Why not get your employer involved with us and help your staff to learn new skills and step up for nature with the RSPB.
Team challenges build team-working skills and by taking part in a team challenge, you can make a difference to wildlife conservation work whilst working as a team and having fun.
An RSPB Team Challenge is a chance for employees to have a novel and memorable day out and apply team working away from the office.
Your team will join regular RSPB staff at one of our nature reserves or local offices. You may become wardens for a day or get involved in some unusual activities to raise funds.
Partners in grime
Most team challenges on reserves will be muddy and energetic, but that’s all part of the fun. We will provide supervision and any tools or materials necessary to complete the task (unless obtaining them is part of the challenge). All you need to bring are old clothes and stout shoes or wellingtons.
We need your help to:
Whatever the challenge, it will make a difference for the reserve, its wildlife and its visitors. We can also apply the skills you use in your job, which can in turn help you to develop new skills in an alternative training environment.
Organisations that have already enjoyed a team challenge include Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs International, Ford, Royal and Sun Alliance, Marsh, SEEDA, The Army, BT, BP and Norwich Union.
‘Marsh has a long tradition of supporting local communities and the environment. Initiatives like these are an important part of our community relations programme.’ Angela Tinker, Corporate Communications Director, Marsh
‘Team challenges on RSPB reserves have proved immensely popular with our community action teams. They’re hard work but fun, and you get a real sense of achievement from them.’Richard Aggiss, Key Account Manager, Royal Mail Anglia
What can you do?
Most team challenge activities on reserves take place in winter and early spring. This is so that birds and other wildlife are not disturbed as they breed from March onwards.
With numerous reserves across the UK currently looking for help, we have plenty of tasks lined up, but we’ll always try to match the challenge to the needs of your group.
To find out what we have on offer please visit www.rspb.org.uk/volunteering/team
At Gardeners’ World Live, The Royal Horticultural Society provided our RSPB events team with a large space, free of charge; on the condition we produce an attractive, educational feature.Visitors were fascinated by the swallow facts displayed and were keen to Step up for Nature thanks to our Homes for Wildlife examples.
With the help of a fantastic team of extremely talented, creative, and enthusiastic volunteers we set about recreating part of the world, including an English cottage garden, the Alhambra Palace in Spain, the Marjorelle Gardens in Marrakech, a desert oasis (with Bedouin tent) and the Fynbos and Namaqualand in South Africa to a backdrop of Table Mountain.
Volunteers rose to the challenge of making a replica swallow nest from hundreds of mud pellets, a village signpost, Spanish steps, raised irrigated vegetable plot, willow wove raised beds and painstakingly carved and painted 50+ life-sized swallows (and a hobby!)
During the five days a brilliant recruitment team signed up 400 members, gave away 500 Homes for Wildlife Packs and numerous garden leaflets, including a discount voucher for our own peat-free compost.
As well as the dedicated team of volunteers, our enthusiastic staff helped by loaning props and plants from their garden. They even helped lay a turf lawn and paint some zebras, wildebeest and a rhino!
We were awarded 'Best Show Feature' by the RHS, which is excellent news, showing that the hard work paid off and a big thank you to all those involved.
Tropical forests are home to 6 million species, including some of the world's most enigmatic and endangered wildlife. They provide food, water and medicines, and act as carbon stores to help in the fight against climate change.
But tropical forests are in trouble. Every four seconds an area the size of a football pitch is chopped down for commercial gain.
We have spent more than 20 years working alongside our BirdLife partners to protect these amazing places and we've had some great successes. Our work in Harapan Rainforest in Sumatra saw a change in legislation meaning that management rights for areas of tropical forest could be purchased for conservation instead of logging and Gola Rainforest has now become Sierra Leone's second National Park. A new partnership with Tesco, called Together For Trees to help protect and restore rainforests in seven different countries across the globe will ensure we can continue to save threatened species, whilst safeguarding communities.
How are our volunteers and staff getting involved internationally?
VolunteersGethin Evans, Sorrel Jones & Frazer Sinclair volunteered to join a small team of Gola forest guards to establish baseline levels of illegal activity across the whole park, in a repeatable framework so that the extent of illegal activity can be reliably monitored over time. This data is necessary to measure and reflect the ongoing health of the national park and indeed the conservation programme itself.
This is what they had to say about their experience “Seven kilos of rice, five litres of water, three changes of clothes, one towel, hammock, sleeping bag, pan, torch, GPS computer, map and a compass, and ample insect repellent - just some of the contents of my twenty kg backpack as I step into another world- that of the forest guards of the RSPB Gola rainforest national park, Sierra Leone. The guards are at the forefront of conservation, working tirelessly to patrol the forest, protecting it against illegal activities such as poaching, mining, logging, and agricultural encroachment.”
“It is difficult to describe the atmosphere within the rainforest. It is both beautiful and brutal, inviting yet viciously foreboding. Above all it strikes me plainly as being unpredictable and wild in the upmost. There must be few true wildernesses left in the world and primary rainforests rank highly amongst them. The forest guards of Gola national park retain the hopes of us all in protecting this particular area.”
Once you leave the RSPB as a paid member of staff it seems there is no escape. Even our previous Chief Executive, Graham Wynne is involved - volunteering in Sumatra. He is a Patron of the Yayasan (foundation) responsible for the Harapan Rainforest conservation concession. He goes out there to provide technical/management advice.
Catherine Brewis, spent six months in the Gola rainforest in West Africa as a research volunteer. She says “My role was to monitor the endangered Diana monkeys of the Gola rainforest. These monkeys live high up in the trees, eating fruit, and their droppings help disperse seeds through the rainforest, making them crucial to the survival of the forest. Most people think about birds in connection with the RSPB, so it might seem strange that this was an RSPB project. But the best way to protect endangered birds around the world is to preserve their habitats, which is why the RSPB is helping to safeguard the rainforests.”
StaffJean Burns, who works in our Marketing Department as an Area Manager, Liaising with Membership Champions, Community Fundraising and other key staff in Scotland and the Midlands, we help deliver challenging targets for membership and other Community Marketing income streams.
RSPB Sabbaticals are a benefit for employees and for the RSPB. They provide an opportunity for personal development, and help develop a more flexible workforce.
Jean chose to take her sabbatical in Sumatra, the Harapan Rainforest. She says “A chance remark had me walking in the footsteps of harimau in the Harapan Rainforest of Sumatra. I was the first member of staff to take my sabbatical in Harapan”.
“My role was to produce and deliver a corporate induction course for all Harapan staff, as well as looking at how volunteers’ skills could be utilised. Since then, volunteers and staff on sabbatical have – upgraded HRI (Harapan Rainforest Initiative) website and content, built tree platforms to help conservation monitoring, built paths, set up and refined procedures, helped with PR in raising the profile of HRI within Indonesia.”
“The first question I’m asked is, what is it like working in the rainforest. Short answer is hot, sticky and wet, well it is a rainforest after all! It was fascinating to observe how different religions and cultures come together in Sumatra, and provided you adhere to their way of doing things (which could be ponderous at times), and show patience, the job does get done eventually. Harapan is the sort of place that gets under your skin; maybe it’s the gentle nature of the people on the whole; or maybe it’s due to the world importance of the work RSPB, BirdLife International and Burung Indonesia are doing. Given the opportunity I would volunteer to go back out. In the meantime I try and raise the profile of the importance of HRI by giving talks to groups, and anyone who will listen, by relating the tale of when I walked in the footsteps of harimau.”
If you are interested and want to find out more about our international volunteering opportunities
Find out more about the RSPB and Tesco partnership Together For Trees, and see how each small step you take can make a big difference!
For more information about the reach of the RSPB work internationally and our new rainforest pages.
After many weeks of preparation, Love Nature Week 2012 kicks off today!
And it’s the weather glorious for it? We’ve got buckets of sunshine, and sunshine coloured buckets. It’s all set to be a fantastic fundraising event. In the Midlands 74 volunteers will be heading out into the sun this weekend to shake a bucket. I’m a little concerned that I will be wearing a monkey costume at my collection in Morrisons today. Is an all-in-one fleece suit really a good idea in 25 degrees? I’ll soon find out...
But I’m sure you’ll agree, with weather like this the best usage for a bucket (once it’s been used to fundraise) has got to be a Bucket Barbeque.
Grab that grilled halloumi, rub spices into the ribs and sizzle those sausages! Anyone who’s spent the day Love Nature Week collecting more than deserves a delicious BBQ to celebrate their fundraising success. Thank you to all.
(and don’t forget to watch Eurovision!)
Find out more about our collections and to sign up for a future collection at www.rspb.org.uk/bucketcollections
2012 is the RSPB’s ‘Year of the Bucket’. In honour of the RSPB’s Big Yellow Fundraising Buckets, I’m writing a list of 101 Things to Do with a Bucket and I want your suggestions. Share them by posting a comment or Twittter #101buckets . Tweet me directly @RSPBMidlands
So, what’s the best thing you can do with a bucket?
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been blogging about many of the creative things you can do with a bucket – make a life raft, fashion a lampshade, mould a giant Easter egg, or create a super-sized fat feeder (my personal favourite).
For the next 9 days there’s clearly only 1 Thing To Do With a Bucket!
After weeks of nervous anticipation, tomorrow Love Nature Week 2012 will finally kick off in England and Wales. Hundreds of volunteers will be out and about from 26 May until 3 June. You’ll see us in your local supermarkets, at garden centres and various town centre. Some nutters (sorry, loyal supporters) have agreed to wear costumes. Others have wisely decided to steer clear of wearing a thick layer of feathers in the hottest weather of the year. But doubtless we’ll all have smiles on our faces!
So, what’s the best thing you can do with a bucket this week? Well, raise some cash for the RSPB of course! Last year we raised nearly £35,000 during Love Nature Week. We want to top that this year so that even more money can go towards saving nature on our doorstep.
Thank you to everyone who’s taking part in a collection. Thank you for stepping up for nature. Best of luck and happy collecting!