This is my first blog as the new ‘membership development officer’ at RSPB Lake Vyrnwy, so I thought I’d share a little about my experience of what it is like to work on the reserve.

Right from the start, I knew working here was going to be really quite special. From driving across the dam to get to work and taking in the breathtaking views in both directions, to the warm and friendly welcome I have been given by everyone here, (a welcome which I have learned is extended to everyone who visits); and the seemingly constant sound of birdsong which now fills my working day.

View below the dam by Mark King

On training, I watched Iolo William’s speech at the launch of the ‘State of Nature’ report in 2013. He spoke of the landscape in which he grew up and how biodiversity in the area had radically declined leaving it a shadow of what it had once been. Surprisingly, this area is the village of Llanwddyn and area around RSPB Lake Vyrnwy nature reserve.  An area of outstanding beauty and so richly abundant in birds, animal and plants, that it was shocking to hear it spoken of in terms of decline. It lead me to compare other areas in which I have lived; rural Northamptonshire and towns in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. This really brought home the message that the ‘State of Nature Report’ delivered. We need to protect nature and all work to improve the situation before more is lost for future generations.

It also made me appreciate even more the amazing place where I work. My job as membership development officer involves talking to people about the work of the RSPB and giving them the opportunity to join us and help us to help nature. In these conversations, I find that many people are surprised to find out that we are the largest nature conservation charity in the UK with over 1.2 million members. Some learn that our work has developed to encompass conservation of all the richness of nature in addition to protection of birds. Others already have a fascinating knowledge of wildlife and love to share their stories.

It’s wonderful to see and share new member’s passion for the natural world around them (and to thank existing members for their support). I see families leave with ideas for activities and days out which spread across the year, all creatively set out for them in their ‘Nature Discovery Pack’; opening doors to new ways for families to learn about the natural world and helping children engage with nature. I hear stories of people creating homes and habitats for wildlife in their gardens; sharing their joy at watching the birds in our hides, out on the reserve or on the feeders they have at home.

View up the lake from the dam by Mark King

It seems not to matter whether people live in cities or out in the countryside, the passion with which they speak of nature and conservation after a visit to RSPB Lake Vyrnwy is both encouraging and infectious.

Mark King, Membership Development Officer (MDO)

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