June, 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.
  • We all need food, water and shelter

    Blogger: Sarah Green, Project Coordinator - Natura People Partnership Project

    We are delighted to welcome George East as Minsmere’s newest corporate member.  Based just 4 miles away in Leiston, George East import and distribute a wide range of houseware, cleaning and personal care and hair care products.  One of their key lines is the Tala cooking range, where you can buy all sorts of traditionally made products so you can ice, bake, spice and preserve to your heart’s content, just like your grandparents used to do.

    So how does this help nature?

    Well, we all know the value of a good home.  Having a warm, friendly place to sleep, to cook, to eat and to socialise makes us feel happy and secure.  In a good home our health thrives and our kids blossom.

    Nature is no different.

    Hopefully you will have seen the State of Nature report, published on May 22, highlighting the plight of Britain’s wildlife.  The shocking decline in species shown by this study can be reversed, but only if communities work together to give nature a home.  We need to provide a clean habitat, good food and a healthy environment so that species can breed and their young survive.

    Partnerships with businesses like George East help us do this.  When more businesses commit to giving nature a home, whether that’s through putting up a feeding station (as George East have done), providing nestboxes or planting wildlife friendly flowers, or by supporting conservation groups like the RSPB, we move one step closer to reversing the decline or the UK’s wildlife.

    Credit: John Bridges (rspb-images.com)

    Thank you George East for your support in giving nature a home!

    To find out more about our corporate membership package please visit this page.

    Follow the Tala cooking range on twitter, facebook and pinterest.


    Credit line | Grahame Madge (rspb-images.com)

  • A change could do you good

    Blogger: Jane Warren, Green Team member

    Can you imagine cycling for nearly 5 hours over 91 miles to get to work in the morning? Our colleagues Mark and Jen Smart not only dreamed up the idea, but actually completed this epic journey last Wednesday. Their feat was part of Samsung Bike Week, which ran from 15 to 23 June. It is one of the UK’s biggest cycling events, encouraging over half a million people to join in, rethink their everyday journeys and switch to cycling as the most convenient way to get around. The event is a great way to highlight the benefits of cycling, both on a personal level for health and well being, but also for wider environmental reasons.

    At the beginning of the week, I asked Mark why he and Jen had decided to cycle from Norwich to the RSPB’s headquarters at The Lodge in Sandy, Bedfordshire. He admitted that he had recently been asking himself the same question. He explained:

    “Both Jen and myself took up cycling about two years ago and since then it has pretty much taken over our free time. We both race at various Eastern England based events, and are both very involved with our local cycling club, Velo Club Norwich. We are always keen to promote cycling in all of its aspect and this is just another great way of doing that within the RSPB. If it gives one or two more people the inspiration to start riding themselves, it will be worth it.

    “There are of course the normal reasons for starting to cycle – health and fitness (let’s just say that there is less of both Jen and I than when we started cycling), greening and so on, which are all hugely important. But I think mostly for me it is the enjoyment of riding, the physical and emotional challenge of keeping those wheels turning whether it be on hills, wind or in rain, and the camaraderie that you have as a cyclist that keeps me going. Not forgetting, of course, the breakfast when we arrive at the Lodge...”

    So, how did it go? Essentially their day started at 2.30 am, and they were on the road by about 3.30 am. Mark takes up the story: “When we set off, it was still dark with no wind – the cyclist’s worst enemy – and nicely warm at about 15 degrees, so we did not have to carry too many clothes. Overall the ride went well and by 7.30 am we were in Cambridge drinking a cup of coffee, waiting for our colleague Stephan to join us for the last part of the ride. Our average speed over the first 70 or so miles was about 17.5 mph, not too bad for that distance.

    “After we picked up Stephan, the paced increased! Whenever you get three strong cyclists together this always happens. By the time we reached HQ, our average speed had increased to 18.5 mph with our maximum speed touching 35 between Potton and the Lodge! As you can probably imagine, we were pleased to see the HQ gates and the thought of breakfast spurred us on down the drive. A big thank you to Stephan for killing us, sorry, supporting us, over the last 20 miles. Next year we hope to get a few more people to join us as well!“

    This is a great example of how people can change their behaviour. Whether it is for health benefits or the camaraderie, the Smarts have now welcomed cycling into their lives with wide arms. Have you ever thought about changing, doing something a little different? Going along to your local RSPB nature reserve for the first time, minding one of our pin badge boxes or even taking that step and volunteering with us? Well all it takes is knowing what the barriers are to changing and then blowing them away in a Dam Busters style manner. Let us know what you think and we might see you very soon.

    The Lodge, home of our head quarters and set in the middle of our wonderful Lodge nature reserve & gardens. Credit: Jesper Mattias (rspb-images.com)

  • Carry on with the day job

    Blogger: Kerry Davis, Project Officer

    “So what do you do?”  I was asked the other day; “I’m a Project Officer with the RSPB.” “What’s one of them then?” is the normal response.  I thought about this on the drive back from Lincoln last Sunday night. I had spent the weekend at Lincoln Cathedral manning the Lincoln Peregrines Date with Nature viewpoint, one of my roles as Project Officer.

    Saturday was quite an uneventful type of day when suddenly a gentleman came running to the viewpoint, quite breathless, “there is a peregrine in the cathedral garden and it’s being mobbed by crows and distressed.....” Two of us went to investigate to find a juvenile peregrine sat on a wall looking rather pleased with itself and most definitely not in distress. 

    This is the first time I had encountered a peregrine at such close quarters and was awestruck by the sheer beauty and size of the creature.  That evening I went to bed feeling very honoured to have seen one so close.

    Sunday, by 9.30am I had received three telephone calls informing me there was a peregrine on a wall by the Cathedral – this little lady, later to be christened Bailey due to her fondness of being photographed, sat happily all day on top of a wall just above the heads of the passing public.

    Number two was located up a tree, above the traffic and at eye level to the open topped tour bus, which was now making an unplanned stop.  Number three sat on a ledge low down on the cathedral and number four, the sensible one, stayed on the tower all day being fed by the adults.

    During the day we were able to watch breathless members of the public rushing to tell us there was a peregrine in a tree or on a wall and then enthusing and showing us their photographs.  It was rewarding to share this and watch their faces as they told of their encounter. 

    The day was rounded off by Bailey crash landing outside the Cathedral refectory and joining a group of ladies for afternoon tea.

    Not bad for a day job really.

    So this weekend come and see the urban side of the RSPB in Lincoln, time is ticking we will only be there until 28 July. Come and say hello, you never know what might turn up.