FDB Charity Working Days – Volunteering with the RSPB
By Alastair Collyer
As a long-time member and supporter of the RSPB, I jumped at the chance to use my FDB charity days working for them.
Living and working in Devon means that we are surrounded by beautiful countryside, but all these vital spaces for nature require management to provide the habitat, food and shelter to keep the many and varied species that live there thriving.
The RSPB is the largest nature conservation charity in the country, and reserves are at the heart of their work, so I joined the local RSPB volunteer teams that work to protect reserves at Exminster and Powderham Marshes every Thursday.
Led by a few RSPB resident workers, the volunteers are great mixture of people from various backgrounds and with a whole range of experiences and skills to offer – ranging from me (no skills, but lots of enthusiasm!) to a retired farm manager who could be relied on to find to the best way to tackle any situations that arose.
It was hard work, but the camaraderie and end results made it all extremely rewarding.
Day 1 in late August was at Exminster Marshes, removing vegetation from beneath an electrified predator fence, that keeps larger mammals (e.g. foxes and stoats etc) away from areas that are home to ground nesting birds.
Plants growing under the fence can short circuit it and give opportunity for these predators to break in and steal birds’ eggs.
Day 2 in early October was at the Powederham side of the marshes, and was spent digging out and repairing gate and fence posts on reserve land rented out to local farms for grazing – another way the RSPB can raise vital funds.
The current residents of the field took a great interest in the work we were doing!