Our Act for Nature event had twin objectives with people coming to Foxearth Meadows to gain insights and skills through:
- demonstrations and discussions on managing land for nature to equip people for practical conservation;
- a Wild Christian event led by A Rocha UK Chief Executive, Andy Atkins on campaigning featuring a workshop on how to write directly to your MP to canvass their support to achieve net zero carbon emissions.
For the conservation aspect I led tours of the reserve to explain some of our ongoing management practices including:
- Laying blackthorn to create dense growth near the ground which provides varied structure for wildlife especially nesting birds;
- Protecting the riverbank from erosion using ‘soft engineering’ technique known as ‘spiling where posts are driven into the base of the bank and willow rods are woven to lessen the scouring effects of the flow whilst creating habitat for fish and invertebrates;
- Coppicing to produce both a more dense structure for wildlife habitat whilst allowing light into previously shaded areas encouraging new flowering plant communities;
- Bird ringing to monitor the health and numbers of the bird populations at the meadows;
- Mowing and grazing to restore flower rich meadow grasslands;
- Taking soil cores to produce a soil map of the reserve;
- Installing dipwells to monitor ground water levels.
The highlight of the day was the moment when our bird ringer, Pete Dwyer, had just finished explaining his art and the science behind it with a captured Wren only to find that a Kingfisher had flown into his net. The audience were in raptures as this beautiful creature was processed at close quarters. Almost eclipsing this miracle was the rare sight of a lesser-spotted chief executive running excitedly across the site. Andy Atkins wasn’t going to miss our star bird’s appearance! Later we even had a Cetti’s Warbler netted to cap a memorable afternoon.
We hope that those who came were inspired and equipped in equal measure to encourage nature and to campaign to protect it.