Guest blogger Kat Balaam dispels the myths about the RSPB’s AGM. You might be surprised to hear that it’s not a stuffy affair...

Surrounded by the impressive architecture of central London, the setting sent a signal that the day was going to be a special occasion rather than a run of the mill ‘meeting’.

On arrival at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre, Westminster for the 120th RSPB AGM in 2011, I was greeted by a friendly group of staff, who gave me a name badge and delegate pack.

I grabbed a coffee and milled around the brightly coloured stands, full of information and demonstrating how diverse the work of the RSPB is. Staff  were on hand to speak to me, brimming with enthusiasm as they answered my questions. After finding out all about different steps I could take for nature from building a bug house to signing the latest campaign action, I wandered towards the RSPB shop. I was instantly attracted to the Christmas selection - wow!  Penguin crackers! I’ve never seen them before. I just had to get them, my little nephew would love them (and the inner child in me would too!).

A touch of humour 

Then came the ‘formal’  AGM section of the day but to my surprise it wasn’t a stuffy affair but full of interesting facts of the RSPB’s achievements over the last year  -  and even with a touch of humour. The images displayed on the big screen were amazing – just like a mini edition of a nature documentary. Following this was the President’s Awards, given to volunteers who had made an outstanding contribution. I was astounded by this dedicated and hard working group of people. Their contributions were varied and from all over the UK and were truly inspiring. It definitely made me feel that I ought to do my bit.

RSPB President's Medal, awarded annually at the AGM.

With the AGM section of the day finished it was upstairs for lunch by the renowned caterers Leith’s- no cheese and pickle sandwiches in sight - but a very tasty hot buffet and salad! I don’t know if it was listening to the exertions of the volunteers that had worked up my appetite or that my eyes were bigger than my stomach but I managed to polish off pudding too!

After lunch it was back to the main auditorium for a series of presentations by RSPB staff talking about their work, their passion to save such amazing wildlife made me so proud to be part of the organisation. It was a great end to the day and I left with a positive feeling that RSPB really are taking on the fight for nature. I’ll be back this year.

Why not come along yourself?

This years RSPB Members’ Day and AGM is taking place on October 6, 2012 at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Westminster, London. If you would like to come along please book your place by filling in the booking form