RSPB seeks passionate wildlife lovers to inspire the next generation in Norwich and Norfolk

Rupert Masefield

Friday 16 September 2016

Following the runaway success of their new free environmental education lessons, the RSPB have launched a search for a team of volunteers to help children from Norfolk schools develop a passion for wildlife in 2017.

Thanks to funding from Aldi supermarket chain, the RSPB has so far been able to connect 3,000 Norfolk school children to nature through special wildlife lessons as part of a three year partnership.

Since November 2015, RSPB School's Outreach Co-ordinator, Clare Whitelegg, has been delivering free wildlife outreach sessions to children in schools based in Norwich and the Norfolk Broads. Youngsters have been carrying out surveys to find out how hospitable their school grounds are for wildlife, bird watching and mini-beast hunting.

Pupils have been having a great time in their wildlife classes so far, with one from Catton Grove Primary commenting: 'It was amazing having fun and looking for nature'.

Clare is looking to build a team of volunteers to help her to deliver free wildlife activities to thousands more school pupils in the area throughout the next three years.

Clare Whitelegg, RSPB Schools Outreach Officer, said: "I have been blown away by the success of our nature lessons so far! Sessions have been very popular and we've been well booked up since the start of the project. I am really keen to find a way to make sure that I can say 'yes' to every school in the area that would like to introduce their children to wildlife through our nature lessons.

"I know firsthand how incredibly rewarding it is to see children learning, enjoying and loving wildlife and I can't wait to share the experience I have every day with others. I'm looking for volunteers who have a real passion for enthusing young people about the natural world so that we can reach as many children as possible through this inspiring project."

Aldi's partnership with the RSPB sees the supermarket donate all profits from the carrier bag charge throughout England and Wales to the RSPB from July 2015, helping support the charity's nationwide to provide environmental activities for children in their schools and local parks.

Money raised through the three year partnership will allow Aldi and the RSPB to work together to connect more than half a million children to nature across the UK. The activity is set to improve children's health and well-being while inspiring them to love and understand the natural world.

The RSPB are looking for volunteers who can spare one day per week during term time. If you enjoy working with children, love the outdoors and have a passion for sharing your interest in wildlife, conservation and nature with others, you could be just the person they are looking for.

For more information, or to express an interest in volunteering in schools with the RSPB, please contact Clare Whitelegg, clare.whitelegg@rspb.org.uk.

1. Profits from Aldi's carrier bag sales in England and Wales are expected to see the charity receive donations in excess of £2m over a three year period. Aldi continues to prove popular with shoppers, with the latest supermarket share data showing Aldi grew sales by 15.7%, taking its share to 5.4% of the market (Kantar Worldpanel, 12 w/e 24 May 2015). The supermarket has always charged for carrier bags since it first opened in the UK in April 1990 in an effort to reduce its environmental impact.

2. In October 2015, UK Government department Defra introduced a minimum 5p charge for single use carrier bags in a bid to reduce consumer usage and protect the environment. The move follows similar charges that have been introduced in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in recent years.

3. By April 2016, the RSPB's schools outreach programme will be available in fifteen cities: Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, London, Norwich, Newcastle, Brighton, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby, Swansea, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Liverpool.

Tagged with: Country: England Topic: Education