GREENFIELD man James Minchin has been honoured for his wildlife conservation work at Dovestone with a prestigious volunteering award.
James, 27, has volunteered for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds at the Greenfield beauty spot since 2014, donating hundreds of hours to nature conservation.
He has now received the RSPB’s ‘President’s Award’ given to only six out of 12,000 RSPB volunteers every year.
James works alongside site wardens and other volunteers planting trees and sphagnum moss.
Both are vital tasks in restoring the moor for wildlife, improving water quality, capturing carbon to combat the climate emergency, and making the site wetter and more resilient to fire.
Wildlife monitoring and surveys are part of his work too, particularly butterflies, bumblebees and moorland wading birds.
James also helps cut fire breaks on the edge of the moor. He was a crucial member of the team involved in supporting the Greater Manchester fire service last year, helping to tackle the large fire which hit part of the land that the RSPB manages.
“I have always loved wildlife and the environment and know that it is under a lot of pressure,” said James.
“So, it is great to be able to help the RSPB in the excellent work they do for nature conservation at Dovestone.
“I am not alone in this though as I volunteer alongside other fantastic local people.”
Kate Hanley, RSPB Site Manager at Dovestone said: “James’s hard work and dedication at Dovestone, turning up and giving 100 percent in all weathers means it couldn’t have gone to a more worthy recipient.
“As a wildlife expert, he also does a great job helping the public to enjoy the wild spaces at Dovestone, works on guided walk events, picks litter, produces interpretation and social media posts, and helps in the office.
“James is a very special individual, but each and every one of our volunteers is important to the work that we do here.
“Their combined efforts have contributed an incredible 46,000 hours in the last 10 years, making a huge difference to our conservation work at Dovestone.”
Philip Kersh, from the Life for a Life Memorial Forest at Dovestone added: “It is rare to find people with the dedication and passion that James has shown looking after and helping to improve Dovestone.
“This couldn’t have been shown more clearly during the fires last year – from talking to visitors and collecting litter in the evenings with me to manning the gate so the emergency services could get through. It’s a well-deserved award.”