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RSPB very rarely check membership cards

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Old Thursday 13th July 2017, 15:28   #26
Graham Osborne
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Originally Posted by IAN JAMES THOMPSON View Post
How do you know the RSPB don't lose money. They can pay for there entrance fee or join the RSPB. Why should non-member get free admission where there's a charge.
Ian.
Clearly they shouldn't, but having now had about 7 years' experience as a Hides & Trails volunteer at RSPB Pulborough Brooks, my own perception leads me to believe that this is not a significant problem. Besides, one of the good things about Pulborough Brooks is that Members (or cheating non-Members!) can gain access to the reserve at any time throughout the year other than on Christmas Day, which I think presents another reason to support the RSPB's current approach.
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Old Thursday 13th July 2017, 15:31   #27
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I would expect that any non-members in an RSPB group would be informed by the leader of the group that they would be expected to pay the entry fee when visiting a reserve and that social pressure would do the rest. If not I would expect a forceful, but polite, reminder by the leader of the group would be forthcoming. Hence demanding to see the membership cards of everyone in an RSPB group party is likely to be counter-productive and a waste of time. More widely, the questions to consider are a) how many regularly 'cheat'? b) how many are encouraged to join by a non-confrontational non-officious approach? c) even if some don't pay, is the deficit thus created outweighed by the educational value (in the broadest sense) provided by the visit. My impression, when working or visiting Dungeness RSPB, was that very few people 'try it on' and even if they did then the benefits of the more relaxed and friendly a welcome, which this policy fosters, outweighed any losses. I also feel that regular staff, volunteer or paid, were actually pretty good at spotting non-members and able to address the issue in a non-officious friendly way. The RSPB is very good at analysing such matters and I suspect have a very shrewd idea of the balance sheet in this regard. The downsides to being officious and demanding to see cards are not hard to fathom, the most obvious one being that you can put off staunch supporters. I'm old enough to remember when the RSPB was very officious with visits needing to be booked in advance and you were regularly pounced upon on entry. I have no doubt that part of the reason for the society's growth to become one of the largest organisations of its sort is because of the more liberal and welcoming policy currently in force. To deviate from it would be a huge mistake.
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Old Thursday 13th July 2017, 16:19   #28
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Many reserves have public rights of way which cannot be restricted( the rules for dogs usually indicate where they are). Much of Scotland has public Right to Roam as do parts of England and Wales. Both these make enforcing entry charges tricky .

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Old Thursday 13th July 2017, 16:48   #29
Mike C
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At the last four RSPB reserves I visited (Burton Mere Wetlands, Conwy, Minsmere and Titchwell) membership cards were rigorously checked.
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Old Thursday 13th July 2017, 20:10   #30
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.... Titchwell .. membership cards were rigorously checked.
Really? Isn't the path to the beach along Titchwell's west edge (and past all the hides) a public right of way? I've never been asked for membership there.

Edit: yep, checked on map, it's a public right of way, they can't stop you walking along it. All they'd be able to do is have a staff member (or vol.) in each hide to check cards, and I've not known that happen.

Minsmere I can understand, it's a 'closed' site so they can keep tabs on who goes in our out. Not been to Burton Mere Wetlands or Conwy so no idea.

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Old Thursday 13th July 2017, 20:12   #31
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Last time I went to Titchwell membership cards were left on windscreens in the car park to avoid having to Pay & Display
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Old Thursday 13th July 2017, 21:59   #32
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Dungeness is another place where a public footpath runs through the centre of the reserve rendering rigid checking of membership cards on entry pointless. With regard to Titchwell, I've never been asked to show my membership card which is scarcely surprising given that, as Phil points out, you're asked to leave it in the windscreen (as I recall non-members are expected to pay a parking fee but I don't know how far this is enforced).
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Old Thursday 13th July 2017, 22:32   #33
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Apologies all, bit of a brain fart as said membership cards on dashboard at Titchwell.
BMW and Conwy are closed sites
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Old Friday 14th July 2017, 20:20   #34
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Really? Isn't the path to the beach along Titchwell's west edge (and past all the hides) a public right of way? I've never been asked for membership there.

Edit: yep, checked on map, it's a public right of way, they can't stop you walking along it. All they'd be able to do is have a staff member (or vol.) in each hide to check cards, and I've not known that happen.

Minsmere I can understand, it's a 'closed' site so they can keep tabs on who goes in our out. Not been to Burton Mere Wetlands or Conwy so no idea.
Minsmere is not a closed site you can enter from the beach and from near the island mere hide
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Old Friday 14th July 2017, 20:25   #35
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The other difficulty of course is that most RSPB sites are dawn to dusk , with entry through side gates when staff not present, any policy that meant all cards have to be check would either mean increased costs to staff at this time or more likely reserves closed when staff not present which would annoy this RSPB member a lot!!!!
I also feel that the original posts implies that most people are dishonest or trying to get away with something and I don't think that is true for the majority of people, especially I like to think people who go birding!!
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 00:12   #36
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Minsmere is not a closed site you can enter from the beach and from near the island mere hide
But how long a hike is that from the nearest car parking? Very few people are going to walk a mile or more just to avoid paying.
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 10:50   #37
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But how long a hike is that from the nearest car parking? Very few people are going to walk a mile or more just to avoid paying.
Before Minsmere opened at dawn, it was common for keen birders to park at Westleton and walk south.

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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 12:46   #38
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Congratulations to Ian James Thompson, winner of this month's Bird Forum award for the Biggest Storm in a Teacup Thread.

I mean, seriously, given the work of the RSPB and the issues it faces, is there really any point in this discussion?

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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 15:06   #39
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And that post is just gobildeegook.
Ian.
Only to linear thinkers Ian!

Oh, I love your new spelling, which doubtless will soon appear in the OED.
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 18:12   #40
IAN JAMES THOMPSON
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Congratulations to Ian James Thompson, winner of this month's Bird Forum award for the Biggest Storm in a Teacup Thread.

I mean, seriously, given the work of the RSPB and the issues it faces, is there really any point in this discussion?

Malcolm
Just sarcasm from you. Not very constructive.
Ian.
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 18:13   #41
IAN JAMES THOMPSON
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Only to linear thinkers Ian!

Oh, I love your new spelling, which doubtless will soon appear in the OED.
MJB
If you can just be sarcastic about my spelling. Not very pleasant at all from you at all.
Ian.
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 18:15   #42
IAN JAMES THOMPSON
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The RSPB Community Forum is a far more pleasant place to post on. No sarcasm from anyone like on here. They can at least discuss subjects on that forum without sarcasm from anyone.
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 18:22   #43
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Well I object to the RSPB wasting it's time and money on creating and monitoring an online community forum ...
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 18:24   #44
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Well I object to the RSPB wasting it's time and money on creating and monitoring an online community forum ...
Well at least it's a far more friendly forum than on here. Just because my spelling is not very good. Someone posts a not very nice post about my spelling.
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 18:29   #45
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Okay guys. Let's calm it down please.
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 18:32   #46
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For whatever reason in this threads and many others you have started you seem to view being a (life) member of the RSPB as some form of financial transaction - many people would quite happily be members and never visit a reserve, knowing their shilling is going to preserve habitat and species.
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 18:39   #47
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. Just because my spelling is not very good. Someone posts a not very nice post about my spelling.
So it's okay for you to use the word gobbledygook to describe someone's post (i.e. calling it meaningless or unintelligible), but not nice that someone jokes about your spelling of this word?
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Old Saturday 15th July 2017, 18:42   #48
IAN JAMES THOMPSON
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So it's okay for you to use the word gobbledygook to describe someone's post (i.e. calling it meaningless or unintelligible), but not nice that someone jokes about your spelling of this word?
Why should someone comment about my spelling, they don't know anything about me. I mentioned gobbledygook as someone was just posting a sarcastic post about the thread I started. Not very nice.
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Old Sunday 16th July 2017, 09:19   #49
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I agree with Ian here. There is no need to make any comments directed at him as an individual; it is sufficient to stick to comments and information relating to the original post and its content.

Here Ian, I hope you now have a better understanding of perhaps why the RSPB does not 'police' entry fees quite are forcefully as you seem originally to feel was merited. I do hope you, in the light of this new information, are now reassured that the organisation has thought through their strategy on this topic and come to the right decision. A decision that I hope you can now support.

As has been intimated above, I view my subscription as a 'donation with ancillary benefits', not a 'payment for exclusive entitlements', and suggest you might consider yours in a similar vein.
Happy birding
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Old Sunday 16th July 2017, 10:33   #50
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What is the profile of non-payers? I think most people not interested in birding would just stay away from the reserve (they can have fun in a normal park and pub if they want) unless they want to do something forbidden like make a barbecue in the forest, and then they should be legally dealt with for their recognized crime/felony. Then there would be less wealthy persons who maybe want to have one memorable day. If there is an entrance gate you can just have people selling tickets and checking the member cards. If it is just unfenced wilderness there is probably some local law on trespassing.

As for the group that was not asked to take their membership cards out of their pockets, they were certainly expected as a group: "there will be 20 or so persons who are members of our organization, they will visit our reserve on this particular date, they go everywhere together as one unit, the group includes serious experienced birders. So there turned to be 22 persons instead of 20, ok, the extra two persons are gratis, they are not going to spend more resources than the group of exactly 20."
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