Summer is a busy time for the team! Cathy's blog

As we begin September we seem to think Summer is officially over – schools go back, the Bank Holiday is over and people seem to gear up for the Autumn ahead. In fact, August is busy for the AONB team, with both AONBs’ valued volunteers going out several times, the Stour & Orwell Estuary Management Strategy being published, the River Stour Project Officer doing site visits for the new ‘500 Trees’ project, and me attending the world renowned Birdfair at Rutland!

The 500 Trees project, in partnership with the Environment Agency, will plant a mix of native broadleaved tree species and large shrubs this winter, including Black Poplar, disease resistant Elms, Field Maple, Common Alder, Hazel amongst others. It received £3,500 from the Essex & Suffolk Water Branch Out Fund.

It was my first time at Birdfair and we decided to be there to build on awareness that started with BBC Springwatch, and to promote the new Wild Days Conservation research and conservation holidays that we are introducing (thanks Coastal Communities Fund!). We held one Suffolk holiday in early May and have two more coming up – 24 Sept to 1 Oct, and 9 to 15 October. One participant said: “The pull of conservation work closer to home is strong… It is rewarding to be learning more about the native species of trees/animals/landscapes/plants that are around me all the time”. I had lots of lovely conversations with people about visiting Suffolk, many knowing it from a visit to Minsmere and some planning to come for the first time.

Looking ahead to September, my colleague Lynn Allen is gearing up to support the many volunteer teams undertake their Great British Beach Clean! This Marine Conservation Society initiative will see over 20 groups along the Suffolk coast do litter picks and surveys. When reviewing the last ten years, Lynn found that 7,517 volunteers had taken part, collecting 15.510kg of litter. “Plastic items have consistently made up between 8-10 of the top ten items found in Suffolk,” she says. If you want to join in with or lead a group, please get in touch – the GBBC is held 16-19 September.

First printed in the East Anglian Daily Times Sat 3 Sept 2016

By Cathy Smith on September 6th, 2016

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