This blog is a celebration of the nature in the South East and highlights ways you can get involved and explore nature in the region. If you've got news of the South East’s nature that you'd like to share, please contact the RSPB South East office on 01273 775333 or email SERComms@rspb.org.uk
One of the many ways the RSPB funds its work is through donations for pin badges of native birds, flowers and other wildlife. It's an important part of our fundraising mix and like many other RSPB activities, it works thanks to the wonderful volunteers who support us. East Londoner Tracy Jordan is one of the many who look after our pin badge boxes at supporting shops, cafes and other outlets, helping us to both give nature a home and to protect landscapes which support amazing wildlife:
I’ve been an RSPB Pin Badge Box volunteer since 2010 when I started with a box in my office as part of a corporate environmental campaign.
The box was so successful I began thinking of other places the badges might work – and this led me to Labour and Wait. I had always admired their sense of design and thought the badges would really fit in with their shop in Redchurch Street.
I spoke with Rachel and Simon – the owners – and showed them the badges. Five years later they have taken over £8,000. I now know Victoria and the rest of the shop team and always try to work around their schedule. I drop by every couple of weeks to make sure the box is looking good and that they have a wide selection of badges. Labour and Wait have customers and visitors from all over the globe and it’s great the pin badges have been so popular there. I like to think of people taking a small piece of British nature home with them.
I now manage boxes in thirteen sites across six London boroughs; stretching from London’s West End, through trendy Shoreditch and Hackney, taking in Walthamstow and Chingford, and deep into the heart of Epping Forest. The range of site types is wide and includes a coffee shop and an art framers a short walk from my home, an antique bookseller in Mayfair, and outdoor outfitters in Covent Garden and Piccadilly. In just over seven years my sites have sold more than 21 thousand pin badges. In real terms, that’s £21, 266.69. I never thought that from my first £50, which was astonishing back then, that it would grow to such a huge amount of money.
Many of the sites are on the route which takes me from my work in the City to where I live in Waltham Forest. The key is looking after the boxes. I visit each at least once a month – more often if they’re very busy – to speak with the site holders and make sure the boxes are checked, tidied and restocked. Because I know the sites and the box contents I can ensure that they’ve each got a tailored range of badges that will sell there. People often ask for particular badges and I try to help. It’s all very straightforward and the RSPB's new ROBINS software helps me keep track of everything.
But it’s not all work. I get to chat and catch-up with the news and happenings in the area. The people at the sites have become my friends. It takes about an hour a week, but I get exercise, hear wonderful stories and keep up with my new friends. I enjoy the walk and scenery as I go, seeing the seasons change and feeling the city’s beat.
All things considered, it’s fun, it has brought me new friends and it’s great to be doing my bit to help nature.
Are you a wildlife hero? If you'd like to help, please get in touch with our Community Fundraising team: