A group of 14 personnel from the Control and Reporting Centre at RAF Boulmer took time out recently to help Northumberland Wildlife Trust undertake a number of estates tasks.
Over the course of four days, the team cleared vegetation, dug ditches to create habitats for frogs, newts and other types of aquatic life and laid pipes to alleviate flooding on the Trust’s Hauxley nature reserve at Druridge Bay – activities which are certainly different to their normal jobs at the RAF base where every individual has a role in the monitoring of UK airspace.
The biggest task which the team members rolled their sleeves up for was the cutting of long grass on two islands to help a number of small birds that can only nest in short grass.
The cut grass then had to be removed from the island using a small rowing boat because, if left to rot, the nutrient content of the soil will increase and encourage the wrong type of plants for the birds.
The cleared pasture also increases the growth of wild flowers which in turn encourage a variety insects as well as birds on the island. Over 100 sacks were removed from the islands by small boat.
Flt Lt Hayley Roberts said: “It was really hard work but it was great to get outdoors and contribute to the local community; there is always something to do there and we are all glad we were able to do our bit. It was a great team work exercise and we had great fun taking the boat back and forth across the lake full of rakes, strimmers, bags of grass and pitchforks.”
Alex Lister, Northumberland Wildlife Trust Druridge Estates Officer, added: “These guys have made a huge difference and have helped with tasks which require a large (and disciplined) group to undertake. I really do appreciate what they have done and hope to work with them again in the future.”