Stort Valley RSPB group to resume programme of weekend and midweek walks and indoor meetings in Stortford
The Stort Valley branch of bird conservation charity the RSPB has hatched plans to relaunch its monthly meetings – hoping to tap into the growth in interest in the natural world that happened during the coronavirus lockdowns.
Acting leader Peter Allen has taken over from Simon Hurwitz as the programme resumes.
He said: “With the changes to Covid restrictions, our group, as with most local activities, is set to emerge from a prolonged period of inactivity.
“We're keen to get off to a good start and attract old and new members. The group is for all levels of experience and is welcoming and ready to share knowledge. We're hoping to capitalise on the lockdown growth of interest in the natural world.”
The Stort Valley RSPB Local Group will meet on the second Tuesday of each month from November. Before then, there will be a walk on Sunday (October 10) at 2.30pm with a rendezvous next to the Markwell Pavilion in Castle Park.
Peter said: “Our plan is for an open-air meet-up with a short walk northwards along the River Stort. Our aim is to have a simple social gathering allowing people to meet up after a lengthy period of not being able to do so.”
Monthly indoor meetings will resume on November 9 at Bishop’s Park Community Centre, Lancaster Way, from 7.30pm.
The first speaker will be the Indie's Nature Notes correspondent Jono Forgham, talking about birding on the North Norfolk coast.
Peter said: “With a view to concentrating on relaunching the group, this meeting will be free, with no membership or visitor fees being collected. Our aim is to maximise the attendance and concentrate on getting the group relaunched."
Subsequent meetings will continue at the same venue and time, with the December 14 gathering set to feature Anne Forbes and a presentation on her work with puffins.
A programme for February to July 2022 is being developed and will be published in early November.
Peter said: “The programme of weekend walks/visits is planned to resume in November. Our aim with this is to meet at a local venue for a short, sociable walk with hopefully a good number and variety of birds.
"These are great opportunities for sharing and learning with others. We have a significant number of very knowledgeable and experienced birders.
“Before Christmas, we're also looking at introducing a new feature to our programme. This is a midweek walk and, as with the weekend programme, would be a local, short, sociable walk.”
The group’s January meeting will pay tribute to Mr Hurwitz, an RSPB volunteer for 10 years, and his work with barn owls. Peter said: “His fantastic efforts and contribution led to the creation of a flourishing, well-attended and active local group."
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) was founded in 1889. It works to promote conservation and protection of birds and the wider environment through public awareness campaigns, petitions and nature reserves throughout the UK.