Life in the Midlands Regional Office has been rather hectic of late as we prepare for the beginning of Love Nature Week. Love Nature Week kicks off on Saturday 28 May but the team in the office have been preparing for months! And now it has finally arrived and collections are taking place all over the UK in garden centres, supermarkets and streets – who knows, you may well spot one in your area!
I'll be out collecting during Love Nature Week myself – returning to Leamington Spa (sans Owlbert, who will be strutting his stuff at the famous Hay Festival in Wales) to help raise as much money as possible for the RSPB! Having never done a bucket collection before, I'm looking forward to seeing just what exactly will happen on the day. In particular, I am excited about meeting a variety of different people, the opportunity to raise awareness for the RSPB and of course, raising plenty of funds for a fantastic cause.
All of my kit has arrived – including a bucket, a PayPoint card, stickers and of course the “How To...” handbook. If like me you are collecting for the first time, or indeed are contemplating collecting for us in the future – this is the essential guide and tells you absolutely everything you need to know about collecting for the RSPB. I found it exceptionally useful as it answered any queries I had about street collections, and I will no doubt read it again just before my collection.
This week we've been telephoning all the volunteers just before their collections so that we can wish them the very best of luck and answer any further questions they may have. It promises to be an enjoyable week for all involved – great fun, plenty of money being donated and hopefully some fantastic weather too!
Aside from collections, I've helped to devise our brand new Love Nature Bird Quiz that you may well have seen on offer at some of our reserves, or at our Date with Nature sites. It's definitely worth entering – with the prize on offer being some of our very scrumptious Love Nature Fudge! We’re also having our very own fancy dress day next week, taking on the movie theme – which we in the Community Fundraising Team are particularly excited about as we have a Top Secret plan for our costumes.
For those of you collecting, donating, or participating in Love Nature Week – thank you very much for your support!
The reserve is fortunate, largely due to its location, in not suffering from a great deal of vandalism or anti-social behaviour, unlike other reserves situated close to urban areas. Apart from the occasional insensitive dog walker we haven’t had that much of a problem at Old Hall. However, the ongoing problem of marine revellers at the eastern quarters spit reared its unwelcome head once again.
What is the logic behind deliberately choosing a wonderful spot to enjoy and then trash it a few hours later?
One of our no landing signs uprooted and thrown on one of several fires that had evidentially been lit recently on the east quarters spit.
I started my Love Nature Fundraising Internship at the Midlands Regional Office in Banbury at the end of March. I joined the Community Fundraising team in preparation for the big Love Nature fundraising week, taking place all across the UK, from 28 May to 5 June. The internship interested me for a variety of reasons – primarily the chance to make a difference and raise awareness for such an important cause. The opportunity to learn new skills, as well as further develop existing ones, also appealed. There was the element of intrigue and surprise too! The variety of tasks offered by the internship, and the fact that no two days appeared to be the same made it particularly appealing... I was to find out about this particular factor very early on!
No sooner had I sorted out my desk and familiarised myself with the office, I was back out of it again. I was going on the Owlbert Tour! Are you familiar with our giant feathered friend? Unlike most owls he appears to prefer daylight to the night-time, which makes him incredibly useful in this instance.
The week was spent with Owlbert and his binoculars – not looking for other wildlife forms, but for volunteers! We travelled to various towns and cities across the Midlands – taking in Birmingham, Oxford, Banbury, Hereford, Worcester, Coventry and Leamington Spa. We encountered most of the elements on our way but while Owlbert felt the hard rain in Hereford, he also basked in glorious sunshine in Oxfordshire and Leamington!
Owlbert was very well received – taking in plenty of high-fives, hugs, photo opportunities and of course, volunteers! Owlbert (aka Stuart Nelson from The Lodge on this particular day) also managed to secure a radio interview on BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire whilst on his travels – spreading the message of Love Nature Week and the RSPB through the airwaves to thousands of potential volunteers.
It was certainly an interesting and fun-filled week – from being mobbed by groups of holidaymakers in Oxford, to dancing in the rain in Hereford, to crouching in the quiet carriage of a train to Birmingham in full owl attire! It was enjoyable and heartening to see the reactions of the public and newly signed-up volunteers, and certainly made the week’s efforts worthwhile.
Owlbert will be flying to Scotland next, so if you’re in the around those parts be sure to look out for a giant owl with a rather large pair of binoculars – I am sure he’ll be looking out for you too!
The coming weeks will see me talking to the volunteers that have already signed up, recruiting many others, and being trained in some of the systems that we use here.
Not only that but I shall be looking to sign up for one of the collections in my area myself!
The Midlands region Love Nature team have so far signed up over 160 volunteers to help with the week taking place from 28 May - 5 June. But they're still looking for more! So if you can spare as little as two hours that week why not call Mark, the man himself, on 01295 676462 and find out how to get involved.