Recently I had the pleasure of joining one of our business work parties at Hickling Broad. En route to the work site we crossed vast areas of reed bed and its channels on foot and by boat. Enjoying the view, a member of the group noted how lucky we were to experience this landscape in its “natural state”.
Anyone would be forgiven for thinking the same; there was a sense of true wilderness out there. Such a pristine view as this, with almost no sign of civilisation as far as the eye could see, could surely only be the work of Mother Nature?
In fact, as our warden explained to the group, almost everything we could see might be considered completely “man-made”.
Much of our wildlife requires very specific conditions to thrive; many of the most sensitive species would be unable to exist without human intervention. This means costly ongoing habitat management, as well as restoration of new areas, to protect wildlife and encourage it to flourish. This work quite literally never ends, and makes up much of our reserves teams' “day job”.
At this time of year they are working to ensure the habitats are in peak condition for the coming breeding season in the spring, with tasks such as:
Managing grazing on numerous large areas of heath or wetland with specialist heritage livestock such as Dartmoor ponies and British White cattle
Scrub and tussock clearance on marsh or fen by hand
Coppicing and pollarding our native and ancient woodlands
Cutting reed and clearing and repairing, dyke systems on our celebrated Norfolk wetlands
Creating and regulating scrapes for wintering wildfowl like wigeon and pink-footed geese
Building and maintaining infrastructure such as boardwalks and signs so sites remain people friendly
Much of this work makes up the “hidden” costs – skilled labour, materials, tools, veterinary care and livestock husbandry, machinery – that, as a charity, we rely on supporters’ generosity to meet.
With just one week until #GivingTuesday
, the global day of charitable giving, and amid one of the busiest times of year in conservation, we’re asking for your help to support our hidden yet vital tasks.
Every donation we receive will be put to good use where the need is greatest, and will make a real difference to Norfolk’s wildlife – and surely we’ll all be rewarded in the spring when many of us venture out to enjoy Norfolk’s nature.
Please make a donation to fund the day job. Select Giving Tuesday from the option.
Ginny Seppings is the Community Fundraising Officer at NWT.