RSPB celebrates 100 years in Wales

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This year the RSPB celebrates100 years of working in Wales and has come a long way since its humble beginnings.

The charity's work protecting birds, wildlife and habitats in Wales started in 1911 with a Mr and Mrs Jones carrying out a small project to look after roseate terns on the island of Llanddwyn, off the coast of Anglesey in North Wales.

Llanddwyn Island on Anglesey. Image courtesy of the RSPB.

In 1948 RSPB bought it's first nature reserve - Grassholm Island, to protect the third largest gannet colony in the UK.

RSPB Cymru now manages 18 nature reserves, covering nearly 17,000 hectares and has already helped save a number of birds such as the red kite, chough and black grouse here in Wales.

In 2004, the magnificent osprey nested in Wales for the first time in recorded history, sparking the beginning of the RSPB Glaslyn Osprey Project near Porthmadog.

The Glaslyn osprey pair has now successfully raised 15 chicks and last year the site attracted almost 35,000 visitors.

RSPB now employs 150 staff members and has over 800 volunteers; attracting over 300,000 visitors and tourists every year to its nature reserves which also offer environmental education experiences to over 9,000 children every year.

Aerial view of the gannetry at the RSPB Grassholm nature reserve. Image by John Archer-Thompson, RSPB Images.

RSPB Cymru Director, Katie-Jo Luxton, says: "RSPB Cymru's centenary year is something for us to really celebrate as it marks various milestones in conservation in Wales and shows what a difference we've made."

"Through our increasing number of nature reserves, we're helping more and more people to enjoy the wildlife of Wales and giving them first hand experiences."

"One of the key species that urgently needs our help and we will be fundraising money towards as part of our centenary celebrations, is the curlew."

"An RSPB Cymru survey in 2006 showed a decline of 81% in curlew breeding numbers in Wales. It is believed this large wading bird is suffering because much of its habitat has been degraded."

A curlew coming in to land in the River Dee by Ashley Cohen.

To help celebrate the centenary, RSPB Cymru has also formed a partnership with Girl Guiding Cymru and as part of this, the girls will help survey birds across Wales by taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch and Volunteer Famer Alliance project.

Every Girl Guide in Wales, including Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, leaders and members of the Trefoil Guild, will also spend a day at one of RSPB Cymru's nature reserves, learning about nature and taking part in different activities.

To find out more about RSPB Cymru's centenary celebrations please visit www.rspb.org.uk/wales/centenary.

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