A Rocha opens pioneering nature reserve


Church leaders joined with politicians, conservationists and families to mark the opening of A Rocha UK’s Foxearth Meadows – Britain’s only nature reserve managed primarily for dragonflies.
More than 300 people attended the event on Saturday (13 May 2017). It started with more than 150 local residents cutting a 100-metre-long ‘eco-ribbon’ to launch what has been described as a ‘perfect’ place for nature. They all took part in a packed one-day programme.
"What a fantastic way to do a ribbon-cutting ceremony," said Braintree MP James Cleverly (pictured below). "Never before have I seen community engage like this in the opening of a site for wildlife." Foxearth Meadows Nature Reserve is on the Essex-Suffolk border.
Other guests included North Hinckford Team Vicar Rev Margaret King, Sudbury Methodist minister Rev John Boardman, Sudbury Deputy Town Mayor Sue Ayres and Braintree District Council’s Deputy Leader Wendy Schmitt. It was Wendy who described the 11-acre site as ‘perfect’ after a previous visit there.
"It’s somewhere beautiful for local residents to commune with nature," said Wendy, who is Cabinet Member for Environment and Place. "It’s a unique piece of landscape."
Other organisations who took part included Essex Wildlife Trust, British Dragonfly Society, Butterfly Conservation, Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Environment Agency, Suffolk Beekeepers Association and Essex Birdwatching Society. Activities ranged from a quiz trail, pond dipping, and guided walks to a wild art workshop.
"We put everything into the day," said Reserve Manager Mark Prina, "and the result was everything we could’ve hoped for."

Mark was delighted that representatives turned up from both national and local government.

"People connected with nature – and they brought their children and elderly relatives as well," he added. "It was all ages and it was great!"
A Rocha UK is a national charity committed to helping churches and communities care for the natural world.

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