RSPB Fairy Glen nature reserve

People and nature in Scotland

Everyone can benefit from getting close to nature. Here’s how we help in Scotland, from providing beautiful places to enjoy, to organising volunteering opportunities and community outreach. There are loads of ways to join in the fun!

Nature reserves: great for people

RSPB Scotland looks after 77 nature reserves that total more than 72,000 hectares and make up almost half of RSPB’s total UK land holding. They are managed mainly to give nature a home, but they are also fantastic places to explore and reconnect with nature.

These reserves receive more than 300,000 visitors each year. Many drop in to enjoy a quiet stroll or to watch the wildlife, but we also hold many events to suit families or adults.

You could choose from early morning black grouse safaris or capercaillie watching, photography exhibitions, bushcraft workshops, animal tracking courses, art classes or stargazing.

And if all this activity makes you thirsty and peckish, you can enjoy a drink with award winning cakes and scones made on-site at our Loch Leven nature reserve.

Viewing screen / blind / hide for bird watching, Vane Farm RSPB reserve, Kinross, Scotland, July 2010
Girl visiting RSPB Loch Leven nature reserve

Community outreach

RSPB Scotland is running three Giving Nature a Home outreach projects in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Thanks to a new partnership between supermarket chain Aldi, money from sales of plastic carrier bags is being used to support RSPB Scotland’s work to get children engaged with the natural environment around them, helping them take action to support wildlife.

Funded visits to RSPB Scotland’s Loch Leven nature reserve will be available, ensuring children have the opportunity to experience some of Scotland’s incredible wildlife, including migrating species like swallows and whooper swans and wading birds such as lapwings, curlews and oystercatchers.

Activities including a ‘bioblitz’, habitat surveys in schools’ grounds and action to create homes for wildlife will also be part of the programme, all helping to grow children’s awareness of nature on their doorstep and encourage them to preserve it.

Watch out for Giving Nature a Home – coming soon to a city near you.

Schoolchildren enjoying Bioblitz, Glasgow
Schoolchildren enjoying Bioblitz, Glasgow
 Insh Marshes RSPB reserve, Loch Insh, 2000


We rely on a dedicated band of volunteers to keep our vital conservation work going.

In Scotland in 2014-15, more than 2,500 volunteers gave us more than 47,000 hours of their time - and that's worth an incredible £316,541!

From leading work parties on reserves, helping to show people magnificent ospreys, surveying species, or assisting us with managing our administration work, the support they offer across a range of varied activities is invaluable.

How you can get involved

Many volunteers come and stay alongside us at some of our beautiful Scottish reserves. You can do all kinds of roles, from welcoming visitors to being an assistant warden, and it doesn’t matter whether you are 16 or 76! There are residential volunteering opportunities at Abernethy, Forsinard Flows, Hoy, Insh Marshes, Coll, Loch Gruinart, Loch Lomond, Loch of Strathbeg and Mull of Galloway.

We offer volunteering opportunities for companies. Groups of employees are welcome to come to our reserves and carry out tasks such as tree planting, wetland restoration and ragwort pulling. It's a great way to team build and to have fun. Find out more about coporate team challenges.

Looking to boost your CV? Why not apply for one of our volunteer internships? We offer conservation internships at our Scottish Headquarters in Edinburgh and at our Mersehead, Loch of Strathbeg and Insh Marshes reserves.

Whether you have less than an hour or can make a regular and frequent commitment, please get in touch on 0131 317 4129 or We’d love to hear from you. 

Raise money to give nature a home

Why not become a community fundraising volunteer? In 2015 our community fundraising brought in an amazing £160,000 to help support our work, and volunteers made a massive contribution to this total. This total is made up of money raised from the pin badge boxes scheme, and other activities like sponsored events, local fundraising and donations from the public.

The target this year is similar, but it wouldn’t be possible to ensure we bring this in without the efforts of our volunteers. 


Local groups

RSPB Scotland’s local groups offer you the opportunity to join a very lively and friendly group of people in your area who carry out a range of indoor and outdoor activities, including monthly meetings, wildlife walks, nature discussions and illustrated talks.

There is also an opportunity to try out practical skills and get involved with conservation work on a local level, or you can join one of the groups monthly field trips, visiting a wide range of habitats and improving your knowledge.

Find your nearest local group.