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January 2016 – Time to plan for the year ahead.

Dawn of a new year. photo by MLP

Dawn of a new year.
photo by MLP

The nature of running a small environmental consultancy means that you have periods of the year when things are quiet, times when there is nothing to survey, no rivers to restore and no water voles to rescue. This pause in the year is usually welcome. It is a chance to plan where you are and where you want to go in the year ahead.

2016 begun for us with a fantastic day surveying on Barksore Marshes, a peninsula of land where the Medway Estuary meets the Swale. We were there to look at opportunities to improve the grassland for breeding waders, essentially looking at where the site could hold shallow pools of water and estimating how high the grass might be come the Spring.

Lower Halstow Creek from Barksore Marsh

Lower Halstow Creek from Barksore Marsh

With all jobs there are days when work is work but some days work is just a privilege. Today was one of those days. To spend a bright winter’s morning visiting a beautiful area closed to the public was a joy. Out on the Swale knots and dunlins twisted through the fog with a noise like a wave breaking on shingle and dark bellied brent geese paddled in the shallows of the bay.

a mid month meeting with wildlife photographer Robert Canis gave us the opportunity to discuss joint projects to raise awareness of the beauty of the North Kent Marshes and the need to minimise disturbance to fragile estuarine habitats.

Our plans for the year ahead have started to evolve with staff training in hedgelaying and water vole trapping coming up and plans to work with Hadlow Agricultural College to offer work experience placements to students wishing to get a grounding in survey work and the reality of working as a consultant.

tying up faggots at Anvil Green Farm

tying up faggots at Anvil Green Farm

We value this opportunity to help others and give something back and with that in mind we joined the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership for a day’s volunteering at a farm near Wye. Enjoying a day of action coppicing a hazel hedge and creating faggots (twiggy bundles) to use in river work this summer.

We end January refreshed and excited by plans for the year ahead.

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