We’ve just launched two exciting, brand new volunteer roles, where we are asking you to step up and become RSPB campaign champions to help support our local and national campaigns and give nature a much louder voice.
Campaigning is at the heart of the RSPB. It’s something we’ve been doing since 1889, when a lovely lady called Emily Williamson from Didsbury, Manchester started campaigning to ban the barbaric feather trade.
Since then we have had some outstanding campaign successes such as banning DDT, the horrendous pesticide that got into the food chain and decimated species such as the Peregrine Falcon and the Red Kite. We supported local campaigners against the building of a huge 4-runway airport at Cliffe in North Kent.
Our Letter to the Future Campaign highlighted to MPs how we have a duty to leave a legacy of wildlife and wonderful habitats for our children and our children’s children. This was the most successful RSPB campaign ever with over 350,000 people signing the pledge. Quite simply, we could not achieve any of this without the help of people like you.
Our biggest and best campaign has just begun. Stepping up for Nature is all about many people taking small steps that together will make a big difference. The ultimate aim of this campaign is to halt biodiversity loss by the year 2020, but we need your help. We are very excited to be offering the chance for you to step up with two new volunteer roles.
The first is the Campaign Champion role where you can write letters and emails to MPs, take online actions, use social media such as twitter and facebook and help spread the word about our campaigns in your local area.
The second is the Campaign Champion Activist role where you can do all of the above but also visit MPs and local decision makers to talk to them about our campaigns and the wonderful work the RSPB does.
For more information and details on how you can step up and become an RSPB Campaign Champion please go to www.rspb.org.uk/campaignchampions telephone the Parliamentary Campaigns Team on 01767 680551 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again .... Mini moments make mountains out of mole hills!
So what is this micro volunteering all about? Each small action that a person takes can make a momentous difference when combined with a massive amount of people also doing that activity.
Good grief how many M’s have I used so far!
Having had a quick “Google” around there are many definitions of micro volunteering, from the i-volunteer site I found one that I think is appropriate for the RSPB, keep it simple works for me:
'small, quick, low commitment actions that benefit a worthy cause'.
These actions most often are something that can be completed in it’s entirety by a single person, usually taking anything from a few minutes to perhaps an hour.
Of course there is the example of our Big Garden Bird Watch where each individual spends one hour counting birds in their garden. However, the real value comes when hundreds of thousands of results are added together to give a UK wide picture.
Micro volunteering is often something that you can do from your own home, perhaps on a computer, mobile phone (oh okay, for you youngsters I mean the smartphone) or within your local community. You could be fully dressed or even in your jimjams (pyjamas!).
So are you intrigued? Do you want to know more ...... ?
There are many opportunities for you to step up for nature (in your underwear, if you are so inclined), here are just a few:
And of course, you can always get involved by signing one of our petitions or an online pledge - check out our appeals on our website www.rspb.org.uk.
Mobile phones can be recycled: fundraising for the RSPB - Photo by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
I am astounded and amazed at the contribution to the work of the RSPB that the local group network makes. A community group of like-minded, passionate people getting together and really making a difference where it counts.
They are spread up and down the UK and each group has it’s own personality. By this I mean that they undertake different activities for their membership. This being said they all share the same objectives which are:
This may seem like a lot of hard work, and this is why I am so amazed the volunteers that run these groups can often have full time jobs, families and other commitments and yet they still have time to run these groups. It must be because that also have fun and feel like they are making a difference to the world around them and the people that attend the group meetings and outings.
Do you want to meet other likeminded people? Get to know other RSPB members in your local area? Do you want to learn more about birds and wildlife? Why not Step Up for Nature and join one of our groups near you!
“I have been a member of the group for the best part of thirty years, and joining was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The group has always been made up of friendly people who never make you feel foolish if you misidentify or don’t recognize a common bird.” Jean Fox, Newcastle Upon Tyne Local Group
Each group organises events throughout the year for people who are interested in wild birds and conservation. Events might include:
For a flavour of a groups activities have a look at the North West Surrey Local Group website.
You don’t have to be a member to join in, and turning up to a meeting doesn’t commit you – so contact a local group near you to find out what’s going on in your area.
Do you want to get involved in helping to run a group? If so then the groups could do with your help. Could you organise events, look after the money, be a group leader, get involved with the media & publicity, take minutes & prepare meetings, or write newsletters?
Why not visit our volunteering opportunity pages and see if there is a Local Group role that suits you!
Are you a member of a local group? If so, please leave me a comment it would be great to hear what you think and I am sure you will inspire others to find out more.
It’s not just about internships on our reserves!
Throughout the year you will find many different volunteer intern opportunities offered to enable you to gain experience, skills and behaviours that can assist you develop and create the potential for your dream job. Not only do you receive on the job training but mentoring and career coaching too - so why not make the most of it and get involved with us.
Two volunteer interns from our South Eastern Regional Office had this to say ....
Emily Clark, Community Fundraising Intern (Nov 2011 to April 2012) Emily has since gone on to secure a short term contract with our CF team, working on the Together for Trees collection campaign.
“Having graduated from university in June I found the same issue kept cropping up when applying for jobs - I needed some practical experience in a charity. When the opportunity arose to volunteer for the RSPB in November as a Community Fundraising Voluntary Intern I felt it was a great chance to be involved with a charity especially as it is the largest conservation charity in Europe. My main role within the community fundraising team is organising charity bucket collections.
I have learned so much in a short period of time from simply getting used to working in an office, organising collections, taking part in collections myself and managing other volunteers. I now have a clearer understanding of community fundraising and what it actually involves. As an intern I have been given help with career skills including CV training and career coaching.
I have really enjoyed my experience at the RSPB as everyone has been very supportive. I have tried many things out of my comfort zone which has shown me just how much I can do and increased my confidence! It has felt good to be doing something worthwhile whilst I’m looking for a paid job whilst knowing I’m gaining new skills at the same time which should help me gain future employment.”
Kate Standing. Media Intern (Oct 2011 – April 2012)
“Last summer I graduated from a good university with a good degree, but as I threw my mortar board into the air, like in a film, the world went into slow motion, the hazy glow of the day turned grey, the smile on my face faltered and reality struck. “Oh my God,” I thought, “I’ve got to find a job!”
Finding a job was no easy feat, said the News. The economy’s bad! No where’s hiring! Youth unemployment is rising! And there I was, a fresh-faced graduate, right in the middle of all of this. Not that I expected to get offered a job as soon as a stepped from the graduation ceremony stage, degree certificate clutched in hand, but where do you start in the job market when your C.V. is comprised of weekend jobs and waitressing? (Though being able to pour a really, really good pint is a life skill we should all aspire to.)
It turns out a good place to start is interning. Yes, you work for free, but you also gain experience in a work field that otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be able to get, and experience is king in the job hunt. I have just completed a six month placement with the RSPB South East Regional office as their Media and Communications intern and the experience that I have gained as been invaluable. I have been able to do a variety of different things, from helping to set up the region’s social media networks and seen them go from strength to strength, to writing press releases and liaising with local press contacts, as well as helping to promote campaigns and events.
I have learnt a lot of new skills in the last few months, and have made achievements that I think will really help me in the future. The prospect of job hunting doesn’t fill me with a cold dread anymore. I think I know what I’m doing, and I think I can do it. And, to top it all off, I can pour a pretty nice pint.”
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.