Ranger boosts research at Foxearth

7 October 2015, Comments Comments Off on Ranger boosts research at Foxearth

pond life with markPioneering conservation work has stepped up a gear at Foxearth – A Rocha UK’s nature reserve on the Suffolk-Essex border – with the recent appointment of its first ranger.

Staffordshire ecologist Mark Prina (pictured) has just started his new role at the 11-acre site, which is proving to be a haven for dragonflies. He will be at the reserve two days a week and working on administrative duties at home for half a day. His official title is Project Manager.


A passionate ecologist, Mark is also a licensed amphibian surveyor and a science teacher. ‘My love for nature is the abiding focus for my life,’ he said. ‘Every day is a field trip – wherever I am!’

Mark takes on the running of a strategic site. Twenty species of dragonfly and damselfly have now been recorded at Foxearth. ‘Willow Emerald is definitely there,’ said A Rocha UK trustee David Chandler.

‘This is a relatively recent colonist in this country, with Suffolk as its initial stronghold.’ David had received ‘totally reliable’ evidence that Willow Emerald was breeding at Foxearth and saw three there himself in August.


These damselflies have an unusual life-cycle. They lay their eggs on twigs overhanging the water, leaving a series of scars. When the egg hatches the larva falls into the water, or if it misses, bounces around until it finds it!

Interest has been rising in the reserve. ‘We had a particularly busy day in August when lots of people visited and it was a challenge to park all the cars! But we were able to show people some of the delights of Foxearth,’ said David. The group included members of the Lavenham Natural History Society, who identified 79 plant species on the reserve that day.

‘We need more funds to achieve our vision for Foxearth,’ David added. ‘If any people wish to help, they’re more than welcome to contact us and assist in the development of this unique place.’

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