Helpers needed on Oulton Marshes and Carlton Marshes, near Lowestoft

CALLING all wildlife lovers!

Volunteers are wanted to help tend the nature reserves near Lowestoft that provide havens for wildlife.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust has organised weekly volunteer work parties from next month to maintain Oulton Marshes and Carlton Marshes. The volunteers will work at each site on alternative Thursdays carrying out scrub clearance from fen meadows, maintaining paths, putting up fencing and conducting wildlife surveys.

This week, taster sessions for potential volunteers were held at Oulton Marshes with 12 people carrying out work in muddy conditions to find out what they might face as part of the weekly work parties.

And they enjoyed it so much that they all said they were happy to sign up.

Matt Gooch, the trust's reserve warden who set up the two taster sessions, said: 'The work parties will help us to keep on top of day-to-day jobs on both reserves and enable us to tackle any big jobs that need doing.

'It will be quite physical work but it will be rewarding too as botanically the reserves are some of the best on the Broads.'

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Oulton Marshes covers 214 acres, providing a habitat to wetland plants and insects including dragonflies and damselflies and breeding birds such as grasshopper, reed and sedge warblers and the rare Cetti's warbler.

Carlton Marshes comprises 120 acres of grazing marsh, fens and peat pools. It is home to water voles, cattle, a wide range of fresh water snails and the Norfolk Hunter dragonfly.

The first work party starts on February 9 at Carlton Marshes with one at Oulton Marshes the following week.

All volunteers should bring their own Wellington boots, a lunch and waterproofs.

All other equipment will be provided.

Mr Gooch is also looking for volunteer wardens for Carlton Marshes.

Anyone interested should call Mr Gooch on 01502 589970 or e-mail mrgooch@hotmail.com

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