Monday, 5 August 2013

Behind the Scenes

There is always something going on in the background, behind the scenes at Paxton Pits. This week we had news that our Higher Level Stewardship application has been accepted and we now have prescriptions for our grassland and arable that we have to get to grips with. A lot of the work will be grant aided.
Out of sight, on the hottest of days, you probably missed Ranger Rob Martyr using herbicide to spot treat two of our most invasive alien weeds. Near the sailing lake, we mowed all the crown vetch we could find and even burned some last year, but it's back. After two treatments by Rob, I hope it is gone, but there are acres of it on the railway line towards London. It's on the move.

We have been pulling up Japanese Knotweed every year on two sites in the Reserve. It has had no effect, but a dose of herbicide seems to have done the trick.

The Friends are never idle; in fact they are well into planning next year's programme of events to celebrate the founding of the Reserve, 25 years ago. This will also be a time to look forward to the next 25 years. The extension to the north is on our minds all the time and Ray Matthews is working on a number of fronts to keep the programme moving. This month he led a site meeting to discuss water management in the light of last winter's floods.

Fund raising is something we never give up on. There are opportunities that we exploit, such as second-hand book sales, and then there are others that just come our way. The local Anglia Co-operative Society has been a good friend to us recently and their generosity is something for which we are extremely grateful. On July 24th they sponsored a wine and cheese evening for us and all the tickets were soon sold. My wife Hanna and I went along as the "entertainment" and we were really impressed.

Actually, Hanna and I have not performed a double act like that for over 20 years. We used to do talks together for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and we also had a performance that we took around the village halls, called "Quiet America". It was about places like state parks and wilderness areas that most people do not know about, and it included stories and songs. I was amazed that Hanna still remembered some of the songs; I just wish I remembered the stories! We got two bookings out of that night, so you may see us again.