Meet the inspiring volunteers who have won this year’s President’s Awards

The winners of this year’s President’s Awards have been announced! Every year we ask RSPB teams all around the UK to nominate the volunteers who have gone above and beyond and made a real difference to the natural world. These people have done extraordinary things with passion and enthusiasm and have tirelessly given their time, energy, and skills.

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Linda Holman and friends bringing a small boat back into the dock at sunset.
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The President's Awards

On Sunday (June 4th) the winners were presented with their awards by our President Dr Amir Khan and Chief Executive, Beccy Speight.   

Amir said: “It was a lovely event and great to meet such inspiring folk and celebrate a small group of exceptional volunteers. People who have gone above and beyond to make a real difference to the natural world.” 
This year the awards were re-launched, with new categories to champion and celebrate the diversity of action and people who are donating their time.  
Let’s meet the winners. 

Meet the winners

Watch this short video of this year's winners!

President's Award

The winners

  • Best Urban Voluntary Action for Nature - Kim Nicholas 
  • Community Champion Award - Margaret Pritchard
  • Most Outstanding Voluntary Action Award - Donald McGarrie 
  • Most Outstanding Voluntary Action Award - Shaun Robson 
  • Outstanding Volunteer Leader - Janine Brown-Jones 
  • Most Impactful Newcomer - Linda Holman 
  • Best Volunteering Team Award - RSPB Twitch Team - Will Hall, Catherine Westcott, Perry Johnson, Angus Noble, Andy Horsfall, Lousie Bennett, Jessica Pratesi, Lakshmi Arunachalam, Mya Bambrick, Lottie Storey, Sophie Feboul, Anna Canvin, Bethany Spence and Jonathan Cook 
  • Inspirational Young Volunteer of the Year - Mya Tibbs and Nicholas Richards 

Kim Nicholas - Best Urban Voluntary Action for Nature

First up is Kim whose love and dedication for RSPB Rainham Marshes in Essex has seen her play a vital role in both the education and warden volunteer teams. She joined the team in 2020 as the Education volunteer, learning the skills needed to work as a school on reserve leader. When Covid hit Kim never gave up on being part of our volunteer family and once the reserve reopened she was keen to help restore and renovate the paths, wildlife garden and discovery zones. On many occasions she would give several hours of hard labour to the work party before joining the education team to overhaul the wildlife garden.   

Learning Officer at Rainham, Debbie Neal, said: “She continues to bring her boundless enthusiasm and open and engaging manner to school visits, we are so lucky that Kim persevered because she has become an exceptional school on reserves leader and is the first to offer her assistance.” 

On top of this, Kim now leads the Wildlife Explorer Club for children aged eight to 12 as well as being a member of the Rainham Work Party. Debbie added: “She is an outstanding volunteer, in fact, it wouldn’t be over stating it to say she is fundamental to both teams.” 

Volunteer Kim Nicholas stood proudly next to a bug house.

Margaret Pritchard - Community Champion Award

Margaret has been inspiring the next generation of nature lovers at RSPB Sandwell Valley near Birmingham for more than 18 years. She has played an instrumental part in the weekly toddler group, bringing local families to the reserve to try a wide range of activities to help children connect with nature.  

But that’s not all. Margaret also runs free health walks every Friday, to encourage exercise in the outdoors and escape loneliness. She is also a wildlife garden volunteer, tending to beds around the visitor centre and in the wildlife garden. Here she supports a partially sighted student from a local school, giving him the skills and confidence to get involved in all the tasks and work independently on small jobs.  

Cathy Taylor, Site Manager at Sandwell Valley, said: “On top of all of the above, Margaret will quietly get on with little jobs that need to be done but often go un-noticed, such as washing up cups and tidying the volunteer room. Volunteers that do these kinds of tasks are worth their weight in gold!” 

Watch Margeret talking about wildlife-friendly plants here.

Volunteer Margaret Pritchard with others stood in a woodland holding potted plants.

Donald McGarrie - Most Outstanding Voluntary Action Award

Donald ‘s combination of IT skills and a passion for wildlife have seen him play a huge role in farmland bird surveys in southwest Scotland.  

He began helping with surveys 15 years ago but in recent years he has become an essential part of the team trying to better understand the huge decline in wading birds. This has included testing trail cameras in his own garden so they can be effectively used to provide the predation and hatching footage the team urgently needed. He devised a Google forms questionnaire so the team could enter data at the nest and in real time - saving considerable hours back in the office. 

Donald has also taken the lead on monitoring the data coming in, analysing the trail camera, and temperature logger footage and has played a massive role in developing one of the largest datasets of its kind.  

Daniel Brown, Senior Conservation Advisor, said: “Donald's attention to detail, innovative approach and willingness to help (no matter how crazy the request!) has been hugely appreciated and helped make the monitoring project the success it has become.” 

Volunteer Donald McGarrie stood on a hill side overlooking water.

Shaun Robson - Most Outstanding Voluntary Action Award

Shaun picked up his award for his outstanding work at RSPB Lytchett Fields in Dorset, including playing a huge role in the creation of a new viewpoint.  

Called Rock Lea View, the accessible viewpoint is designed to give people a view onto Lytchett Bay from Lytchett Fields, meaning people no longer need to go over the sea wall and cause disturbance.  

Shaun lobbied councils and raised all the money to deliver the project, a sum of almost £30,000. He also wrote and submitted the planning application, got contractors quotes and project-managed it's delivery, on time and within budget. 

On top of that, Shaun continues to be a vital volunteer warden, contributing in many ways such as monitoring, visitor engagement, litter picking and practical reserves work.  He is also a member of the Dorset Reserves Leadership Team.   

Volunteer Shaun Robson stood under trees in the rain, holding an umbrella with binoculars round his neck.

Janine Brown-Jones - Outstanding Volunteer Leader

Janine won her award for her outstanding work as Volunteer Coordinator across the Aire Valley nature reserves in West Yorkshire.  

Her role sees her coordinate a team of more than 200 volunteers in doing a variety of jobs across two sites. She leads on recruiting, inducting and training the volunteers as well as motivating and supporting the teams. Alongside the Volunteer Coordinator she also finds time to actively lead the Wildlife Garden Team.  

Janine established a Young Volunteer Scheme at St Aidan's and in 2017 she started the older persons dementia friendly Wellbeing Walks. She also organised dementia training for the group of volunteers who help out. 

Teresa Wetton, Visitor Operations Manager, said: “Janine works tirelessly (at times it seems like full-time) to champion our volunteers and works closely with all staff to ensure that volunteering meets and supports the needs of the sites.  

“She leads the volunteer team from the front and is greatly loved and respected by all.” 

Volunteer Janine Brown-Jones sat outside surrounded by trees.

Linda Holman - Most Impactful Newcomer

Linda Holman only started as a practical volunteer at RSPB Dungeness, Kent, in Jan 2022, but her enthusiasm and hard work have already made a big difference.  

Her organisational skills have completely transformed the workshop and tool storage areas of the reserve and she has huge part in the review of waste disposal. She volunteers three days a week at the reserve and gets stuck in, whatever the weather, whatever the task. She has taken intensive training in tractor driving, boat handling, herbicide use and using the brush cutter and is now seen as the volunteer lead for almost anything nautical.  

She has also led on the construction of the reserve’s anti-predator floating fence which has been installed around seabird islands. Craig Edwards, Warden at the reserve, said: “There is nothing Linda will not apply herself to and I now find myself wondering how we would cope without her. All this in 12 months!” 

Volunteer Linda Holman helping with the removal of a tree.

Twitch Team - Best Volunteering Team Award RSPB

The RSPB Twitch TV team only started up last year but now deliver two shows a week, bringing the work of the RSPB to a completely different audience. 

The team combine their different skills to bring an entertaining interactive two-hour live show which discusses wildlife and the natural world while engaging with people on chat. Many of them run it from their own homes and some have never met in person.  

So far, the project has raised over £1,350 for the RSPB and introduced a whole new way of getting people involved with nature.  The skills developed and fine-tuned by the volunteers have also meant some have gone on to work on television with the likes of the BBC.  

Hanifah Master, Community Fundraiser, said: “Many of the team were not RSPB volunteers previously and it's been great to see the diversity of talent and skill we have coming together behind the scenes and on camera.”


The RSPB Twitch team is made up by: 

Will Hall, Catherine Westcott, Perry Johnson, Angus Noble, Andy Horsfall, Lousie Bennett, Jessica Pratesi, Lakshmi Arunachalam, Mya Bambrick, Lottie Storey, Sophie Feboul, Anna Canvin, Bethany Spence and Jonathan Cook 


Mya Tibbs and Nicholas Richards - Inspirational Young Volunteer of the Year

Students Mya Tibbs and Nicholas Richards helped the RSPB Rathlin Island stay open at a time of crisis.  

Volunteer Nicholas Richards crouched by a metal gate with friendly goats.

In summer 2022, a Covid outbreak among the staff and last-minute residential volunteer cancellations meant the reserve was critically short of staff at its busiest time of year. At one point it looked like the reserve may have to close. But Mya and Nick didn’t let this happen, rearranging their personal plans twice to stay on the island for a whole month, when they were only supposed to stay two weeks.  

They quickly mastered the many daily tasks at the reserve and confidently engaged with visitors about the seabird breeding colony. They enjoyed their stay so much, they’re returning this summer.  

Volunteer Mya Tibbs stood on a platform overlooking the water.

Geraldine Anslow, Visitor Experience Manager, said: “Mya and Nick's cheerful energy buoyed a tired crew of staff and volunteers at a crucial time, and they won the hearts of all of us and more in the wider island community.” 

Volunteer and save nature

The RSPB has hundreds of ways you can volunteer and take action to help save nature. Explore these pages to find your perfect opportunity. 

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