The ending of the old year and the beginning of the new offers an opportunity to reflect: To dwell on the months that went before, to remember the achievements and challenges, while also looking forward to what the future could bring.
For Suffolk Wildlife Trust, 2017 was a year of thinking big, a time when we pushed to buy two parcels of land for wildlife and people in the north and the west of the county.
At our Lackford Lakes reserve, near Bury St Edmunds, an opportunity to secure 77 acres of neighbouring Breckland that supports nightingale and stone curlew led to a public appeal to raise £200,000 towards the purchase price. After two months, the appeal, which took place in what was the 30th anniversary of Lackford’s founding, hit its target. At the same time, the trust’s £1 million appeal to create a landscape-scale reserve in the Broads continued throughout 2017, with the total raised at the turn of the year standing at more than £815,000.
While it is the big projects that have captured the headlines, it is the day-to-day work of the trust across nearly 8,000 acres of nature reserves that continued to bear fruit in 2017. At Bradfield Woods, dormouse populations have continued to increase (becoming the most successful dormouse translocation project in the UK), while butterfly species such as silver washed fritillary, purple emperor and white admiral are now naturally re-colonising the reserve. There were also breeding successes for nationally declining species, including redshank and lapwing, at Trimley Marshes and Dingle Marshes, while marsh harrier bred at Redgrave and Lopham Fen, Carlton Marshes and Hen Reedbeds.
Of course, the hard work will not stop in 2018. The trust will continue to restore and create space for nature, while also offering support and advice to landowners and farmers to bring our vision for a wilder Suffolk to life. But it is also important to say that all of this would not be possible without the continued commitment from those who support us. Our members are the heartbeat of the trust and, quite simply, the more we have, the more we can do for Suffolk’s wildlife and wild places.
At a time of promises and resolutions, why not consider doing something that will make a real difference for wildlife where you live? Join us.
Matt Gaw, Media Manager, Suffolk Wildlife Trust