Residential Volunteer - Old Hall Marshes & Minsmere


Suffolk and Essex

Volunteer • Full Time

Sectors: conservation & wildlife

Closing date: Wednesday, 31st July 2024  

Why we want you

We are looking for individuals to join our Residential Volunteer programme starting in September 2024. We have 6 month positions at Old Hall Marshes and Minsmere reserves. Accommodation including household bills will be provided free of charge.

Old Hall Marshes and Minsmere are internationally important sites hosting a wealth of wildlife in varied habitats. We want you to be involved in all aspects of reserve management and to play a part in improving how the reserves are managed for the diverse range of wildlife they support.

What’s in it for you?

The reserve work programme will provide a wide range of opportunities for you to develop your knowledge and skills in conservation. You will gain experience of working on a range of habitats that may include ancient grazing marsh, reedbed, woodland, heathland, saline lagoon and estuarine habitats. The work is very varied and will allow you to gain a wealth of experience necessary for pursuing a career in nature conservation. The placement may include the following:

  • Practical management of reedbed habitats and learning how to improve reedbeds for key species
  • Removing trees and scrub from heathland to improve the habitat for nesting birds and various invertebrates
  • Managing scrub and hedgerows to benefit birds such as Turtle doves and Nightingales
  • Practical management of wet grassland to benefit a range of species
  • Conducting bird surveys such as WeBS and Harrier roost counts and salinity and water level monitoring
  • Training in and use of GIS software to produce maps and input biological data
  • Attending formal accredited training as required by the role
  • Use and maintenance of a range of machinery
  • Learning about key reserve management topics such as cross compliance, agri-environment schemes, hydrology and management planning
  • Monitoring predators of wet grassland birds by conducting surveys, checking trail cameras and mink rafts
  • Gaining experience of working with livestock by checking Konik ponies.
  • Working as part of team to complete practical estate work such as fencing

Please note some of these opportunities are dependant on the reserve which you will be based, this will be discussed during the interviews.

Career development

We will support your career development by creating a Personal Development Plan and by helping you with application writing and career coaching through regular one to one meetings. These will be conducted by RSPB staff with knowledge of what you need to do to get a career in conservation. Many previous volunteers have been successful in gaining paid employment with the RSPB and other conservation organisations.

RSPB Residential Volunteering Scheme

There is no charge to take part in the scheme. It is your responsibility to cover the cost of your transport to and from the reserve, and to provide and cover the cost of your food during your stay. The RSPB will provide accommodation, together with basic services, free of charge for the period you are volunteering, and cover any expenses incurred as a necessary part of your work on the reserve.


Accommodation is provided free of charge on, or very close to the reserves. The accommodation has electricity, broadband, central heating and shower/bath. Bedding can be provided if required. There is a TV, DVD player, washing machine, iron, cooker, microwave, fridge and freezer. The reserves are quite isolated so your own car would be useful but not essential. Bicycles are also available to use. For both locations, local facilities include a variety of shops including corner shop, post office, bakers, butchers and doctors (approximately 1.5 miles for each reserve). The nearest supermarkets are located about 5 miles away.

The skills you need

This is a voluntary position. We are seeking individuals who have the energy, enthusiasm and desire to succeed in a career in conservation. No previous experience is necessary, but a degree in a conservation or related area is desirable and a knowledge of wildlife is useful. You must be prepared to undertake physical work outside in all weathers. You must be over 18. You must be entitled to live and work in the UK. You must have a full clean driving licence. Applications from people who do not have a driving licence will not be accepted.

Your time

Minimum commitment: 6 months Duration: 6 months

Period: From Mid-September 2024 to March 2025

How to apply

To apply or ask questions about the role please click the buttons on the right hand-side of this page.

The online application form has a question in the About you section asking why you have applied for the role. Please complete this like you would a covering letter, for example letting us know a bit about you and why you would make a good candidate. If you would rather send an electronic cover letter please email it to [email protected].

Deadline for applications is 31st July 2024. Interviews will be held week commencing 12th August 2024.

Find out more & apply