Bloggers: Jonny Rankin & Tristan Reid

Editors note: I love a story about wildlife heroes, and this one is up there as one of my favourites.  Read on to hear how four wildlife heroes are upping their game for nature!

Here's Jonny

Some RSPB members may have noticed the following mention in this weeks news on the RSPB website; Concerned bird lovers have stepped up to help out Operation Turtle DoveA group of friends have begun training for a grueling fundraising effort in March when they will walk 300 miles through the traditional summer range of the turtle dove from East Anglia to the North East.

This is a very nice introduction to our idea, which is to walk from the RSPB Lakenheath reserve up to RSPB Saltholme covering the core summering range of Turtle Doves in the UK. A walk we have named ‘Dove Step’. The team is made up of Tris, Sir Rob, Goodrick and myself Jonny and there are mug shots of each of us on the Dove Step website.

As suggested we are busy preparing all aspects of the walk from upping our fitness and route planning to making a noise about all things Turtle Dove on social media. As well as beginning and ending at RSPB reserves we will also visit RSPB Frampton Marsh en route and give a brief talk to RSPB members and visitors upon arrival at the Saltholme reserve.

Turtle Doves and their plight are obviously very important to us and accordingly we wanted to do all we could to support Operation Turtle Dove. Having considered ourselves, available funds and other commitments this translated into the 300 mile walk. In covering Turtle Doves range in England and with daily distance totals of around 25 miles we felt Dove Step offered a demonstrable commitment to Operation Turtle Dove. One which we look forward to talking with people about en route, at Saltholme and of course via the Dove Step website. So do check back on the website for updates and maybe even consider visiting the Dove Step JustGiving page, where all funds will go direct to the RSPB and Operation Turtle Dove.

Dove Step will, for all of us, be the longest distance we have walked. It will also be a good proving ground for our own endurance, ability to establish and break camps and effectively fund raise. Which begs the question ‘what will we do next’? I’ll hand you over to Tris…

And over to Tristan

When Jonny told me about Dove Step I was inspired. This is such an awesome project and one I am really excited to be part of. It will not only be fantastic to help raise the profile of Operation Turtle Dove; but in the company of Jonny, Robert & Goodrick it will also be an epic adventure!
One thing we discussed was what was after Dove Step! We thought it would be very cool to use this project as a launch pad for other conservation projects.
2014 will mark 100 years since Martha the last Passenger Pigeon died; this is a sad anniversary that marks the extinction of what was the commonest bird in the world. The Passenger Pigeon became extinct because of habitat loss and hunting. These are the same threats facing the Turtle Dove today. It is very poignant to be walking Dove Step in 2014. This significance made me come up with an additional project. In addition to Dove Step I have launched the project 'Running 1000 miles in memory of Martha'. It is important that we do not forget Martha and that we learn from this tragedy! 

My plan is to run a minimum of 1000 mile (including a minimum of 14 Marathons) to raise funds for and awareness of Operation Turtle Dove. Funds raised will go specifically to habitat restoration and creation for Turtle Doves here in the UK.
This will be an amazing physical challenge for me; but one I am really excited about! Currently the rest of the Dove Step team have no plans to join me on any of the planned marathons...but I am sure I can drag them out with me on some of my training runs ;-)
You can donate to the cause via my Just Giving site here:

Alternatively you can donate with your mobile phone by sending a text to 70070 with the code DOVE75 followed by the amount you would like to donate (£1, £2, £3, £4, £5, or £10).

As an added incentive, if donations exceed £1000 I pledge to have a design featuring the Passenger Pigeon and the Turtle Dove tattooed onto my skin!
 More info: