In a special guest post, Stockport Local Group leader Jean Crouch explains how she got involved with local groups initially and why she’s still going along nearly 40 years later…

Over 40 years ago my daughter’s friend’s Mum and I decided that there was more to life than bringing up a family and working in the NHS! As we both had an interest in birds, but knew very little about them, we joined a Bird ID Class.

What did we get up to?

In 1979 a local group was starting up in Stockport, so naturally we went along to support it. As the group developed we not only held monthly indoor meetings, to which guest speakers were invited, but also ran coach trips, car trips and local walks. We were able to meet and make new friends, broaden our knowledge of birds and discover new places to visit.

I was a Young Ornithologist Club* leader for 18 years before becoming group leader of RSPB Stockport Local Group 10 years ago, and since my retirement from full time work I have become more involved in the group’s various activities. With two other committee members we have run Bird ID courses, given talks to youth groups, and adult organisations, and attended family fun days etc.

Local group members. Photo by Ben Hall (

Without the local group I would never have gained the confidence, knowledge or interest in the environment and wildlife, or achieve all of the things that I now do. This has filled a void since retiring from full time work.

You do not have to get involved in volunteering, but for company and an opportunity to go to places and see new things, I thoroughly recommend you join your nearest local group.

Fancy giving it a go?

If Jean’s story has inspired you to try out your local group in 2018, take a look at our website and find the one nearest to you.

*YOC clubs are now called Wildlife Explorer Groups