|Spring Time and Beyond|
|Since the Spring of this year, the Gazen Salts Nature reserve has been busy. As volunteers, we are never short of things to do, even one Wednesday a week and with the once-a-month Saturday.|
Parts 1 and 2 will complete the introduction to Gazen Salts and end the current season. Season 2 will commence late August.
|Spring Time and Beyond|
|Welcome to Gazen Salts|
|Two wooden bridges need to be replaced, seating areas need to be kept clear of debris and foliage, pathways need to be bark chipped and clearly signposted|
|To finish off the introduction to series one of Tales from Gazen Salts, this episode is to show you how the reserve is today. We are currently in the summer months, and the season in consideration to the summer of 2021 has been quite brutal climate-wise. We have had a scorching period since June of this year, with some of the hottest days on record in this last week alone.|
However, this year, the workload for the summer clearance has been significantly reduced for volunteers because of the number of work projects we completed last year through to the Spring of this year.
That stands to reason l feel the whole point of a solid and efficient workforce is to take on board tasks requiring completion in the most time-efficient way possible from start to finish.
We have done that, and the jobs we have left especially given the season’s heat, meaning that we do not have to be present all the time – but also mid July as it is, is a prime time for many people to be enjoying breaks away whilst on holiday so the actual volunteer numbers are very slim.
However, l have been busy in other reserve areas with the trail cameras and pinpointing the suitable zones to cover wildlife’s wellbeing and the environment’s security.
The minor tasks that the volunteers have undertaken have been chiefly maintenance and sustainability tasks such as lane pruning and trimming. The bark chippings are on a halt until the end of July, when they will be recommenced, and all deteriorated pathways will be refreshed then.
A two-person team works Monday through to Friday exclusively on the canals surrounding the central lake, clearing both the Azolla and the duckweed infestations, and they are making headway. Still, it is a slow process and one that will need constant attention in the coming months. It involves a series of mobile locks and is a highly labour-intensive task that, admittedly, not many volunteers wanted to participate in.
But slowly it is coming good.
Another reason for a slower approach to the volunteer work in Gazen Salts is down to the breeding seasons for both flora and fauna alike. So major work projects will not resume till the end of August. Once the more autumnal months are back, as volunteers, we can restart the heavy foliage clearance projects, and there are a few of those still outstanding.
The projects we have ahead of this autumn and winter are many and range from chipping the pathways and building new bridges to crossing the vantage points of the waterways to other areas of the reserve, clearing out more of the miles of the buried and oft-hidden fencing as well as finally clearing out the scrape reed bed. I know that there are plans for creating more microenvironments for wildlife and introducing more refugia.
The primary purpose of recovering Gazen Salts and repairing the conservation status is to protect our environment as best as possible and ensure that we still have these valuable green spaces in the community.
There are many benefits to the future of preserving these rural spots. Still, l think the main two would be the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity of flora and fauna alongside working towards the overall betterment of the environment to attract and increase funding which means that Gazen Salts can remain a nature reserve in a world that wants to build on everything and destroy anything green.
I know l can come across as cynical, although l would say it is simply honest. But many people do not always appreciate what they have until, sadly, it has gone. Communities sometimes fail to value what they have on their doorsteps genuinely, or they didn’t even know it was there to begin with.
Gazen Salts has been here in Sandwich since 1973, and it flourished until the floods in 2013, which damaged it so severely that it had to shut down and almost disappear till 2018. Even then, it couldn’t get funding from grants to repair until 2020, yet in the two years l have known of it and taken part in the recovery, it has made significant leaps and bounds.
Our first task was to recover – we have achieved that, another role was to repair, again we can tick that, then our mission was to restore. We are all working on that, and finally, the task will be ongoing, which is to rebrand the nature reserve and make the public aware of it once more. That, too, is being taken into account.
However, for the time being, Gazen Salts is in a good place with the correct management and people who care for its future and want to work towards achieving that. That is where l will leave this series and see you again in Later August with the beginning of Season Two.
|Duckweed and Azolla will be a continued battle.|
|Old fencing needs to be removed to free up more space and existing ponds need to be maintained so that both flora and fauna can thrive.|
|Ensure the Reserve is a nice place for people to come and visit and enjoy nature.|
|Tales from Gazen Salts Nature Reserve is about my time and stories of my work with this project.|
Hopefully, you enjoyed this introduction, and I’ll see you next episode. Thanks for reading.
Gazen Salts Nature Reserve
Sandwich, Kent, England, UK
|Thanks for reading see you in Season Two.|