We're looking to create a team of Coastal Champions for our Sandwich & Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve who can help us to inspire our visitors to help make a difference for wildlife.
Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve (NNR) is host to very special and unique habitats, and the wildlife associated with it – consisting of Dunes, dune pasture, shingle beach and Saltmarsh. The site is very popular for visitors, especially in the summer months when we see an increase in dog walking, recreational water sports and other recreational activities such as picnicking, and we are so pleased that people connect with nature in a variety of ways.
These activities, however, have an impact on wildlife, if not carried out in a responsible and sensitive way. Shoreline birds used to breed on the NNR like Little Terns and Ringed Plover, but disturbance has contributed to their decline and has meant that breeding birds have dramatically reduced or have been lost all together. Ringed Plover in this area have dropped from 180-240 pairs in 1988-94 to 120-160 pairs in 2008-13, and Little Tern have gone from 35-120 pairs in 1988-94 to being lost completely.
Why we need you
This is where you can help! We would like to set up a team of Coastal Champions along Sandwich & Pegwell Bay to help us see a return of our breeding shorebirds and ground nesting birds. We would like people to enjoy the Reserves as much as we do, in a responsible way – and it is often that people don’t realise that what they are doing is having an impact on our wildlife.
We’re looking for volunteers to join our team to talk to visitors about the unique wildlife there is, and explain why we are seeing a decline in some species. You’ll be inspiring our visitors to play their part in helping us encourage the shorebirds back! You will be able to point out key sensitive areas and to highlight any restricted access areas (when signs are missed if people are walking along the waters’ edge). You’ll also be monitoring and reporting any disturbance events or activities, as well as wildlife sightings. You need to be an enthusiastic person, happy to talk to other people and fit to walk along the reserve.
This is a flexible role, and the amount of time you are able to provide can be as little or as much as you want. Ideally, due to the nature of the site (it is about a 45minute walk down to the restricted access areas), we do suggest that a 3 hour shift would be a suitable time slot. However, don’t let that put you off - this can be negotiated!
Full training and support will be provided.