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Ian Baker

Ian Baker works as a rural surveyor for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), one of the largest charities in Europe concerned with wildlife conservation.

Why do I work for a charity? I am sure most people have a point in their lives when they would prefer to do something to improve the world in which they live. You may be already thinking that! It could involve charitable work for people and health, animal welfare, buildings or wildlife. Often people will initially think if becoming involved as a volunteer, but why not consider being part of a charity’s full time paid staff? Working for a nature conservation charity allows me to be challenged by the usual work of a rural surveyor, dealing with farmers and land management, but at the same time knowing that I am making the land the RSPB manages a better place for wildlife and improving the natural environment; this gives me huge job satisfaction. Working for a charity does not mean that we are not good managers or cut corners: we just see life in a slightly different way by problem solving and achieving best value for the least outlay! We aim for continuing good relationships with those we deal with. Being part of a subscription organization, I know that my efforts are not only appreciated by my managers, but also by the RSPB members and the many visitors to the nature reserves.

As surveyors, my team buys, leases and manages land for nature reserves, often in complicated deals with public companies and local authorities. So we may create a nature reserve out of a former gravel pit and then construct a visitor centre or viewing facilities to allow people to appreciate the wildlife better. As you might expect, the RSPB has a strong greening commitment and we are actively involved in the reduction of our corporate carbon footprint with the use of renewable and sustainable energy – we have started projects to install solar panels across our reserves, for example.

It is not all work! One of the benefits of my job is that I see some fantastic areas of the countryside and some amazing wildlife. The enthusiasm of my work mates for the natural world continually inspires me as we try to protect what we have or create new areas for wildlife to flourish.

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