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Look where volunteering can take you - 10 Downing Street

My name is Dominik Reynolds. I am 14 years old. I have been volunteering for six years now with the RSPB. Back at the start of it all, I had no idea what experiences and wonderful opportunities would land at my feet as the years went by. But my dedication has rewarded me with some once in a lifetime moments.

Dominik Reynolds chick New Forest Volunteer Fair 1I volunteer at the New Forest Reptile Centre near Lyndhurst, usually once every other weekend from April to September, on the RSPB’s ‘Date with Nature’ project. I show visitors around the centre and the reptile pods, sharing my knowledge of our native reptile species. I tell them about our live webcam feed, which we have on big screens in the RSPB hut on the site. The camera is focused on a Goshawk nest and can be watched live online too.

I also show visitors the models of ground nesting birds and the Goshawk, and educate them about these wonderful birds. I really enjoy delving into the diverse contents of the nature basket with the visitors and answer any questions they may have. This contains everything from deer antlers to snake skin and models of all the native reptiles and amphibians we have in the pods.

My favourite thing about my volunteering is meeting so many new and vastly different people - being  satisfied that they have learnt something new and that I’ve inspired them about the wonderful animals the Forest is home to.

The volunteering experience is made far more enjoyable by the fellow volunteers at the Reptile Centre, and the voluntary Forest Rangers, who work tirelessly to keep places of interest, as well as the Reptile Centre, up and running. Working with them has taught me much of what I know and it is great to form close friendships and have lots of fun and laughter with all the volunteers. Dominik Reynolds 10 Downing Street New Forest Volunteer Fair

My volunteering has led to me being asked to do some amazing things. I was chosen to represent the RSPB at 10 Downing Street, where I handed in the Letter to the Future campaign. I have also spoken at many conferences with an audience of some quite high up people.

I have been around the south coast taking part in radio interviews about the work of the RSPB and about volunteering for them and have written articles for magazines such as Involve, for RSPB volunteers. Also, I have been Goshawk chick ringing with Forest Rangers - even to the nest we have the live webcam on! 

I would recommend volunteering to anyone who has a little, or a lot, of time to give to a charity or organisation of their interest. It is also a fantastic way of gaining experience with a view to future job choices.

I have gained so much knowledge, experience, confidence and made many valued friendships in the past six years, and I plan to remain a volunteer for many more.   

Find out how you can volunteer for ‘Date with Nature’ at the New Forest Reptile Centre, or other wildlife and conservation projects at the New Forest Volunteer Fair on Saturday, January 31, at Lyndhurst Community Centre. Find out more at

Date with Nauture is a partnership project with the RSPB, Forestry Commission, New Forest National Park Authority and Carnyx Films. 

This entry was posted by Communications on Thursday 29/01/2015


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