As part of our nationwide Volunteers’ Week running from 1 to 7 June, today’s blog is brought to you by Georgia Longmoor on her experience working on Project Puffin.
Last spring we set out to find out why puffins are now as vulnerable to extinction as loggerhead turtles and giant pandas, by gathering information about the problems puffins are facing.
I worked in a huge team, all as enthusiastic as me about helping puffins, including five other interns, along with conservation scientists, experts in media, policy, fundraising and technology, and many more!
We carried out a census in Shetland to see how puffin numbers have changed over the years, used GPS tracking tags to find out where they were travelling to find fish, and gathered information about what type of fish puffins in different colonies have access to with the help of hundreds of citizen scientists.
An exciting part of our project was Puffarazzi, our citizen science campaign, which really showed that everyone can contribute to conservation. We asked volunteers from all over the UK to visit puffin colonies and take photos of puffins with fish in their bills, to help us find out more about what they eat.
An amazing response
The response we would receive was awesome: 600 volunteers sent us more than 1400 images from almost 40 colonies around the UK.
There were photos of gulls stealing fish straight from a puffin’s beak, a puffin carrying a squid, and even a photo submitted by the youngest member of our Puffarazzi (aged 11). Everyone can make a difference to conservation!
We reached a huge number of people using social media, a ‘name the puffin’ competition and a school visit, recruiting citizen scientists from all over the UK.
All of this input was so important for the project, it wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing response of volunteers (aka our puffarazzi!).
If you want to find out more about our results so far and any updates about the team’s progress visit rspb.org.uk/projectpuffin
For volunteering opportunities with the RSPB, check out our volunteer opportunities page.
For volunteering enquiries, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org