More than 300 people – from Essex and beyond – celebrated the opening of A Rocha UK’s Foxearth Meadows on 13th May.
It started with more than 150 local residents cutting a 100-metre-long ‘eco-ribbon’ to launch this ‘perfect’ place for nature.
Politicians, conservationists, church leaders and families were united in this packed one-day programme to welcome Britain’s only nature reserve managed primarily for dragonflies.
‘What a fantastic way to do a ribbon-cutting ceremony,’ said Braintree parliamentary candidate James Cleverly (pictured below). ‘Never before have I seen community engage like this in the opening of a site for wildlife.’ Foxearth Meadows Nature Reserve is on the Essex-Suffolk border.
Other guests included – Sudbury Deputy Town Mayor Sue Ayres, Sudbury Methodist minister Rev John Boardman and Braintree District Council’s Deputy Leader Wendy Schmitt. It was Wendy who described the 11-acre site as ‘perfect’ after a previous visit there. ‘It’s somewhere beautiful for local residents to commune with nature,’ said Wendy, who is Cabinet Member for Environment and Place. ‘It’s a unique piece of landscape.’
Other organisations took part such as – Essex Wildlife Trust, British Dragonfly Society, Butterfly Conservation, Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Environment Agency, Suffolk Beekeepers Association and Essex Birdwatching Society. Activities included – quiz trail, pond dipping, guided walks and wild art workshop.
‘We put everything into the day,’ said Reserve Manager Mark Prina (pictured far left above), ‘and the result was everything we could’ve hoped for.’ Mark was delighted that representatives turned up from both national and local government. ‘People connected with nature – and they brought their children and elderly relatives as well,’ he added. ‘It was all ages and it was great!’