Blogger: Erica Howe, Communications Manager
It’s not often I go clothes shopping. No really! But, last weekend I braved the crowds and the shops and headed for the high street. I needed to buy some shorts. Now I know it’s not exactly the height of summer, but I just couldn’t find any at all. The shops were full of big knit cardigans, scarves, winter boots and snuggly jumpers. All lovely and rather tempting but not what I needed.
It’s certainly been unusual weather for October, but we can’t deny that the colder months are creeping up on us all. As I bike to work, the roads are littered with fallen leaves, scattered across the pavements; crisp and orange and crying out to be childishly kicked around.
And, while we get ready to stock up for winter with the usual hearty ingredients, there is one extra little thing we must think about doing. Feeding the birds. I know it sounds very Julie Andrews (and as I write this I’m thinking about going home to indulge in watching Mary Poppins with the excuse of ‘research’), but it is one of the most important things that you can do to help your garden birds survive the winter. Sadly, our blue tits, green finches, robins and the like, don’t have weekly trips to Topshop to don the latest warm knitwear. Our garden birds have to turn their food into energy quickly to keep warm and they are most vulnerable to the cold first thing in the morning and last thing at night. It is at times like this that these tiny little creatures need to find food, and fast. A blue tit weighs the same as a 20p piece, and although this seems unbelievably light, it does mean that every drop of food it consumes is immediately used up as energy to keep going.
There are some really cheap and easy ways that we can all help our garden birds and trust me, they will love you for it. Apples and pears will be gobbled up by blackbirds and robins, Nyjer seed is a favourite of siskins and goldfinches and peanuts are fine for the really cold months, but be sure to check that they don’t come from your local pub or have salt in them as this can be dangerous to birds. And with Christmas just around the corner, it’s really easy to make good use of any food scraps you might have. Garden birds absolutely adore things like, dried fruit, pastry, cake, raisins and mild grated cheese.
Perhaps you might be heading out to the shops this weekend to buy a new winter coat or some trendy gloves. If you are, spare a thought for your garden birds and pick up some bird food for them too. It will certainly give them a helping hand and you’ll have them as loyal visitors to your garden for months.
Article in Eastern Daily Press on 8 Oct 2011
Blogger: Jenny Julian, Regional Development Officer
Did you know that homes in Norfolk throw away enough waste every year to cover the Carrow Road football pitch to a depth of 25m? Equivalent in height to two and a half double decker buses! Did you know that the UK buries more than 18 tonnes of household waste each year; that’s two million tonnes more than any other EU country? And did you know that in less than 8 years time there will be no room left for landfill waste in the UK?
Sounds pretty, well rubbish! But it’s not all doom and gloom. For every tonne of waste that a landfill operator buries a tax is paid and by 2014 this will be at least £80 per tonne. The aim of taxing landfill operators is to reduce the amount of rubbish that heads to landfill sites, encouraging more recycling and composting. So what’s this got to do with the RSPB? Well, the landfill operators can choose to pay a percentage of this tax to environmental bodies, such as WREN, the SITA Trust and Biffaward, who then distribute the money to worthy environmental causes that are affected by landfill sites.
This is where the RSPB comes in. Back in January 2011 the fundraisers in the east of England office were working hard on applications to the WREN Biodiversity Action Fund. The fund provides between £75,000 and £250,000 to projects that benefit biodiversity. Seven months later we found out that our two applications to the fund had been successful. Between them, our reserves at Freiston Shore, Frampton Marsh, Ouse Fen, Ouse Washes and Sutton Fen, have received £377,664 from the fund.
The work at Sutton Fen, in the Broads, is centred on the nationally rare habitat, lowland fen. The WREN money will pay for the reserves’ next five years worth of work on the habitat. Sutton Broad also holds the largest remaining UK population of fen orchid – a critically endangered species, found on only four fen sites in the UK! The WREN money will be paying for vital research into this orchid. Without this research the fen orchid could become extinct in the UK.
The four other reserves can be found in the Cambridgeshire Fens and the Wash. The focus habitat for this project is coastal and floodplain grazing marsh, another nationally rare habitat - important for species like lapwing and black-tailed godwit. The funding will support our work on this habitat for the next four years and work has already begun at Ouse Fen, where ex-arable land is being converted back to floodplain grazing marsh.
Every year a huge chunk of our funding comes from the Landfill Communities Fund, so it really isn’t that rubbish after all!
Photo credit: Andy Hay (rspb images)
Blogger: Gena Correale-Wardle, Community Fundraising Officer
Cookies, cakes, scones, biscuits, muffins, brownies, flapjacks, fridge cake, cheese straws, chocolate crispy cakes, malf loaf, cupcakes, iced buns and more.
That’s right, we need all of the above at our Regional office in Norwich by 9am next Tuesday, 11 October!
Matt “Captain Pin Badge” Howard and I are going to the UEA next Tuesday to share these sweet treats in return for donations and marine pledges. So that is why we need your cakes. Last year we made over £120 in one day from hungry students and we want to do ever better this year!
If you fancy making some tasty treats, or know anyone who does, please let me or Matt know – ingredient costs can be reimbursed, so how about trying out that recipe you’ve been meaning to do for ages? Any leftover cakes will be brought back to our office to feed the ravenous RSPB staff and volunteers (in return for a donation of course!).
Let’s dust those aprons down and get the oven gloves on!
email@example.com or give us a bell on 01603 697515
Photo credit: inspired by http://afternoontease.co.uk/
Blogger: Sarah Green, Project Coordinator - Natura People Partnership Project
We all know nature reserves are important. They are important for the species they host, for the breath of fresh air they provide and the wonderful views. But what many people don’t realise is that nature reserves are also really good for the economy.
Huh, I hear you say? No, don’t turn away, this is important, I promise.
For instance, did you know that our Flagship Suffolk reserve, Minsmere, supported over 100 jobs in the local community in 2009? And that in the same year visitors spent £2.9 million in the local economy?* That’s quite a lot of cash. And all of it goes towards local people. It’s not just Minsmere that helps local economies either. All our reserves bring a financial benefit to their local area, whether it’s through people wanting to spy White Tailed Eagles on the Isle of Mull or Red Kites in Galloway, or it’s the prospect of a nice day out in beautiful surroundings, possibly followed by tea and cake.
At Minsmere, we are improving the site to provide a better experience for visitors. This means more visitors which means more money spent in the local area. We want to talk to businesses. We want to explain to them what Minsmere can do for them. We want local businesses to have a connection to the site. We want to build transnational links between organisations and show what the power of tourism can do.
Under the auspices of the European funded Natura People project, we are developing an economic model to show the financial benefits of nature reserves and we’ll be producing case studies for each partner** in the project, to give in depth examples of how the model works. We’ll then take these findings and use them to help persuade the bureaucrats and politicians to invest in our green spaces, to value our natural environment and to protect it.
We will be discussing this work in more detail in November, at the third of our six monthly partner meetings. Is there anything you are particularly concerned about? Anything you want to know about the links between nature reserves, tourism and economics? Leave us a comment, send us an email and we’ll respond!
(You can also read our other blogs about Natura People here and here).
*See the RSPB’s Natural Foundations report, 2011 and Local Economies http://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/naturalfoundations_tcm9-291148.pdf
**The partners in this Natura People project are: RSPB (UK), Province of West Flanders (Belgium), Province of Zeeland (The Netherlands), and Natuur-en Recreatieschap de Grevelingen, (The Netherlands)
The nature reserves benefiting from the Natura People project are:
RSPB Minsmere (UK)
Zwin (Provincie west-Vlaanderen, Belgium)
Waterdunen ( Provincie Zeeland, the Netherlands)
Natura People is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the INTERREG IV A 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Crossborder Programme 2007-2013.
Blogger: Rachael Murray
With our gorgeous landscapes and big skies as inspiration, it’s no wonder this region has such a burgeoning population of creative types. And we’ve found one more to swell the ranks!
Budding Bury St Edmunds-based wildlife photographer, Ben Hart, 12, has been announced the winner of the under-13’s category of UK-wide RSPB photography competition, WildPix.
Each year, we encourage young people to let their creativity run wild, as they seek out and capture images of wildlife’s wonders right across the country.
With the 2011 competition receiving more entries than ever before, Ben impressed judges with a close up photograph of a dunnock peering up through the undergrowth on the look-out for a tasty snack. Dunnocks can often be found nesting and feeding in our gardens, and Ben was lucky enough to get a snap of this beautiful bird in his back garden in Rattlesden, Bury St Edmunds.
Ben says: “My dad sparked my interest in wildlife when I was young, because he enjoys bird watching and has encouraged me over the years. I love observing birds and other animals whilst out on walks around our home and watching wildlife programs on TV.
“I'm very happy to win the competition this year because I never thought it would happen! Winning has given me the confidence and encouragement to do even more photography.”
As well as winning £100 and a day out with professional wildlife photographer, Andy Hay, Ben’s winning snap will soon be featured on the front cover of one of the RSPB’s junior membership magazines.
A large part of our work aims to encourage young people to widen their enjoyment and understanding of the natural world by swapping their Nintendos for nature and their PCs for puddles, so we’re really glad to hear that Ben is setting a great example by hiding under his bird table in cammo gear to get those winning pics!
The annual WildPix competition is just one way the RSPB inspire young people to embrace the outdoors. Why not visit www.rspb.org.uk/youth or contact Charlotte Pledger at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about events and practical activities organised for young people by the RSPB.