It seems we are barely out of one lockdown then we are heading into another. It has been a year when it has been hard for all business’s to plan ahead but human beings are a pretty resilient species and planning for better times is exactly what I have been doing.
This year’s farm advisory visits are now almost completed and, despite a lack of surveys and the problems cause by the long dry spell, all the farmers I work with remain committed to creating better wetlands for wildlife. Some have even been busy applying for Natural England consent for ambitious projects on the ground to create new wetland features such as scrapes and rills.
The RSPB showed their continued belief in the North Kent Marshes Breeding Wader project by putting together a Green Recovery Fund bid which, if successful, would see an expansion of the project to include new staff, trainee positions and capital works.
Since 2015 I have run the project with just me at the helm backed up by excellent advice both from the RSPB and Natural England, so it is only natural that I find the proposed changes a little scary but I am delighted that the success of the project might allow someone else to get a shot at a career in wildlife conservation at a difficult time for any young person to get employment.
I am also excited about the possibility of working with more farmers and have the funding available to create really exciting work on the ground to help some of our beleaguered farmland birds.
Another exciting possibility, which I have spent the last few months working towards, is to further my work with the Upper and Lower Medway Internal Drainage Board. After years of working as Biodiversity Advisor to the River Stour IDB I would dearly love the opportunity to use my experience to benefit a whole new area. I get the chance to present my ideas to the boards in November.
Also in November I was hoping to work on a new marshland film with Nick Fallowfield Cooper, part of the team at Fallon’s Angler. The potential film might have to be put on hold for the lockdown but when life resumes I hope to be able to read parts of my book, On the Marshes, as a backdrop to Nick’s images as he follows a rare carp called Wildie through the waterways of the Hoo Peninsula.