Volunteering with RSPB Scotland
I started at RSPB Scotland in Edinburgh as their Publications and Media Intern in April 2012. I was finishing my degree in Environmental Science and Film and Media and saw it as the ideal bridge between leaving university and entering the world of work.
I also saw that giving my time to the RSPB would be a brilliant way to support the important work that the organisation does to protect the environment. From dolphin watching in the Moray Firth to seeing badgers frolicking in Muiravonside, I have grown up enjoying natural environments and want others to be able to share these experiences. By volunteering with RSPB Scotland it meant that I could share this enthusiasm and concern for nature and wildlife with others.
I worked in their office at Edinburgh Park (next to the Gyle) for two days a week and worked with communication channels between the three departments of Youth and Education, Volunteering and Media and Communications. I worked on a variety of different projects, some more familiar to me than others. I helped Elana from Youth and Education, to develop the RSPB pages for the Scottish schools Intranet, Glow. It was difficult at times, as Glow is a format I was not previously familiar, however, it meant that I learned new skills on the job and very soon, Youth and Education had a Glow account through which teachers and pupils can learn more about the RSPB’s work and how they can get involved.
I also helped Jen from Volunteering put together the latest edition of the Scottish volunteering newsletter – Involve. I enjoyed the process of tracking down articles and gradually developing the format of the newsletter so, eventually, it looked like a proper publication.
In addition to learning new skills with the above and other ongoing tasks, it has been insightful to see how a large organisation such as the RSPB works in order to effectively achieve their aims.
One of the most positive aspects of volunteering for RSPB Scotland in this capacity is that it has been a two-way relationship. While I feel that I have developed many useful skills, I also feel like I have been helpful to the departments I have been working with. It is these aspects that have made volunteering with the RSPB a very fulfilling experience.
Now that I have finished the internship, I am looking for jobs in public relations or similar as I have enjoyed the work that I have done for the RSPB and feel that I have learned skills that will allow me to apply in this area of work.
I would really recommend volunteering with RSPB Scotland to anyone who wants to develop potential workplace skills and you will also be helping nature by doing so. Although I started with a good understanding of wildlife, for many volunteering roles you don’t need to know anything about it so don’t let that put you off. Check out their volunteering opportunities and see if something takes your fancy!