Blogger: Anna Sadler, Volunteering Development Officer

The Volunteer & Farmer Alliance (V&FA) provides farmers with a free farmland bird survey, undertaken by trained and sympathetic RSPB volunteers. Along with their results, the farmers are encouraged to seek further advice and put into place specific management for farmland birds. Through this, they experience positive contact, generate trust and build working relationships with the RSPB.

There has been a dramatic decline in farmland bird populations since the 1970s and this is largely because of the Common Agricultural Policy. By providing farmers with a free survey of the birds present on their farm, we hope that together we can improve conservation management for farmland birds. The following prose come from our very own Annie Sadler, Volunteering Development Officer, who practices what she preaches and volunteers her time as part of the V&FA. What follows is a brief description of some of the beautiful experiences of being a V&FA volunteer.


I feel glad

The warm, comforting smell of a sea of ripening barley, rippling beautifully in the breeze

Sky larks sing joyously over-head

Families of blue tits constantly chat in the hedgerows, bright and boisterous

Hares gamble at my feet, unconcerned, their gangly legs looking like they might snap

A lone yellowhammer pierces a few seconds silence

Red poppies brighten a field of oil seed rape, and forget-me-knot subtly hide in the field-margins

Clouds race across the sky

A pair of barn owls glide silently from their nest in a dead tree, just a metre from my head, making me gasp with surprise 

The sun warms my skin and the butterflies start to flit in front of me

And I feel glad to be alive!


For more information of volunteering in the East give Annie a shout on 01603 697504

Image by Andy Hay (