Connecting Communities

In partnership with The RSPB,  The Connecting Communities Project at Strumpshaw Fen worked with communities local to the reserve to connect them to nature in the Mid-Yare Valley and Strumpshaw Fen itself. The project worked with local primary schools delivering outdoor learning in school and out on the reserve. One of the objectives of the project was to support schools in working towards The RSPB “Wild Challenge” awards, developing outdoor learning and actively supporting nature.

The project outcomes were:

  • A sense of pride related to this special place amongst local communities
  • A greater awareness among local children and their families about the special wildlife that inhabits the Mid Yare Valley and the wider Broads.
  • More people inspired to give nature a home in the Broads landscape and to get involved at their local nature reserve.
Artwork designed by school pupils, RSPB Strumpshaw, April 2023, photo: J Holland 

In 2019, the project developed a committed team of enthusiastic volunteers to deliver the programme. The volunteers then delivered birdwatching lessons to over 600 pupils between January 2019 and February 2020 from 4 of our partner primary schools local to the reserve.

Detail of carved bench at RSPB Strumpshaw near the Engine House, April 2023, photo: J Holland

Pupils from 3 schools have also enjoyed school lessons which are linked to the Science and Geography curriculum and visits to the reserve. The theme for the educational programme is ‘Exploring and Adventure’. On the reserve, pupils have enjoyed pond dipping, environmental art and minibeast hunting.

Other outcomes of the project include an iron artwork, a carved bench, a wellbeing guide, an adventure trail and a willow den have been created, alongside the pumphouse area being landscaped.

The project often attended local community events by running activities at School Fetes in the Broads Authority’s Exhibition Trailer, the fabulous ‘Joyce Lambert’ and with our partners at the Broads Authority. The volunteer team enjoyed delivering fun, nature- based activities. A number of community groups such as local cubs, brownies and Scouts have also had reserve visits, such as, Blofield Scout group took part in some practical conservation work on the reserve.