Pat is one of the walk leaders here at Rainham Marshes. Pat shows visitors around the reserve telling them about the history, and sharing some of his fantastic wildlife knowledge too! Pat regularly takes visitors of all ages and abilities around the reserve, inspiring them about the work of the RSPB, the reserve and of course all of our fabulous wildlife. Pat has been volunteering here for just under 10 years – he started coming as a visitor to the reserve, attending the Wednesday Walks and eventually we talked him into helping out as he’s so good at talking to people!
Pat said, “I like showing people round the reserve. I love that moment when I’m showing people wildlife, or telling them about the ecology of the reserve and they get it. That ‘ohhhh’ and ‘ahhhh’ is the best reaction!”
Ian has been volunteering here at Rainham for a number of years now. Ian helps out the wardens doing practical conservation work out on the reserve. We have a brilliant team of volunteers who help us keep the reserve fantastic for wildlife and for the people that visit it! The team take part in conservation and estate work on the reserve which include varied tasks such as maintaining trails, fencing and gate repairs, equipment and machine servicing, track maintenance, electric fence upkeep and mowing/strimming vegetation.
All of these tasks, and more are essential to help us manage this unique and important place for birds and people.
Ian said, “one of the things that I really like about volunteering for the RSPB, here at Rainham Marshes, is that once I’m out on the reserve the rest of the world falls away. It’s a great way to forget about anything else that happening, and get stuck in helping to look after the reserve.”
Ede and George are a couple that have been volunteering at Rainham Marshes together for about four years. They help look after the gardens and in the cafe too. They have a combined age of 172!
My wife and myself regard the Rainham Marshes as an oasis, an oasis of calm in this frantic material electronic world we live in.
It starts when you walk into the cafe and survey the options before you. Then, on the one hand you have the Thames where you can see the cargo boats going up stream to disgorge their cargo of new cars and if you are lucky you will see the three masted tall ships heading to London to take part in the various regattas that take place.
In addition to this, there is also a great variety of wild life to see and on the far bank when the tide is out there is a vast expanse of mud where you can see the seals basking.
Looking out the other side you see the reserve stretched before you, with the various scrapes dug out to accommodate the different wading birds and the walks and four hides all with a different aspect and an area of interest.
One hide has regular displays of photography and art work and further along is the hide where you might be lucky enough to see the kingfisher bringing food for it's brood.
But if you don't, there is always the friendly atmosphere of the cafe and a selection of goodies to look forward to.
An elderly woman once said to us that she 'lives alone in a third floor flat end enjoyed walking around amongst the greenery and the wildlife and whether walking or in the cafe there is always somebody to talk to'
So it's not only about birds, it's also about people and long may it prosper.
Ede and George.