Cheering and Celebrating - Cathy's end of year blog

Cheering and Celebrating as the year draws to a close

The days are oh so short at the moment, but the trend will now be towards Spring, and in the tradition of reflection as the year closes I am cheering and celebrating all the outstanding achievements in our outstanding landscapes in 2016!

We recently had a lovely evening celebrating 2016 with volunteers from both Dedham Vale/Stour Valley and Suffolk Coast & Heaths – eating, chatting and learning about trees from Gary Battell. Not only is the work of the AONB oh so varied, so is the range of volunteer activities. Across both areas we have practical conservation, survey and footpath volunteers; on the coast there are many who join in with the Great British Beach Clean; coast and estuary wardens and Greeters; plus, Constable Country rangers and river wardens. In 2016 we’ve also had volunteer work placement people (Lauren, Sam and Danny). I hope I haven’t left anyone out!

The outstanding achievement of AONB volunteers across two landscapes is remarkable! In Dedham Vale alone Stour Valley Volunteers have done 35 ‘tasks’, this being over 500 ‘days’ as they average 15 people each time. And the footpath volunteers have between them walked the Stour Valley Path (60-miles) several times. In Suffolk Coast and Heaths, we host teams from local businesses – staff from BT and Ipswich Building Society did some outstanding work at Orwell Country Park over four days. That’s a huge amount of support to the AONBs from everyone. Cheers!

A lot of the volunteer activity in both AONBs at the moment are the community projects that even more people are involved in, such as planting Scattered Orchards and creating Pollinator Patches. Planting has been a joint effort between the AONB and the community, and the community will continue the care and watering in the future.

For those that are unsure how to help the various pollinating insects (not just bees) here is just one of the tips (see our websites for more):

Let your garden grow wild and cut grass less often - your ‘pollinator patch’ should be less formal and a bit ‘hairier’, with longer grass and weeds to provide pollinator nest sites.

I’m keen to do this one in 2017…. Shhhush, I’m not being a lazy gardener, I’m helping wildlife!

[this blog first appeared in the EADT 24-12-16]


By Cathy Smith on January 4th, 2017

Landscapes for life link image