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.
Blogger: Gena Correale-Wardle, Senior Community Fundraiser
Sometimes the feeling the trouble our natural world is in overwhelms me until I was to scream about it in the middle of the street. “Don’t you know that our starlings are disappearing?” “Where have our hedgehogs gone?” “Where has our society’s bond with nature gone?” Of course I’m far too sensible to shout these things, but my anxiety teeters on the edge, threatening to get the better of me.
So, it fills me with great joy, when I realise how many friends the RSPB has who feel the same. People who I’ve never met before suddenly pop out of the woodwork and offer to do something to help nature because they know it’s in trouble and don’t want to sit by and do nothing.
Take the lovely Cally who last year was so struck by the plight of turtle doves being shot when she volunteered at a conservation project in Malta that, on her return, decided to make and sell chocolate turtle doves in aid of the RSPB. She’s raised over £100 so far, and continues to campaign for Operation Turtle Dove.
The latest star of the show is Munch, a lovely business based in Suffolk that produces fabulous works of art made from natural materials. Munch are very kindly supporting the RSPB by donating 10% of each Munch Wood original work sold. It’s this kind of helping hand which really makes me feel that I’m not alone in my worry about the natural world. Other people understand and want to help too – in whatever way they can!
When we have friends like Munch, we can do so much more - it’s great to see that people care so much about giving nature a home. It goes to show that your gesture doesn’t have to be huge – whether it’s putting out a hedgehog house in your garden, filling in an online vote for The Nature of Farming awards or donating part of your profit to the RSPB. All those gestures add up to a much greater whole which goes towards us making sure we have a world richer in nature.
Thanks to those who already do whatever they can for the RSPB, whether a large or small contribution – we couldn’t do it without you! You can see more of nature’s heroes at www.rspb.org.uk/homes. To view and purchase Munch’s gorgeous wood work, please visit www.munchstuff.co.uk/trees
Blogger: Agnes Rothon
Can you remember what it was that inspired you to do the job that you do today or the job that you did throughout your working life? I can remember mine and I revisited it quite by accident the other day.
I was clearing out the spare room – the drawers at the bottom of the book case were beginning to sag under the weight of the cargo that they carried. It was time to get down to the serious business of ‘having a clear-out.’ Amongst the piles of old photos, balls of knitting wool and childhood trinkets I came across the story tapes that I would listen to at bedtime when I was younger. There were some great titles in there – The Twits by Roald Dahl, Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee and then, my absolute favourite, My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. I could immediately remember receiving the double-cassette one Christmas – I must have been about eight or nine. It was the most long-lasting and value for money present my mother has probably ever given me and I fell asleep to the story many, many times over the years.
Having found the cassette I wanted to listen again and found myself able, even now, to repeat many sections of the book word-for-word. Durrell evokes landscape and the animals that inhabit it in glorious and intimate detail. From scorpions found hiding behind crumbling brick in the garden wall to the antics of Durrell’s pet magpie the sheer wonder of a childhood spent outdoors is retold in ‘My Family’ effortlessly and beautifully.
I wonder now whether it was my experience of this book and my kinship with it that allowed me to develop my own love of wildlife and my desire to describe this passion for the outdoors through words. I know for certain that I will pass on the chance to enjoy Durrell’s writing to my own son at the earliest possible opportunity.
I do so hope that amongst the children of today there are the conservationists and naturalists of the future. The future of our wildlife and green landscapes depends on it. That’s why the RSPB tries to provide as many opportunities as it can to give as many children as possible the chance to experience nature for themselves. This summer holiday why not take a family trip to your local nature reserve and see what you can find? You never know – you might just be inspiring your child to become the next Gerald Durrell.
As featured in the Eastern Daily Press on Saturday 17 August
Studying BSc Ecology at UEA and volunteering in the RSPB’s communications team are completely different, yet so similar – the bottom line being conservation, conservation, conservation. The past year, I have not only had the closest nature experiences of my life, but have learnt why conserving our wildlife really is so important.
Training to be an ecologist requires a large amount of field work – something that the 15 other ecology students and I love on our course. One of the highlights this year (besides getting stuck in a marsh with leaking wellies!) was bird ringing. A bird novice, it was amazing to get so close to these creatures that we normally only see flying way above our heads or fluttering away as you walk past. Its tiny beak cheeping and chirping, it was amazing to learn how little the great tit weighed and how delicate and fragile it seemed in our lecturer’s hands. It’s easy to understand why so many people have such a great love for birds; our flying friends.
The other side of ecology is habitats and plants – something I hear less about at RSPB, but is still a focus in their mission to create and maintain homes for nature. This summer, between volunteering for RPSB and enjoying my ridiculously long summer break, I have been completing a piece of university coursework – a wild flower taxonomic collection. Keyed-up on my ragworts, cats-ears and hawkbits, my eyes have been well and truly opened to the sheer breadth of flowers that flood our roadsides, embankments and grasslands. On one afternoon ramble to find flowers, gorgeous arrays of butterflies fluttered all around me, emerging from the surrounding foliage and stunning me with their colours and vibrancy. And there is the link – without plants and habitats, British wildlife can no longer survive. Without a ‘home’, there will be no more great tits to bird ring; there will no more butterflies on countryside walks.
This is where conservation, conservation, conservation comes into action. Whilst the RSPB’s 200 reserves provide vital homes for nature, our own gardens are now being put under the spotlight. With gardens equalling the equivalent of 380,000 football pitches, RSPB’s new ‘Giving Nature a Home’ campaign is all about taking our local patches and turning them into wildlife-friendly, havens for nature. With 60% of UK species in decline, now is no better time to use our spare time and space to help RSPB build a million new homes for nature.
Please visit www.rspb.org.uk/ homes for lots of information on simple things that you can do to help make your patch a haven for wildlife. Find us on Facebook, or tweet us at @RSPBInTheEast to let us know what amazing things you do for nature where you live!
As featured in the Eastern Daily Press, Saturday 10 August