Volunteer Coordinator Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
Tell us a bit about yourself
My background is in teaching, and I've worked with volunteers in different capacities. I was born in Hastings and now live very locally to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, at the western end, so the reserve is the hugest and most wonderful back garden. I've been visiting here since childhood - this was always our happy place, so we moved here. I enjoy the reserve for everything it offers. It's a privilege to live here and I feel a kind of custodianship for future generations. Getting this job means I can now support the volunteers who support the work of Sussex Wildlife Trust. I want to make sure that all our volunteers feel valued.
It's been a family affair really because my husband used to be a volunteer with Barry Yates (Reserve Manager) and Chris Bentley (Reserve Warden). And my stepfather Ken Fellows used to be a Ranger on the reserve a very long time ago. He's not been so well and we brought him here to show him how the reserve looks now as well as the Discovery Centre. We had help from Barry and Chris, who were brilliant. He said his time volunteering here was one of his happiest ever times and how fantastic it feels to have contributed to the development of the reserve as such a conservation and community hub.
And your role at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve?
It's much bigger than it looks on paper! It's 17.5 hours per week and I usually work Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays, although I’m happy to be flexible as the role requires.
The Trust has incredibly skilled people volunteering here. It's a bit of matchmaking role between what people are good at and want to do, their niche if you like, and the needs of the reserve. I want to listen to the experience of our older volunteers and be approachable for our new ones. There is a lot of wisdom we can learn from our volunteers.
You learn so much about wildlife by just being around people here - there is so much knowledge.
What do you love about the area?
It's never static, there's always something going on and it's a constantly changing landscape. Not only across the seasons, but also with the weather or the time of day. Suddenly you'll see something you didn't anticipate, a spectacle of birds at lunchtime, or a rare sighting.
Tell us about the volunteers you've got and need
We've got over a hundred volunteers in different roles, in the Discovery Centre (welcome volunteers and café helpers), conservation tasks on the reserve, in the hides showing visitors what they're seeing, walk leaders, helping with our regular groups, as well as the many, varied events we put on here.
But we still need more! We'd welcome anyone getting in touch who thinks they might be able to help out.
If you're interested in finding out more, please get in touch by email [email protected] or phone 07485 906 003.
This post is also available on Sussex Wildlife Trust website