On a recent trip to Norwich we saw a stall promoting the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds). It was attractively laid out with fact files, cuddly hedgehogs, magazines, family activity packs and lots more. Naturally I wandered over that way, quickly followed by the girls and then Chris caught on to where I was heading and joined us.
The girl running the stall was pleasant and friendly and allowed us to browse before coming over to explain what she was there for.
She explained about becoming a member of the RSPB and started to show us the gifts and magazines we could receive if we wished to join up. Sign up fee is unspecified but from a minimum of £5.50 PCM for a family pass (£4 PCM for an individual pass) This would also grant us free unlimited access to more than 170 nature reserves around the UK. There's one not very far from us, Strumpshaw Fen. Plus other local ones.
We decided to sign up, although I must state here that there was definitely no hard sell, in fact the girl was rather apologetic when talking about monies which was a refreshing change (maybe that's her secret technique!) We are always looking for things to do as a family and thought that this would make a pleasant change as well as getting us out in the fresh air and being active.
Once we filled in the paperwork (very simple and straight forward) the girl offered Mollie and Emily the chance to choose a gift each. There were three choices; a Wildlife Explorers' Handbook, a pocket guide to British birds and a stationary pack. The girls opted for the pocket guide and the wildlife explorers' book.
And they were also given the Junior BirdLife magazine (which they will receive quarterly). They will get the same one each which saves arguments in future but on this occasion the girl had a back issue so they have different ones this time to start them off.
We were also given a magazine for us adults (again we will receive one of these quarterly) and the Family Activity Pack which is full of information and activities, all in a handy clip folder. It also has a A5 map of the UK with all the RSPB locations marked and a car sticker.
In addition to this we were given our membership cards with a welcome letter and then had a choice of a gift; either a cuddly hedgehog (who I admit was very cute) a bug house or ....... oh something else but I've forgotten!
We chose the Bug House and the girls are looking forward to putting it in the garden, along with our home made Hedgehog Hotel, inspired by an activity we saw on the RSPB website.
We left with a large paper bag packed with goodies to start us off on our Bird Watching Journey and very much looking forward to our first visit to a reserve.
Check out their website for more information and ideas on activities, its an absolutely packed website too! We noticed that although it's the RSP of BIRDS they are actually equally focussed on wildlife - insects, small animals (hedgehogs etc) and flowers.
Non members can also visit the reserves for just a small fee:
Adults £3.50, concessions: £2.50, children (5-17 years): £1.50. One child per family goes free. Free admission if travelling by train or bus (please show valid travel ticket).
Fees may vary per reserve, these are the fees for Strumpshaw Fen.
We are really looking forward to our first visit and to learning more about birds and wildlife, most importantly we are looking forward to spending family time together.
Why not take a look and perhaps sign up to open up these opportunities for yourselves PLUS support a fantastic charity!