Cathy's Blog - AONB Column
“Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul”, John Muir (died 1914).
There seems to be no let up to the February cold and wind, but the days ARE growing noticeably longer, so that is cheering me up. I was in Cornwall last week and the new season is more advanced there than here on the east coast – Cornish daffodils being exported everywhere to bring spring cheer! I see around me, even here on the east coast, Nature’s annual ability to re-grow and ‘heal’, as John Muir said, healing itself perhaps, and renewing its colours and increasing its ability to support wildlife and people. But no daffodils here yet.
The review by Natural England of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths southern boundary is an opportunity to bring additional conservation and enhancement to our natural environment and support enjoyment of it by residents and visitors alike. To find out more you can attend a Drop-In event next week – on Tuesday 20 February (Woolverstone) and Wednesday 21 February (Lawford).
The Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty support wildlife and peoples’ enjoyment of nature by offering money via grants to help and encourage communities to undertake conservation projects. There are many forms these projects take, and many different organisations eligible. Have you an idea for a project we can support you with? Application deadlines are Thursday 8 March and Tuesday 20 March, depending on grant scheme.
One project we are developing ourselves is around #PlasticAction – reducing, reusing and recycling is 2018’s hot topic, and is part of the Defra 25 Year Environment Plan too. I’d add ‘refusing’ single-use plastics to that list. The AONB and our Partners will be increasing what we can do to support organisations such as the Marine Conservation Society to campaign to reduce plastic waste getting into our ecosystems, and make our local councils improve their messages about what can be recycled. It’s being called a ‘battle’ against the plastic tide. It is also about learning to live with less plastic as a society.
We want and need to keep our natural places intact for everyone, for fresh air and inner calm, for recreation and wildlife, free from litter.
First published in the East Anglian Daily Times on 17 February 2018