I am a birdwatcher and have been ever since I was able to walk on my own and shut up for a decent length of time. So about the age of 6. My dad has been into ornithology for a long time and this is from whom I have learnt everything I know so far about birds and the natural world.
Obviously, at the young age of 6, I didn’t understand much about what was going on or what I was looking at. To be fair I probably wasn’t even paying too much attention. Some of it though must have stayed with me. During my high school years, 11-16, I didn’t go out with my parents’ bird watching as it wasn’t the ‘cool’ thing to be seen doing.
From the age of 19, after doing my A levels, I decided to get back into it as a means of exercise and stress relief. I only went out one weekend a month but steadily realised that I had missed the thrill of seeing wildlife living its day to day life.
A few years later I was interested in local and national news regarding wildlife. I was finding myself getting frustrated by the way things were impacting wildlife. It was this that was the catalyst for me to start doing something.
In 2016, I re-joined the RSPB as an individual, previously being part of the family membership my parents held and started spreading my knowledge to those that would listen. At first, it was mainly friends and family, then moving on to colleagues at work. In August 2016, I found out about a local group in my town called the Ipswich Wildlife Group who help manage local green spaces within the town in partnership with Greenways Countryside Project a Council run scheme. I helped with the woodland management of an ancient wood within the town. Here I made some new friends with similar views. I met someone who done Dormouse Surveys so on the next survey date I had the enormous privilege of helping out with the count of the local Dormouse population with the wood. Even getting the huge honour of holding one of these tiny, adorable animals. I also went to Birdfair for the first time. Regarded as the bird watchers Glastonbury it seemed the ideal place to go and mingle with the community that I am now wanting to be part of. I made some more friends and contacts who I now try and meet every year.
In June 2017, I joined the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. It was when reading an article in a magazine about home patches and looking after them that it dawned on me that conservation starts on your doorstep. It seemed only fitting that for me to help in the most meaningful and manageable way was to help the nature that occupied the space around where I live. Within a few weeks of joining, I began volunteering with the local Hedgehog Officer, Ali North, and the Ipswich Education Ranger, Lucy Shephard.
So, I am now building upon my experience, knowledge, friends, contacts, organisations, etc. This is all part of a wider goal of mine but in turn, I am helping the cause which is so close to my