You will find out about all the exciting stuff going on with the RSPB in the east of the UK. We cover our sites in the following counties: Norfolk, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, and some of our great Lincolnshire ones. So if you are if you have never heard of the Strumpshaws and Snettishams or Stour Estuary or Sutton Fens here is you chance.
Blogger: Gena Correale Wardle, Community Fundraising Officer
I have just returned from the most amazing three week holiday in North America, exploring the North East of the USA and Canada. We took in several man made marvels over the course of our time away but the most incredible parts of our journey were spent amongst breathtaking scenery and miracles of nature. From seeing my first cardinals in my Aunt’s garden bushes in New York to experiencing the might of Niagara Falls, I was blown away with the beauty of North American nature and wildlife.
I would encourage anyone to go to the Laurentians (a bit like Canada’s version of the Alps) for your chance to see golden eagles gliding on the thermals, great blue herons fishing in the clear blue lakes, hear wolves howling in the distance and have butterflies as big as your fist flit by your ear. The views are stunning, they really make you feel glad to be out in the middle of nowhere where the only way to get to the other side of the lake is to row and moor up on a secluded beach.
Even in the cities wildlife abounds - a hummingbird hovered 10ft away from us as we picnicked in the park in Montreal, having a nectar rich lunch before flitting away in the blink of an eye. If you venture down a quiet path in Mont Royal Parc you will probably catch a chipmunk dropping whatever it’s nibbling on before it scuttles off into the undergrowth. Racoons rustle through trash cans, intimidating in their gangs with their bandit-like face masks.
What amazed me the most was when I got home I researched the Birdlife Partners for the countries I’d visited and was shocked to see how low their membership numbers were. For all of Canada’s stunning wildlife and scenery, less than 50,000 people actively support the two Birdlife Partners - Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada. Similarly, despite only touching the surface of what the USA has to offer in terms of national parks, marine life and geological phenomena I was surprised to hear that our equivalent, Audubon, only has 400,000 members.
It made me very grateful that people on our little island, with its relatively modest mountains and quiet seas, are so much more active in their support of the RSPB with well over 1 million members. We may not have scenery as dramatic as Niagara Falls, no mammals as large as moose or dangerous as bears, but we do have huge public support and understanding of the problems threatening our fragile environment. Thank you each and every one of you for supporting us – you make me very proud to be British!
Photos by Gena
Today is my last day working for the RSPB1 before I head off to an even better job2.
Whilst the above sentence is factually accurate, I feel the need to clarify on points 1 and 2.
1) Today I leave as a paid member of staff; however I’m not sure I will ever stop working for the RSPB. I fully intend to keep supporting the conservation work that is done in our beautiful region by this bunch of tenacious, talented and hard working people. I’ll be out there doing my bit to step up; signing petitions, looking after wildlife in my garden, writing to my MP and generally shouting about the importance of nature.
2) There was only one role that could be challenging and significant enough to tear me away from my wonderful job as a comms manager. The pay is non-existent, the working conditions are sometimes inhumane, the clients are stubborn and ruthless but the cuddles are second to none. I’ll be focusing on my two little ones for a couple of years before their childhoods are but a distant memory.
I will shed a secret tear when no one is looking. Thank you to my colleagues for being so inspirational, to all the volunteers who give their valuable time so freely and to all of you who have read my blogs. Keep up the good work!
Blogger: Erica Howe, Communications Officer
...If it was anything like me it was probably moaning a little that the weather wasn't like how I used to remember it was when I was a kid. Do you remember what it was like in those heady care free days/daze?
I can remember the instructions vividly. Don’t cross any main roads and be back before it gets dark. Oh, and be careful!
Two out of the three were always open to interpretation and although I sometimes arrived back at home way after sunset, claiming that it was ‘still light outside’, generally I stuck to the rules.
As a child playing with my friends over the summer holidays, we always had a great deal of fun. It was minimalistic fun. Simple fun. Adventurous fun! We would spend hours and hours riding our bikes on dusty tracks without a care in the world. Breaking occasionally to seek respite in a sun-drenched field, sat amongst daisies, dandelions, butterflies and hoverflies. We taught ourselves how to make daisy chains, how to tell if you liked butter (put a buttercup under your chin and if it glows yellow, you’re clearly a fan!) and simply enjoyed watching nature play out in front of us. There were no computer games, no reality TV shows and no worries. My summer holidays taught me all about the outdoors and they are memories that I will treasure. Summer holidays might be a pain for grown-ups, let’s face it, six weeks is a long time, but there is a wonderful education opportunity for children not to be missed.
I vividly remember our camping trips as a family too. Every summer, we would pack up the car and drive to the coast and spend two amazing weeks under canvas. The moths, the chilly nights, collecting water in jerry cans, the trips to the loo in the middle of the night. I wouldn’t change it for the world. And now, as an adult I want exactly the same things for my children.
There is a condition that we have heard about in recent years called Nature Deficit Disorder. It sounds pretty sciencey, but it’s straight forward. Children today are spending significantly less time outdoors and as a result are suffering. We are certainly living in a fast paced, changing world, but that shouldn’t change how and why we engage with our natural world surely?
The National Trust has recently published a list of the top 50 things you should do before you’re 11 and ¾. I have taken the test and have done at least 30 of them. It scares me that children today won’t have ever made a mud pie, built a den or made a grass trumpet and will never get to have those close encounters with the natural world that I did.
The summer holidays are a great time to get out and explore your local park or woods to see what adventures await. And who knows, you may tick some things of the list.
Check out the list here https://www.50things.org.uk/ and find your local RSPB nature reserve here http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/
Photo credit by Andy Hay (RSPB Images). Article found in Eastern Daily Press on Saturday 18 August 2012.