Not quite the Queen’s Speech…

I’m not one for watching the Queen’s Speech on 3pm Christmas Day personally, but I am an advocate for an end of year message and for letting people know how much they are valued. With this sentiment in mind, I would like to wish all the supporters of the Rutland Osprey Project a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Without your support, the project would not be where it is today.

A special thank you must go to our many volunteers. If it wasn’t for them, the project would only achieve a fraction of what it does. These exceptional, dedicated individuals support the osprey project in a plethora of ways – more than perhaps the public realise. From manning the reception desk at Lyndon visitor centre; carrying out monitoring shifts at the osprey hide; waxing lyrical about ospreys to members of the public; helping out with visiting school groups; attending winter volunteer work parties – their contributions make an important and significant difference to the osprey project and Rutland Water nature reserve.

There is much to look forward to in 2019 – especially regarding some exciting new osprey education projects.


‘Reserve Expert’ summer school

A brand new project for our osprey education programme launches in 2019, thanks to sponsorship from The Cameron Bespolka Trust

The Cameron Bespolka Trust was founded after the tragic death of a bright 16 year old young man called Cameron, who was a keen bird watcher and naturalist. Cameron sometimes struggled to find activities to engage with wildlife and nature for young people his age. The Bespolka Trust was subsequently set up by Cameron’s family to address this gap, organising and sponsoring outdoor activities, residential courses and summer camps for like-minded youngsters.

Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust is thrilled that the Rutland Osprey Project is sponsored by The Bespolka Trust in 2019, to run a summer school for 8-16 year olds to learn more about birds and other wildlife, based at Lyndon nature reserve at Rutland Water.

Activity sessions will include bird ringing, an osprey study, bird identification using sight and sound, a feather and an owl pellet study, and more. Youngsters will also get the chance to visit the hide to see the Rutland ospreys and find out more about tracking and monitoring these birds. Participants will be given a log book to note down the day’s activities and awarded a certificate showing they are a “Reserve Expert”.

When is it? I hear you ask. There is a choice of two dates for 8-12 year olds and two dates for 12-16 year olds:-

8-12 years: Tuesday 30th July or Wednesday 7th August
12-16 years: Wednesday 31st July or Thursday 8th August

For more information see here: Reserve Expert Days Information

We ask for interested young people to fill out a simple application form, as an expression of interest. Apply here: Reserve Expert – How to apply.

The application deadline is 1st April 2019. We will inform applications whether they have secured a place by 28th April 2019.


Tesco ‘Bags of Help scheme’  

When you hear the phrase “deprived communities, does your mind visualise the urban sprawl? Tower blocks with ‘socio-economic’ challenges? Well, perhaps you may be surprised to hear that despite being one of the wealthiest areas in the UK, rural Rutland has some deprived areas too.

While you park that thought for a moment, consider how much of a challenge schools have in the age of funding cuts to cover transport costs for trips away from school. Transport costs are a huge constraint to rural schools and can be the difference between a field trip to a museum, park, or a local nature reserve, or staying on school premises.

Thanks to shoppers at the local Tesco store in Oakham, the Rutland osprey education programme came second place recently in the blue token scheme and was awarded £2K, following a funding bid to address these very issues. The funding allows us to visit schools to deliver an assembly and an activity session, as well as bring children to our Lyndon nature reserve – completely free of charge to the school. While at the reserve, the youngsters will visit the osprey hide and receive an outreach session from our fantastic education officers. They will even receive their very own copy of the ‘Reserve Expert’ activity book for them to fill out and take home.

The team are thrilled to have this opportunity to work with six local Rutland schools – who have previously had little or no contact with the osprey project or Rutland Water. The schools are now signed up and we look forward to reporting more on this project in the spring.

I’m sure you’ll agree, there is a lot happening in 2019! Here’s to a prosperous new year and an exciting new osprey season. It will be here before we know it!