February, 2013

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.
  • A Great Escape for children and adults alike - by Laura Harpham, Public Affairs Officer

    I was lucky enough to go to a village school. There were only 6 children in my year and we had two classrooms; one for the Infants and one for the Juniors. We lived in the village down the road and on warm summer days we would walk the two miles to school through the fields. I’m not painting a picture of a Victorian idyll here; I left primary school in 1999. Connection to nature was a part of my daily life; I’ve grown up loving the outdoors and wildlife and I feel I’m happier and healthier for it.


    Eleanor Bentall (rspb-images.com)

    Sadly, children today are increasingly disconnected to nature. However here in the Broads children have fantastic opportunities to get closer to nature through the Field Teaching Scheme at RSPB Strumpshaw Fen.

    Lee Cozens, a Field Teacher at Strumpshaw Fen, tells us about a typical day and why she loves her job.

    “Children make the journey to our reserve just outside Brundall full of anticipation, kitted out for all weathers and slightly nervous about being ‘out in the wilds’. They stumble off the coach and wander, eyes wide, onto the reserve to our base-camp where their day of adventure and exploration begins.    

    Throughout the day, they get to delve around our woodland hunting for secretive minibeasts, they wield nets at the pond to uncover the strange world that lurks beneath the surface, and they roam around our meadow catching insects and marveling at the tiny marshland flowers that grow there.


    Field teaching at Strumpshaw Fen


    Last field teaching season, we added a sleeping grass snake, a darting kingfisher, a swallow tail butterfly and two young otters to our many other wildlife spots. One little lad was chuffed to bits that he had seen a dinosaur! He had been fascinated to find the primeval –looking skeleton of a pheasant out on the meadow. It served as a reminder to us that there is wonder and magic in nature for children that goes beyond the strictly scientific and rational.

    Here at the RSPB, we are keen that more children get to experience the wonder of this special outdoor classroom, so maybe you could show this article to a teacher you know. If you are a teacher reading this piece, please get in touch and see if your class can visit us this year.

    We cover key parts of the curriculum through our programme and schools appreciate our professional approach, but to be honest the real learning that goes on here transcends any formal description. One little boy summed it up for me as he skipped, bright eyed, back to the coach at the end of the day. ‘That was much better than going on the Wii’ he exclaimed. We definitely agree!”

    (For further information ring Lee Cozens on 01603 715191)

    As part of our Great Escape Voucher offer you can claim two-for-one entry for adults and free entry for up to four children at Strumphaw Fen this winter.

    Download and print this voucher to redeem the offer.

  • 75% of the UK is farmed. We want to give recognition to nature's farming heroes with the Nature of Farming Awards

    Here's a blog from Heather about how we work with farmers to make the most of their land for wildlife..

    or you can watch this video to get a glimpse into Wildlife Friendly Farming

  • Why I love Copenhagan

    That’s it – I'm going to to learn Danish. On a sliding scale, how easy do you think that will be? I gave it some thought last night and noted the pros and cons.

    Amongst the pros:

    1)    some Danish words sound remarkably like our own; mor means mum.

    2)    the Danish language seems to have musicality; we say, ‘see you later’, Danes say ‘hi, hi’.

    3)    I did quite well at languages at school.

    Amongst the cons:

    1)    I forgot all my French the instant I didn’t ‘need’ it.

    2)    I’m better at being creative than being methodical. I’m sure you have to be reasonably methodical to learn a new language.

    3)    I know plenty of people that could teach me French, Spanish or German but no one that could teach me Danish.

    So why have I chosen Danish? Ah, well that’s all because of my love of a good Nordic Noir box set. First, I watched all three series of The Killing. The only thing that stopped me actually pretending to be Sarah Lund herself, was the price of one of her famous jumpers. Next came political drama Borgen and my goodness, it’s actually even better than The Killing!

    So, why have I fallen in love particularly with Copenhagen-based dramas? Why not the American series Homeland or Downton Abbey instead?  It’s for Denmark’s dark and brooding cityscapes, the simplicity and elegance of their design, the rumination of the moody Danish characters and of course, the lilting consonance of the language. I can escape to another place when I watch Borgen. A place full of intrigue and mystery and the bleak landscape of a Shakespearean tragedy.

    And I need some sense of escape this month. Because February is the drawn out end to winter when the cold days seem endlessly cold and the trees stand stark on a hibernating horizon. I need to escape stuffy days indoors and central heating and bed socks stuffed in to slippers. I need to feel the air on my skin, watch how the natural world is still turning and moving and cogitating, even though everything can look so still through the kitchen window.

    The RSPB is offering its own escapes this winter. You can download a voucher for two-for-one access to nature reserves, free car parking and optics hire from this blog or at www.facebook.com/rspbintheeast . You’ll find crashing seas, immense sunsets, secretive woodlands, labyrinthine reed beds and wildlife. Wildlife calling and swooping, dabbling, diving, staring-back-at-you and beautiful. The most spine-tingling and thought-provoking kind of escape possible. Wrap up warm and go. 

    A far better idea. Apparently, Danish is one of the hardest languages to learn and a box set costs twenty quid these days.