In December 2022 the Society announced a long-term commitment to tackling two social issues: providing safe homes and protecting local nature.
This endeavour goes beyond a monetary donation; we’re giving our staff four hours a month to volunteer, as well as ad-hoc volunteering days out with our chosen strategic charity partners to ensure we give back to the communities we serve.
Our community-minded staff didn’t hang around with this remit and got stuck in last month with a ‘Wild Work Day’ at Suffolk Wildlife Trust.
On 19th January 2023, eight members of staff from our branches and Head Office visited Oulton Marshes in Lowestoft for our second ‘Wild Work Day’ with the Trust. We all came well prepared wearing lots of layers as it was a very frosty morning and a bit of a shock to the system!
When we arrived, we were met by our lovely SWT warden for the day – Lewis. After our warm welcome and safety briefing from Lewis, we headed into the marshes and met other wardens and willing volunteers from the local area. Lewis briefed us on our task for the day: clearing up some previously felled trees and scrub and dragging them to be burnt on a fire. By doing this we would be helping restore the marshes and make way for wildlife to thrive.
Part of the Suffolk Broads, Oulton Marshes alongside Carlton Marshes are located in the Waveney Valley at the Southern point of the Norfolk broads. Grazing marsh, short fen meadow, tall litter fen, dykes, pools, and scrub make up its composition. These environments, which are primarily man-made, have supported specialised fauna for hundreds of years.
The exceptional water quality in the dykes makes Carlton & Oulton Marshes one of the best areas in the UK for a variety of freshwater snails.
Our task for the day consisted of cutting down logs and branches from fallen trees and scrub using tools such as loppers and bow saws. The task in hand was strenuous, but extremely rewarding and we were all so grateful to have the fire burning which kept us warm when the sun disappeared.
When we headed back to the car park for lunch, we even got offered a lift by one of the wardens, so we were able to rest our legs for a bit!
After some more sawing, chopping, and burning on the fire, our day on the marshes came to an end. We all took a leisurely stroll back to the car park and couldn’t believe our luck when we saw a gorgeous baby deer watching us as we walked past.
Suffolk Wildlife Trust provided us with excellent hospitality and educational briefs throughout the day. A fantastic and rewarding day had by all and we can’t wait to get stuck in with what Suffolk Wildlife Trust has in store for us next time!
Our volunteering is part of the Society’s ‘Saving Suffolk’ campaign, which works with carefully selected projects that aim to protect the local environment and nature.