlings in the reedbed is perhaps the most rewarding thank you they can get.


Dennis and Graham battle on through a rain shower of "Irish Proportions"- photo: Ricky W

As much as has been achieved on the reserve past and present we have plenty to get on with. As we speak, another giant hole in the ground is becoming c20ha of wetland habitat adding to the shear scale of the reserve. New habitat brings with it a new bulk of work.

Thanks to all our volunteers for all their hard work and commitment, I look forward to facing new challanges ahead and enjoying the spoils of our labour.

Reeds = Bitterns, the gang set to planting next years reed crop. photo - Ricky W

If you’re interested in volunteering with the RSPB, check out our volunteering pages here. If your local and fancy becoming a volunteer on one of the most exciting and rewarding wetland sites in the UK then send me an email to or give me a call on 01954 233263.

For more information on the reserve and upcoming events click here.