A little break from the normal blogs from me today, but don’t worry, normal service will resume on Friday!
As some of you who are the constant readers of this blog are aware, I was asked to do a talk at the Cardiff RHS show last weekend. I must admit it was one of the most nerve racking things I have ever done. I answered one question to myself, how hard can it be to blab on about yourself for half an hour, it turns out, quite hard!
I thought I would use this blog to complete my journey from couch potato to wildlife blogger, and hopefully inspire some of you join up, and lend a hand to the RSPB.
From my previous blogs you may be aware that my light bulb moment came at Freiston Shore, whilst out walking with my then fiancé. A visit to Frampton Marshes followed, and I was introduced to my local reserve of Newport Wetlands. I’ve not really looked back since.
But how did I end up walking around with a large Heron called Harry and standing on a stage at the RHS Show. The answer is a lot by chance, and a little by design.
I lost my job of twenty years at Christmas just passed. It wasn’t a shock, it had been coming for a long time, and time on my hands was one thing I was going to have a lot of soon. So I decided I would like to try and do some volunteering for the RSPB, as the organisation is one whom I care passionately about. I had no idea what volunteering I would like to do, and no idea how to go about it. I was already a letter writing volunteer, which is another one of those little steps for nature you can do from the comfort of the coffee table. The pen can be mightier than the sword if wielded correctly. Have a look at the letter writing volunteer pages on this website; it is well worth signing up for.
By coincidence at around the time of my departure of my laboratory bench, the RSPB Cymru twitter feed put out a tweet asking if anyone would like to help with a bucket collection in Queen Street, Cardiff, I said “Aye .. Go on then!” And that’s how I came to be standing on a cold Tuesday morning, just before Christmas in Queen Street, with an eight foot Heron called Harry, made entirely from recyclable materials. The Great British public never disappoint, and the collection was a success, the Heron a hit, and the final total around £400, which is brilliant in these tough economic times.
It was there I met Dana Thomas (Communications Officer) and Emma Roberts (Volunteer Development Officer) from RSPB Cymru HQ, and they asked if I wanted to do any other volunteering. I told them it was something I planned to do. I tied up the last few loose ends and finished work and started looking forward to New Year with fresh new challenges.
Those new challenges came along quite quickly! I have been keeping a daily blog on a website called Blipfoto for the past year and half. The challenge is simple, a photo a day and some kind of entry to go with it. To start with I just used to it show off a few photographs, but it slowly morphed into my daily diary. Fairly early on I realised that any entry I put up on wildlife or conservation concerns always had higher comment levels and more views than any others I posted. I realised it was a fantastic tool for getting people to do something, and began to tie it in with the RSPB Stepping Up For Nature Campaign. It seems this had been noticed elsewhere, and I was delighted to be asked in January to start blogging on these pages, and here we are, sixteen blogs later, hopefully still trying to inspire you to do something to help nature, or just get out there and enjoy your local reserve, or your back garden birds. My remit is quite simple, and that is to enthuse to you my love of nature, and I hope this is still coming across. I hope that enthusiasm came across despite my nerves on Saturday. It seems the RSPB stand had a pretty successful three days there despite the weather, hats off to all the hard working staff that manned it!
As Emma said to the audience the RSPB are nothing without the hard working volunteers who offer their gift of time, so if you would like to do something, and volunteering is not just about cutting reed beds or manual work, there will almost certainly be a niche for you to fill, please take a look at the volunteering pages on this website. For those who live in Wales you can enquire about volunteer work at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 02920 353 000.
Thank you for the call to join our army - as the Emma mentioned in this blog - I want to thank Anthony for his continued volunteering support - and a huge thank you to all our other volunteers out there. Who last financial year (10 - 11) donated a whopping 72,500 hours to us in Wales.
If you are inspired and want to step up with us - please get in touch.