Birdfair – an enchanting event uniting those with a love of wildlife from around the globe. The people of Birdfair gift some of the world’s most threatened species and habitats with a fighting chance of survival by generating hundreds of thousands of pounds for conservation projects supported by the Birdlife International Partnership.
In the midst of the fair it’s easy to forget the real reason behindover 20,000 people gathering in England’s smallest county. For many, it’s an opportunity to catch up with old friends or to debate the current issues in conservation with other like-minded individuals. For others it’s all about sussing out the best deals the industry has to offer. As you walk from marquee to marquee you’ll encounter people booking their next eco-adventure, debating which piece of artwork will look best above the fireplace or trying out the latest binoculars. Star-struck fans of all ages stream out of the events marquee grinning from ear-to-ear after hearing the trials and tribulations of being a TV personality on our favourite wildlife shows. Intrepid explorers travel the world without leaving the fair: simply by spending time listening to a few of the hundreds of lectures on offer throughout the weekend. And with the end of the summer holidays drawing ever closer, relieved parents and grandparents enjoy doing something different with the kids; it really is a great day out for all the family.
If you look closer you’ll see hundreds of a different type of person. Their reasons for being present go deeper than simply experiencing all the fun of the fair. They’re the ones making sure everyone else is having a good time – providing a warm welcome when you arrive, helping you find your way around, ensuring the events and lectures run smoothly, helping you decide whether to buy the blue or the green Birdfair polo shirt – “or perhaps you’d prefer a mug”? They’re making sure your bid for the holiday you really want to win is on record at the auction, and at the end of the day, when you’re tired and you’ve no idea where you parked the car, they’re there to guide you back to the sight for sore eyes that is your transport home.
Who are they? Birdfair’s volunteers that’s who! Sent by Mother Nature to donate something far more valuable than money; a generous mix of time and skills along with copious amounts of kindness and smiles that never fade. Their presence is the beating heart of the event, and underpins a unique atmosphere that you will only find at the Rutland Birdfair.
They know that their help goes further than the boundaries of the nature reserve and their support lasts longer than the duration of the fair. They keep in mind that their hard work enables conservation projects around the globe to get underway: from creating protected marine areas to stopping the illegal killing of birds on migration. They know these projects can bring species back from the brink of extinction or ensure that important habitat remains intact. So very humble, our volunteers may never get to experience the fruits of their hard work, but that good feeling that comes from giving along with a heartfelt thank you, is all that is required.
Birdfair’s invaluable volunteers demonstrate just how easy it is to make a big difference. All you need to be prepared to part with is a couple of hours of your time.
For more information about volunteering for the Birdfair contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Sarah Proud, via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01572 653025.