After the RSPB Dee Estuary reserve’s long-serving site manager, Colin Wells retired in the autumn, the perfect candidate to succeed him has been found. Birkenhead-born Graham Jones was welcomed into the team in late December.
Graham has taken up the reins at one of the RSPB’s largest and most diverse nature reserves.
Graham’s first experience of the area was through visiting Parkgate as a young teenager in the early 1980s, shortly after the RSPB had bought a vast part of the estuary to establish its Dee Estuary reserve. Travelling by bus or bicycle from his family home in Birkenhead, his love of nature was inspired by the Dee’s vast marshes.
At the time, the RSPB’s junior membership, known then as the Young Ornithologists Club (since renamed Wildlife Explorers), had a local group of which Graham was a keen member. As part of that group, in early 1984, Graham was introduced to the new warden of the RSPB’s growing Dee Estuary reserve, a certain Colin Wells.
Through regular encounters around the reserve, Colin shared with Graham his great knowledge and passion for birds, wildlife and the estuary. Yet Graham did not initially head into a career in nature conservation.
Having only started a Field Biology and Habitat Management degree in his late-twenties, Graham then worked as a Biodiversity Manager for the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit in Manchester, stepping across into the charity sector with Lancashire Wildlife Trust and Butterfly Conservation before joining the RSPB in 2013 as North West Area Conservation Manager.
Graham said, “Getting this job is a dream come true for me. It’s thanks to growing up exploring the Dee’s wildernesses that I became fascinated by wildlife at a young age, and it’s incredible just how much Colin and the RSPB has been able to achieve to give nature a home here.
“I’ve loved watching the reserve grow over the past 35 years and visited regularly, even when living up in Lancashire, so to come back here now as site manager and lead its future development, I feel incredibly fortunate – it’s like coming home to roost!”
For more details on the RSPB Dee Estuary nature reserve, visit rspb.org.uk/burtonmerewetlands
Last Updated: Tuesday 28 August 2018