June, 2012

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.
  • They don't call us the Royal Society for nothing

    Blogger: Adam Murray, Communications Officer

    I was in two minds about blogging something for the jubilee weekend because if your family is anything like mine you have staunch republicans (like my Dad) and then memories of my granddad standing and saluting at the Queen and the national anthem.

    Then I thought regardless of the fact that the “R” in RSPB shows our historic connections to Liz & Phil, we all like a good ol’ knees up. Even my Dad will no doubt join my Mum in dusting off the bunting and enjoy a tipple of Pimms and a sausage roll.

    So I could talk about what makes us British, our peculiarities as a nation (just read a bit of Bill Bryson for this) – then I thought when was the last time we had a big royal party as a nation. Ignoring, the Kate and Will affair, I would go right back to 1977. The year of the Silver Jubilee!

    What were you doing in June 1977? Well I was the size of a prawn* in my Mum’s tummy, my good lady wife was a few months old – already sporting some fabilicious corduroy, and the nation was in economical turmoil, with civil unrest and an anti-establishment vibe in the air. Sound familiar?

    Also the RSPB had taken over the reserves Lake Vyrnwy and Fowlmere – a stunning site historically used by the watercress industry with it’s crystal clear waters. The plight of the house sparrow began, with dropping population numbers (71% decline between 1977 and 2008). The RSPB Film Unit were filming David Bellamy with heathland species such as the rare Dartford Warbler who had suffered in the 1976 drought.

    A lot has changed in 35 years but we will still be taking part in street parties, the Union flag flying high, jelly and ice cream guzzled in large volumes and people coming together as a nation, putting their differences to one side.

    This is what we need happen for the next 35 years. I will be 69 years old, my son will be 36 and I am hoping that we can all come together as a nation and we will have halted the decline in biodiversity and have a world richer in wildlife. Watch this space and have a great four day weekend.

     

     

  • We could be heroes ...

    Blogger: Kate Blincoe - Communications Manager

    Slugs keep eating my sunflowers, weeds grow as fast as I can pull them, and watering my thirsty sweet peas keeps emptying my water butt. After an hour or two of gardening, it is definitely time for a sit down and a glass of wine.

    Making my handkerchief-sized patch into a pleasant place for my family and a haven for wildlife can be a labour of love at times. Blending the needs of people with those of nature is always a balancing act. Of course, it is all worth it when the bees buzz happily round, the children whiz down the slide and the baby starlings squawk happily in the birdbath.

    As I sit back with my glass of Merlot, the light starting to fade, I can often still hear the nearby hum of a tractor working into the evening. Looking after my tiny garden is put into perspective by the scale of work carried out by our nation’s farmers, putting food on our plates and acting as custodians of our countryside.

    Thanks to agri-environment schemes, food production is increasingly carried out alongside farming for wildlife. This leads to benefits for farmland birds and the patchwork landscape which we all celebrate as truly British. Nevertheless, the hard, ongoing work farmers do to maintain our countryside is often overlooked as we rush by in our cars. Even in a rural county like Norfolk, we have become increasingly cut off from our farming heritage. Many young children don’t know that beef comes from cows or lamb really is those fluffy leaping creatures we coo at in springtime.

    Open Farm Sunday on 17 June aims to celebrate all things farming and give us the opportunity to get out into the countryside and discover the living, vibrant landscape on our doorsteps. You’ll get a chance to listen to the birds, soak up the scenery and experience the sights, sounds (and smells!) of a real farmyard.

    Each event is unique with its own activities, all based around the farm’s own individual story. Activities during the day may include a nature trail, tractor and trailer rides, pond dipping, a mini farmers market or picnics. For more info and to find a farm near you look at www.farmsunday.org.

    Farmers are our heroes and we want to celebrate their work for wildlife. We’ve joined forces with The Telegraph, Plantlife and Butterfly Conservation for the 2012 Nature of Farming Awards, to look for the top farms for wildlife across the UK. We’re looking forward to sharing the regional shortlist with you and raising a glass to our local farmers.

  • On yer bike mate AKA The life and times of Adam & his E.T

    Blogger: Adam Murray, Communications Officer

    I am a 70s baby, early 80s child (as the song goes) and I am getting very nostalgic at the moment what with reminiscing about the 1977 Silver Jubilee and collecting Ebay He-man and Ghostbusters figures for my 18 month old son. I am also looking into buying him his first tricycle and it took me back to 1983 and the struggles of learning to ride my bike (with stabilisers), my younger brother having to show me how to do it (the E.T in the front basket didn’t do the job).

    I do like a good coincidence and with all this reminiscing about pedal power, would you believe it but next week is National Bike Week. Call it serendipity or a good excuse for a kick up the bum but I think it is time for me to buy a new bike. When you start looking at all the bicycle options out there it can be a bit bemusing - just look at some of the ones I found:

    With keen triathlete folk in our office with very definite opinions on pretty looking bikes like my fave beach cruisers and single speeds there is a lot of pressure to make the right decision. Or then again I may be putting off digging into my pocket, spending the money or even more likely the thought of doing some more strenuous exercise. So thank you oh great cycling gods who have brought us National Bike Week, you have given me an excuse to buy the bike and get out there into the glorious countryside of the East (at least it is only slightly undulating).

    Even more fortuitous is that my dear colleagues Gena and Steve are organising the Suffolk Coast Bike ride on Sunday 5 August 2012. Easily enough time for me to get my legs in gear and then spend a summer's day with friends and family cycling in some of the most stunning scenery eastern England has to offer. The ride will takes us past heathland blooming with purple heather, through country lanes teeming with wildlife, ancient woodland and along a coastline that will simply take our breath away.

      

    Fancy joining us? Whether you regularly wear Lycra or more of a lazy-day-potter-type biker then dust off your bike (whatever style it is) and come along. But before we set off, we have the opportunity to raise sponsorship to help protect the fragile landscape and wildlife that makes the Suffolk coast such a special place. There’s no minimum amount but the more generous your sponsors are, the more good conservation work we can do.

    If I can do it (I fainted the last time I went for a bike ride) then anyone can. So for the love of the bicycle, the memory of me and my E.T. in the 1980s, and the East of England, join us.

     

    Entry details

    Adult entry is £17, children £8. Team entry (6 or more) is £16 per person. This fee covers only the cost of the ride - so please raise additional sponsorship! It will help us to continue our important conservation work.

    To book your place and to receive a sponsorship pack, visit the bike events website or contact Gena using the details below.

    The ride (35 or 60 mile routes)

    Start times: between 8 am and 10 am at a time to suit you.

    The start and finish is at the elegant Glemham Hall with both short and long routes heading north before splitting at Sibton. The short route then swings east to Dunwich, while the longer continues north to Covehithe.

    Following the coast south through Southwold and visiting our Minsmere nature reserve, the long route rejoins the short at Dunwich to finish at Glemham Hall.

    Throughout the day there will be special RSPB activities to entertain families and friends who are there to support you at the race. There will also be live music and an Adnams beer tent for thirsty riders and spectators!

    Further information

    Gena Correale-Wardle
    Community Fundraising Officer
    Email:
    bike.suffolk@rspb.org.uk

    Phone: 01603 697521