The TitchwellTicklist, November 17, 2015

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In a world where volunteers are becoming ever more crucial it is encouraging to learn that young people still enjoy the experience of giving their time to conserve nature. Recently RSPB Titchwell Marsh has welcomed two young residential volunteers for a 6 month stay on the reserve.

Harriet O’Shea, born in South Wales and then moving to Dorset left the University of Aberystwyth with a BSc in Countryside Management and Conservation. Harriet is a martial arts enthusiast and, following her qualifications in this sport, has been running her own school in Wales for the last 2 years.

Harriet says: “I’ve always held a fascination for nature, probably starting when my mum took me for long walks at a young age. She would distract me from my aching legs by pointing out all the amazing wildlife around us.

“I’ve heard so many fantastic things abut RSPB Titchwell Marsh and as I was moving to Norfolk it seemed a great opportunity to gain experience by working on the reserve and I am so pleased I gained a long term placement with the RSPB at Titchwell Marsh.

“I get lots of birdwatching, too!”

Harriet’s role at Titchwell Marsh includes practical management over the winter months beginning with cutting down the reedbeds and general area site management as well as improving bird identification skills, learning from all the experienced staff and volunteers working at Titchwell Marsh.

Harriet continues: “My particular interest is the Agri-Environment and I’m hoping to enter this sector when I’ve had a bit more practical experience here at Titchwell Marsh.”

Alex Parton joins Harriet as the second young residential volunteer at RSPB Titchwell. He was born just outside Cologne in Germany living on RAF bases.

Moving back to Peterborough Alex recently finished school and has enjoyed bird watching since he was very young, encouraged by family members. He adds tennis and football as his other interests. He will begin his degree course in International Relations next year.

Alex said: “To pursue my interest in birding, I have volunteered before for the RSPB to gain experience in practical conservation.

“When deciding where to volunteer again during my GAP year, my love of Norfolk wildlife steered me towards RSPB Titchwell.”

Although only a volunteer for a month, Alex has already got down to work on the reedbeds, general area management and also has the chance to follow his interest in birding as he walks around the reserve. He will take his experiences to whatever career path he chooses to follow.

Paul Roney, Visitor Operations Manager at RSPB Titchwell Marsh, said: “We encourage the teamwork of staff and volunteers across the full range of its activities.

“Our volunteers make an invaluable contribution to our work helping to stretch our scarce resources and keeps us firmly in touch with the grass roots.

“Volunteering is a fun and easy way to explore your interests and passions. Doing volunteer work you find meaningful and interesting provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life.

To find out more about volunteering at Titchwell Marsh, you can contact Paul Roney on 01485 210779 or email him via