July, 2011

Our work

Our work
You might be surprised to read that our work is far broader than nature reserves and Big Garden Birdwatch. Read more about what else we do.

Bugs, Birds and Beasts in the East

All of our up to date fun and frolics in the East from office antics to great conservation stories and those magical connections with nature.
  • Charlotte's Summer Top Tips: The only way is Essex

    Blogger: Charlotte Pledger, Youth, Education and Families Officer

    Charlotte, our expert on all things to do with families and kids, is taking an intrepid wander around the East to see what great things you can do this summer. The Summer of 2011 - let's make it a good one (regardless of the weather).

    Tuesday was one of those days when I thought I have the best job in the world. I spent the day down in the RSPB’s Discovery Zone at Wat Tyler investigating the wonderful summer holiday family events on offer. And what a great range of activities there were (and are planned for the rest of the long summer holiday). From T-shirt printing and badge making to bug hunts and nature trails, there was something for everyone. Despite it being a rather cool and overcast day, well over 100 people visited.

    One of the most wonderful sights of the day was seeing children, their parents and grandparents skipping about in the long grass with sweep nets, catching an array of weird and wonderful bugs, then gazing in awe at the close up views of the alien-like crickets and grasshoppers, before releasing them into the ‘wild’ again.


    These are all run by a fantastically dedicated team of staff and volunteers, all of whom engage with the public in a really positive way, encouraging then to come back for future events and of course, sign up as members! Two of the young volunteers (conservationists of the future I am sure) helping with this event used their initiative and asked to go round the park itself to hand out leaflets to families, several of which then came over to participate in the activities that day. Let’s hope more people are inspired to come along throughout the summer.

    So, if you find yourself down in South Essex this summer, then make sure you pop into one of their fabulous events. For more details, click here The RSPB: South Essex Marshes Visitor Centre: Events.

    I’m now looking forward to travelling around the superb Eastern region, visiting Titchwell, Minsmere, Fen Drayton, Frampton and The Lodge over the next few weeks, where I am promised pond dipping (my favourite), lots of art and craft activities and of course, getting families involved in the work of the RSPB in the East.

    Photo Credit: Speckled Bush-cricket. Jodie Randall (rspb-images.com)

  • Where have all the fish gone?

    Blogger: Adam Murray, Communications Officer


    I have always had it drummed into me that when I have my fish and chips at the beach that I should not go for haddock and cod. Someone once told me that they are just as endangered as chimpanzees – and for those that know my affinity for primates this has always disturbed me. However, as I have said it is always good to assume nothing. So I have been having a look around the web and came across our good friends at the Marine Conservation Society. They have a great website that tells you all about the best tasty fish to put on your plate www.goodfishguide.co.uk/ Digging deeper, and trying to look into the ecosystem approach to conservation, it is more and more apparent that the issue doesn’t just stop with fish. Even though birds are mobile, just as mobile as fish I should point out, they still need to be brought into the equation. Luckily, this is being considered as you can see from the following extract from an MCS report:  http://www.mcsuk.org/downloads/fisheries/Joint_position_doc_CFP.pdf

    The UK based NGOs WWF, Greenpeace, the RSPB, the Marine Conservation  Society (MCS), ClientEarth, NEF (the new economics foundation) and OCEAN2012 – a broad alliance of organisations, including development and environment  organisations, divers, commercial and recreational fisher organisations as well as research institutions and aquariums – seek to promote a reformed Common  Fisheries Policy (CFP) which is built on the following guiding principles. The reformed CFP must:

    Prioritise ecological sustainability:

    The CFP must give clear legal primacy to the principle of ecological sustainability, so that Europe can meet both its environmental commitments and its social and economic objectives in the long term.

    Be integrated with other European marine and environmental policies, in particular the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the Habitats and Birds Directives and the Water Framework Directive:

    In order to do so the CFP should incorporate clear commitments to meeting MSFD objectives and tools that allow the proper management of fishery resources taking into account the marine, and, where relevant, aquatic or terrestrial ecosystems. These will include the creation of Marine Protected Areas and Marine Reserves which should be incorporated into the fisheries management strategies.

    Require the application of the ecosystem approach to fisheries management in all fisheries management scenarios/contexts:

    In practical terms, it should require Member States to take into account multi-species interactions and minimise the impacts of fishing on wider ecosystem functions and conditions. This must include any habitat degradation and mortality of non-target species (other fish species, birds, marine turtles, etc.). Management measures should be taken in the context of fisheries level long-term management plans that take account of the MSFD requirements to co-ordinate strategic management of European marine regions.

    Next time you are eating your fish and chips by the seaside this summer and are inspired to find out more about this area of conservation take a look here.

    Photo Credit: Adam Murray

  • The owner of chewing gum tentacles and alimentary protuberance goes to...

    Blogger: Aggie Rothon, Communications Officer

    It was my birthday in the week and I had an unexpectedly marvellous day. I was taking the dog for a walk around the footpaths of Worstead. As we neared the end of our route we ambled past a girl pruning the hedge of a neat cottage. It was raining but still a goat gambled happily in the garden. Fantastically the girl turned out to be a friend that I had regrettably lost touch with five years earlier. We spent the rest of the morning drinking tea and catching up.

    With animals a big part of her world, it was great to meet her menagerie of goats, cats, fish and geckos. Most intriguing however was the sea anemone I caught sight of floating happily  near the back of the fish tank.

    A glossy black ball about the size of a child’s clenched fist sends out malleable chewing-gum tentacles that drift on the small tide of the tank. From its centre juts a neon orange stalk (my friend says she is unsure whether it is an eye or an alimentary protuberance.) From time to time the anemone spurts out great showers of gravel, the remnants of its feasting on invisible watery organisms.

    It is a bizarre creature and left me amazed at the sheer variety and eccentricity of the natural world. That our coast is full of creatures similar to these fills me with delight. That’s what I find so fascinating about the seas. They are great billowing, wild unknowns full to the brim of things that we don’t even know are there. 230,000 sea creatures are known to science but there are three times as many that we don’t know about. In fact, the grand total could surpass over one million species. We can only begin to imagine what it must be like to drift endlessly on salty sea winds as our seabirds do, or creep in the dark depths of metres of water. Even the strange and onomatopoeic words ‘mollusc’ and ‘crustacean’ are enough to send the imaginative mind into spirals.

    So isn’t it grim, that without even knowing what wonderful, life enriching living things are out there right now, scurrying and slithering and creeping and eking an existence in and beyond our shorelines, that we are gradually destroying our seas. Over fishing, offshore developments and pollution have all helped to start destroying what the natural world has given us. With less than 0.001% of the UK’s seas fully protected from these damaging activities it doesn’t look like the situation will improve.

    This is where we can all step in and step up for nature. Support our campaign to ensure that more sea life is fully protected. Go to http://bit.ly/l7x2v1  and sign our pledge.

    Photo Credit: Carolyn Merrett (rspb-images.com)

    Article in Eastern Daily Press on Saturday 23 July 2011.