March, 2017

Our work

Our work
You might be surprised to read that our work is far broader than nature reserves and Big Garden Birdwatch. Read more about what else we do.

Way out west

South west England is rich in wildlife - from the high moors to the coast and out to sea, it's one of the most wonderful regions in the UK. This blog celebrates all that's wild about the region. Here we will share insights into our work to protect
  • RSPB Goes to Hospital!

    RSPB Volunteer, Jane Taylor, tells us about how she's been helping the Royal Bournemouth Hospital give nature a home...

    Great fun last week, with a stall at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital Sustainability day. The RSPB stall was in the main reception and generated lots of interest from staff and patients alike. The event was held to promote the great work the hospital is doing to bring nature onto their site, and also improve sustainability across all departments.

    Photo 1: Sustainability Day Poster

    Laura Dale, the hospital Sustainability Manager has been working collaboratively with the RPSB to enhance the hospital grounds for both wildlife and human health. The hospital site has a large lake area and adjacent wildlife area which now has lots of bird boxes, insect houses etc. The Trust has a wide ranging biodiversity plan, which has been reviewed and updated this year to encompass a number of new initiatives.

    Photo 2: Left to right - Laura Dale - Sustainability Manager for The Royal Bournemouth Hospital, RSPB Volunteer Wayne Prosper and RSPB Volunteer Jane Taylor)

    Laura Dale said: “The Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are grateful for the invaluable support and guidance that they have received from the RSPB in compiling and writing their Trust Biodiversity Management Plan. The actions implemented have enabled us to become the first Hospital in the UK to gain to Green Flag Award in 2016.”

    The Green Flag ward recognises the biodiversity, community and sustainability work the Hospital have been doing.

    Laura continued: “Within our Trust we understand the importance of managing our grounds in a sustainable and sympathetic manner and are working hard to promote the link between green spaces and their positive benefits for mental health and wellbeing.”

    Jane Taylor, RPSB Volunteer, said: “It has been so rewarding working with Laura, and her Sustainability Assistant, Lisa Mills. We all want to enhance the site to maximise benefits for staff, patients, visitors and wildlife alike. Creating calming green places for people to contact nature at often very stressful times is so vital and the hospital has wonderful grounds to do just that! The new biodiversity plan offers a multitude of benefits for local wildlife - so everyone’s a winner! Warmest congratulations to Royal Bournemouth Hospital on their Green Flag award, very well deserved.”

    Photo 3: RSPB Volunteers Wayne and Jane had a fab time at The Royal Bournemouth Sustainability Day.

  • Sewing Hearts to Show Nature Some Love!

    Jane Comer, RSPB Administrator for our Cornwall Reserves, used her creative talents to support the Climate Coalition's Show the Love Campaign back in February ... even celebs were proudly wearing her creations! Jane tells us more...

    As a long obsessed and prolific crafter and stitcher I recently volunteered to help create green hearts for the Climate Coalition’s ‘Show the Love’ Campaign.  As many of you will know the campaign, which is supported by many environmental charities including the RSPB, aims to heighten awareness of climate change by concentrating on the things that are important to us, the things we love and cherish and which are being affected directly or indirectly by the actions and decisions we are making now.

    By wearing a green heart depicting something important to us, whether that is human beings, black poplar trees, cirl buntings or honey bees - we can show our support and highlight just how imperative taking action on climate change is.  

    After contacting the lovely Kim Matthews at the Lodge for guidelines and further information, I proceeded to raid my local craft shop for as many shades of green felt as I could lay my hands on and armed with a needle, thread, beads, lace, buttons and stuffing set to work like a woman possessed!

    The sun shone, I cared not...... the rain poured I didn’t notice.......the houseplants began to wilt, I ignored better half left home and moved to Paraguay, and still I didn’t look up from my sewing!

    I decided to make each heart badge completely different and happily spent several  evenings scribbling ideas down in a notepad – my Sci-Fi nerd credentials fully exposed when I decided to make a heart depicting the Stargate symbol for ‘Earth’ – I was quite pleased with myself about that one!


    (Photo left: Lovely Jane holding one of her amazing hearts)

    Butterflies, bees, berries and bird nests...I had a ball! I loved making them! I looked forward to coming home, shoving ‘Breaking Bad’ in the DVD player and getting stuck in. I like to think that enormous sense of enjoyment soaked into the fabric of every heart I made. It became difficult to know when to stop, but I finally managed to stuff my first batch of completed hearts into a shoe box and post them off to Kim.

    After their departure I started to worry that they might actually be a little ‘over the top’ that I’d misinterpreted the guidelines and gone completely overboard – ‘no-one will wear them’ I thought’... ‘they’ll all be too embarrassed to tell me...’ and ‘what in the name of Sam Hill are they going to think about that Stargate one!’

    A day or two later Kim got back to me with such enthusiasm and praise that I had difficulty squeezing my over-inflated head through the office door at home time. Thank goodness she liked them! She asked me if I would consider making some more ....Does the pope wear a tall hat, do bears visit the lavatory in heavily forested areas? You betcha I would! So the beast was unleashed again, more fabric purchased and the DVD player fired up. I was happier than a dog with two tails!

    As the week of the campaign approached I regularly perused the Climate Coalition Facebook and Twitter pages, cried into my cornflakes when I watched the poignant ‘Love Song’ campaign film made by Ridley Scott Associates, marvelled at the beautiful hearts made by school groups, the Women’s Institute and my RSPB colleagues across the country, and squealed like a ‘tweenager’ at a One Direction gig when I spotted one of my hearts adorning the lovely Gordon Buchanan!

    (Photo above: Gordon Buchanan holding Jane’s heart. Photo by Lola Buchanan)

    From events and workshops, to bake-offs and sewing bees; concerts and presentations to coffee mornings and competitions - the campaign spread like wildfire. Even Astronaut Tim Peake recorded a special message in support of ‘Show the Love’. Green Hearts were popping up everywhere on social media. Pop singers, TV presenters, scientists, MPs, actors, poets and environmentalists – it appeared no one was immune to ‘Show the Love’ fever.

    It was an incredible pleasure and privilege to play a small part in such an important campaign. I’ve received emails and messages from RSPB colleagues from all over the country thanking me for creating their heart, sharing their campaign stories and photos and I feel blessed to have been involved with such lovely and inspirational people. Thank you all for taking the time to contact me. As for next year’s campaign I can’t wait. I’ll be hoarding felt like a squirrel hoards nuts for the winter.  Now where did I put my ‘Walking Dead’ box set?!

    To find out more about The Climate Coalition, click here

  • New Visitor Experience Manager for the RSPB Exe Estuary by RSPB's Eleanor Gifford

    Hi there! My name is Eleanor Gifford and I am lucky enough to be the new Visitor Experience Manager for the RSPB Exe Estuary reserves. I have spent the last four years delivering field studies to geography and biology students in the Lake District. I came down to Exeter four months ago, visited ‘The Lookout’ hide at the RSPB’s Bowling Green Marsh reserve and fell in love with it and its potential to connect families to nature – so when the job at the RSPB came up, I jumped at the chance! I am thrilled to be given this exciting opportunity to develop an inspirational visitor experience for the RSPB in Devon.

    (Photo 1: The Lookout at RSPB Bowling Green Marsh, by Rosemary Despres)

    Over the next few years, I’m looking forward to making sure the facilities at RSPB Bowling Green Marsh are the best they can be for visitors, especially families with young children. The Lookout hide will introduce a whole range of people to the joys of nature and the work that the RSPB does to give nature a home in Devon. We recently re-vamped The Lookout and already families are enjoying the wildlife and the lovely view.


    (Photos 2 & 3: Families enjoying The Lookout at RSPB Bowling Green Marsh by Rosemary Despres)

    I’m also excited to announce that The Lookout is now open at weekends and during school holidays, from 11.00am – 3.00pm. So please come along and enjoy the breathtaking spectacle of huge flocks of wading birds, particularly avocets, visiting the estuary.

    We’ll also be working hard to further improve visitor experience at RSPB Exminster Marshes.

    (Photo 4: Children enjoying the new wildlife garden at RSPB Bowling Green Marsh by Rosemary Despres)

    As Easter approaches, keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for upcoming Easter holiday activities and family events.

    Follow us on:

    Facebook -

    Twitter - @ExeEstuaryRSPB

    Lastly, we are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join our visitor engagement team particularly at weekends. If you have some spare time and can offer any regular commitment then please get in touch at: or call: 01392 833311

    (Photo 5: Eleanor outside The Lookout at RSPB Bowling Green Marsh)