Tuesday, 6 August 2013

New volunteers at Hickling Broad

Angela Collins, Volunteer Coordinator

Most of my working days are spent at my desk in our Norwich Head Office, but I do like to take the opportunity to get out and meet volunteers when I can.  So I was very pleased to attend an induction morning for some new nature reserve volunteers at NWT Hickling Broad.  Hickling already has a strong team of reliable volunteers who help look after the reserve, but they are keen to expand the team as there is lots of work to be done.

New NWT volunteers: Laura, Sally and Terry with
Adam Pimble, assistant warden
At the start of the day, the new recruits – Sally, Laura and Terry – and I were given an introduction to Hickling by the assistant warden, Adam Pimble and guidance regarding health and safety. An existing long term volunteer, Alan, talked about his volunteering and the wildlife you can get to see as a volunteer when on parts of the nature reserve not normally open to the public. 

We went out on the nature reserve, starting with the office and workshops, but then the best bit: a buggy ride driven by John Wheeler, Assistant in the Upper Thurne, around some areas which are not currently open to the public. We looked at the new flood defence works, which Adam explained will help improve the conditions of the site for wildlife. Bumping along the track, with butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies flittering by was beautiful, and showed what a truly special place Hickling is. 

We found the Konik ponies, which help keep the vegetation down in a more natural way than mechanical cutting ever could. As well as manual labour, the nature reserve volunteers also help monitor the condition of the ponies on a daily basis. Adam explained how the ones we were looking at were at their heaviest weight now, as expected, because of the good grazing available and that this will provide for them over the winter when conditions are more difficult. These ponies were new to Hickling. It was important that we keep a safe distance from the conservation ponies, they are not for petting and they are actively  discouraged from approaching humans.

It was good to meet some of the Hickling team and our new volunteers. I hope Sally, Laura and Terry all enjoy their volunteering at Hickling Broad and being part of such a superb team.

If you are interesting in volunteering with Norfolk Wildlife Trust, please have a look on our website: www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/volunteer  

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