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October 2020

Friday, 30 October 2020

Great oaks from little acorns grow: why local groups are so important for every age group

Great oaks from little acorns grow: why local groups are so important for every age group

RSPB Liverpool has always been a supportive, enthusing and proactive group for its members and this can be seen in many ways: for example, by our increasing membership and our fast-approaching 50th anniversary in 2022.
The group welcomes people of any age or ability; one of our youngest members joined the group when he was 11. Supported by his mum and grandma, Stephen Menzie quickly grew as a birdwatcher. We introduced him to other wildlife, twitching and bird ringing. By the time Stephen was 13, he was supporting the work of the group and had joined the committee. His enthusiasm helped develop our newsletter, blog and Twitter feeds for our members and further afield. Stephen was an eager advocate for the group; he never hesitated in approaching people but, more importantly, he was always happy to spend time talking to them about nature in an easy way for them to understand. He later put this talent to great use in his time as a bird guide for Sunbird/WINGS, guiding in Sweden, Morocco and Oman.
Stephen started working for BirdGuides/NatureGuides, where he was a producer for the multi-award-winning Collins Bird Guide app. His passion for bird ringing took him to Spain and then Falsterbo Bird Observatory in Sweden, where earlier this year he became their first non-Swedish manager. He has also just been appointed the new editor of British Birds, a monthly journal which contains information on all aspects of bird behaviour, conservation, identification, etc., as well as news on rarities and other information. The journal aims to communicate scientific research in an easily accessible way, and Stephen will no doubt contribute brilliantly to this aim.
Local groups might be small a small part of the work of the RSPB but, for the hundreds of thousands of people who have accessed them through the last 50 years since their inception, they have helped nurture in young and old a desire to watch and enjoy birds and nature, as well as supporting the RSPB's work for wildlife and the environment.