Here at Rutland Water Nature Reserve a team of more than 500 volunteers provide vital support and help in all aspects of the day-to-day operation and management of the site. This is a major undertaking involving over 1,000 acres of wildlife habitat, two visitor centres, key initiatives such as the Rutland Osprey Project and a wide range of activities and events including the annual Birdfair.
Volunteers carry out all sorts of roles, from habitat management and wildlife recording to visitor services and gardening, and much more. They do a fantastic job and their hard work, enthusiasm and commitment is second to none.
As a way of acknowledging and thanking our wonderful volunteers for all they do, we have a special programme of events and training specifically tailored for them. Thanks to the new Volunteer Training Centre and support from the Heritage Lottery Fund we have been able to expand this programme to include an activity nearly every week.
This is one way we can show our appreciation for our volunteers and hope it helps them feel valued for all they contribute. They are not the only winners though, the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust in turn is rewarded by having even more highly skilled and able volunteers thanks to the knowledge and training they receive from the range of experts who give their time to the programme.
Events in 2016 included identification workshops on dragonflies, butterflies, bats, birds, moths, lichens and wildflowers. Volunteers have enjoyed a variety of talks and lectures from local experts, learnt to build moth traps, joined bird ringing sessions, been on several guided walks and numerous badger watches. We also have a monthly wildlife book club which is now open to the public.
We’re still adding to our programme for 2017, and are always looking for new ideas. If you have any suggestions, or know of anyone who gives an interesting wildlife talk, do let us know.