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.
Life is full of small, good deeds. I’m a firm believer that it’s the small things that genuinely make a big difference; A smile to a stranger. A cup of tea for your best friend. A packed lunch for your loved one. It’s these little details that might just turn your mundane Monday morning into a much brighter one. But they often get overlooked, underestimated. Every single day offers a new opportunity to have an impact, and we all have the power to make a difference in one way or another, no matter how small.
I’m moving house soon. I fulfil all the clichés about a house buyer that you can think of! I’m panicing about getting everything done in time. I’ve bought interior design magazines and have started wandering round John Lewis with that childlike excitement claiming that i need everything! But, the thing that i’m the most thrilled about is the garden. The wonderful green space that will become so many things; a source of peace and relaxation, and area to have kids play, a small, but perfectly formed vegetable plot. Our garden will, over time become all of these things, but above all else, our garden will become a home for wildlife. I will relish leaving damp log piles at the bottom of the garden and watching my niece discover all the creepy crawlies that infest it. I will plant nectar rich seeds and take pleasure when the butterflies and bees visit, splashing the garden with colour and vibrancy. There is a lot that i could do and plenty that i hopefully will, but i’m going to start small so that i can take my time. It’s truly amazing what we can do for wildlife in our gardens. In total, the gardens all across the UK cover the same area as 380,000 football pitches. That’s more than the RSPB nature reserves put together! If all those gardens took a few small steps and gave nature a home in their back gardens then wildlife in the UK would be seriously better off. Birds like the cheery house sparrow, which has suffered a huge decline in the last 50 years, might start flourishing once more.
This precious bird needs all the help it can get, whether that’s peanuts in a feeder, keeping a healthy firethorn bush or a wild lawn. With a UK network of ‘mini’ nature reserves in each neighbourhood, we may start to make small steps towards really helping the state of nature.
Blogger - Agnes Rothon
The tea party I went to last week was one of the most civilized affairs I have been to for a long time (how often does the parent of a young child get to sit and chat and flick through wildflower books?). Even better, it also managed to feel wonderfully like stepping back to wilder times. As we arrived, a flock of tousled children were chasing each other through waist-high grass from which ox-eye daisies and meadow buttercups gleamed golden. The small brook that trickled gently at the bottom of the spongy water-meadow garden was banked with nettles – a convenient and natural way to avoid too many changes of the children’s wet clothes.
My son, who felt instantly that this was the kind of place he understood, immediately climbed in to the low-growing oak tree that has taken twenty years to grow, splayed but sturdy, in one corner of the garden. Intermittently he would flee from this leafy hide-out to career happily along the carefully mown paths that allowed access through the grass and flowers.
At various points around the garden bamboo poles had been pushed in to the ground to stake out the numerous reasons we had all gathered that afternoon. Next to each pole grew the conical head of a common spotted orchid, each spike made up of hundreds of individual purple flowers. The orchid’s leaves grew pointed and dappled with purple-brown ink-blots. This year the garden held perhaps twenty or so common spotted orchids and one lone bee orchid, though in warmer and drier years it has seen hundreds of each species.
The children gambled amongst the orchids, spending time to dip down and examine them carefully before dashing back to the oak tree or over to the swing. The parents sat and talked of the flowers, ate rich chocolate cake baked deliciously in an enormous paella pan and drank tea.
As someone who spends much of their working, and home, life encouraging others to notice and appreciate nature, it was a huge relief to be surrounded by so many people that seemed to value it as much as I do. The owners of the garden were holding their annual ‘orchid party’ to celebrate the flowers yearly June arrival to the water meadows surrounding the house.
The party was a celebration of the wild, of our children exploring nature through play and the pleasure gained in watching this happen. That afternoon Mother Nature was the babysitter, the orchids were our VIP’s and the food, tea and chat with friends the icing on the cake.
Since I was 15 years old I have been a volunteer – you name it, I've done it (almost). From helping toads cross the road, assisting Guide Dog training, to health-checking cattle, I have spent much of the last 4 years helping animals as a volunteer. Although sometimes hard work, dirty and smelly, there is something I love about volunteering.
With the prospect of a very empty looking 4 month summer break, emailing RSPB to ask to help with their day-to-day communications has been one of the best decisions. Currently on my fifth day, I am happy to say I have joined the strong 17,200+ team of RSPB volunteers. Since publishing an article for ‘Animal Aid’, I have developed a keen interest in writing and the media - to be the new communications volunteer for RSPB’s regional office in Norwich is perfect! A local to the area, I am currently in my first year of studying BSc Ecology at UEA – a degree that fits in perfectly with all the conservation work that RSPB do as well as helping develop my writing skills (I’ve just finished nine exams!).
Before starting at the RSPB, I assumed their work was purely based on birds – however, with a sneak-peek of the work that goes on behind-the-scenes I now know this is not the case. Having just published the ‘State of Nature’ report, it is obvious that nature is in trouble – not just our flying friends. With 60% of assessed species experiencing declines over the last 50 years, British wildlife needs our help. For people like you and I to step up together is one vital step to ensure that our much-loved countryside wildlife does not disappear altogether. From helping in office work to getting dirty in the field, RSPB welcomes volunteers of all shapes, sizes and skills. With the ‘State of Nature’ fresh in our minds, now is no better time to step up and volunteer with Europe’s largest wildlife conservation organisation, RSPB.
For up-to-date information, search for ‘RSPB in the East’ on Facebook and Twitter and keep an eye out for my future blog posts!