Welcome to the BFER newsletter
Welcome to the August newsletter!
The school holidays are here! As our thoughts turn to juggling work and children, and hopefully for many of us, a much-needed break, it feels like BFER is really starting to hit it’s stride. As you’ll see from the activities highlighted in this month’s newsletter July has been a busy month for us, and August will be too!
For those of you interested in hearing a bit more about the scheme, some of our flagship projects, and some of our (weird?) music choices, you can have a listen to us taking over Radio Norfolk AND Suffolk for an hour at 6.00pm on Tuesday 9th Aug.
I’m also delighted to welcome our newest team Member Tracy Harrison, who is starting as Part-time Partnership Project Officer this week. Tracy will be a great asset to the team as we get stuck into our mid-term scheme progress review, more from her in next month’s newsletter.
Lastly, I’d like to thank BFER Partners, the River Lark Catchment Partnership and Anglian Water for hosting MPs Jo Churchill and Rebecca Pow to celebrate signing of the RLPC/AW agreement on delivering the CaBA Chalk Stream Strategy for the River Lark at Fuller’s Mill. It was a great event with some excellent opportunities identified and discussed.
BFER Scheme Manager
BFER on the Radio!
Last month Jon Wright from Radio Suffolk came to the Brecks to interview the team for his Tuesday Takeover show. We recorded the show in various locations including Brandon Staunch and West Stow, where we were joined by Tom Ogden from West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village. The show will be live to listen on Tuesday 9th August at 6 to 7pm on Radio Suffolk & Radio Norfolk.
Visit here to listen live: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0clcp0c
1.2 – Sea to Chalk: Restoring Sea Trout and Eels
Last month saw the completion of our ‘Eels in the Classroom’ project as all the eels were released back into the river. We joined Great Hockham Primary School on their visit to Jubilee Fields in Mildenhall to watch Ursula Juta from the Norfolk River Trust releasing the eels into the river. Six schools took part by having tanks in their classroom, looking after the eels and caring for them and a few weeks later got to see them released into the river.
Pupils from Great Hockham Primary School on the bridge watching the eels being released
Pupils from Great Hockham Primary School
Feedback below from local schools who took part:
“Before Ursula came in the children did know we had eels in our local rivers, her lessons were interesting and informative and the children were so inspired we continued our research after she left. We also found that some of our children with profound special and behavioural needs were fascinated by the eels and would spend a great amount of time sitting and watching them.” – Forest Academy, Brandon
‘”We loved the eels, they were cool to watch.” “The workshop was really good, is that teacher coming back?” – Pupils from Drake Primary School
“It felt special to be looking after a critically endangered species.” “It was a pleasure to learn all about the eels – I never knew they were so fascinating!” “I am really pleased with how well we looked after the eels in our classroom;” – Pupils from Barnham Primary School
“From a teacher’s perspective, it is always wonderful to give children these enriched opportunities…The trip was an integral part of the story – the release was great but so too was the visit to the sluice where we could see in real life the problems people have created. Additionally, I always love to give the children the opportunity to learn about different career pathways they might take. Thank you to Ursula for sharing your personal story – that’s perfect for us in our aim to increase the children’s science capital. I know that I would have been inspired to follow a path similar to yours had I had a visit by you when I was 10!” – Teacher from Great Hockham Primary School
3.1 – Citizen Science: Testing the Waters
A huge thank you to all our volunteers who took part, we have now submitted all eDNA water testing to Nature Metrics
for our Citizen Science project. Along with our volunteers, 5 schools in the Brecks have also contributed to the eDNA testing as Anne Carter from the Freshwater Habitats Trust delivered a series of workshops.
The workshops involved children learning how to use the eDNA test kits and the water testing kits and also learning about the importance of clean water to wildlife and people. Below are some drawings children created of what a clean water pond would look like.
4.2 – Celebrating Rivers Heritage
This month saw the opening of the very exciting ‘The Vikings, History on your Doorstep’ exhibition at the Ancient House museum. The exhibition explores the history of the Vikings in Thetford and surrounding areas and the impact they had. During the exhibition you will see a Viking sword and two brooches on loan from the British Museum, a Thor’s hammer pendant discovered in Guildhall Street, Thetford and a rare hoard of King Edmunds pennies, and many more.
4.4 – Healing Waters
1. The Brecks River Day
On 16th July, BFER hosted The Brecks River Day, a health and wellbeing focused event along the River Little Ouse in Thetford. BFER was joined by local organisations including Bush Adventures, Sound and Ground, Yoga with Tracey, and Run Breckland, through the BFER project Healing Waters: Breathe the Brecks
. Visitors took part in free riverside taster sessions, including outdoor yoga, relaxing guided sound meditation, and urban forest bathing exploring the tranquillity of Ford Meadow. Bush Adventures hosted axe throwing and paddle sports along the riverside, and Run Breckland held a family friendly 5k River Run. 38 runners of all ages took part, with the support of 16 volunteer marshals.
2. Wellbeing at West Stow
BFER has collaborated with West Stow Country Park and Anglo-Saxon Village to launch Wellbeing at West Stow,
a programme of three wellbeing weeks taking place over the summer. Each Wellbeing Week includes a series of outdoor wellbeing activities hosted by local practitioners, taking place in the peaceful surrounds of the Country Park. From calming outdoor yoga combining movement with breath, to guided meditation, immersive forest bathing, and therapeutic sound bathing, all sessions are suitable for all levels of experience, including total beginners.
4.5 – Volunteer and Engagement Programme
Little Ouse Little Doors
During the school summer term, BFER engaged pupils of The Bishop’s CE Primary Academy (Thetford) in a project celebrating local river wildlife. Year 3 pupils took part in two creative workshops, learning about the wildlife of their local river, the Little Ouse, and the negative effects that litter has upon this habitat. The pupils each chose a creature and used it as inspiration to design a nature themed door, working with local artist, Jacquie Campbell. The pupils then took part in creative writing workshops with Storyteller, Shane Ibbs. The doors and stories will be displayed as a trail at the Thetford Creative Carnival, Friday 12th
LOHP Celebration Event
In July, BFER joined the Little Ouse Headwaters Project to celebrate their 20th anniversary, at the Festival on the Fens in Thelnetham. BFER hosted children’s natural craft activities .
Throughout the month, BFER also hosted free guided riverside walks in Thetford led by forager and bush craft expert Jon Tyler , and a guided bird walk with the British Trust for Ornithology . Stay tuned to the BFER events page for upcoming activities, events, and guided walks.
BFER Volunteer Opportunities
Become a BFER Events Volunteer:
We are looking for volunteers to assist us at our exciting range of BFER events!
As an Events Volunteer, you will be helping the BFER team to celebrate the fascinating freshwater habitats of the Norfolk and Suffolk Brecks. Whether it’s the history, the unique biodiversity, natural tranquility, or activity opportunities, we are looking for volunteers to assist us in advocating the Brecks and the work of the BFER scheme to wide audiences. As an Events Volunteer, you would be given opportunities to assist at BFER with events and activities, such as guided walks, workshops, talks and information stalls. Tasks would be flexible and varied, and could include greeting and talking to the public, assisting with children’s activities, providing information, tail walking guided walks, photography, and much more. These could include community events, children’s activities, outdoor swimming events, and information stalls.
: Various (dependent on the event). Reasonable out of pocket expenses will be offered.
Required skills and abilities
: No required skills but volunteers should enjoy engaging with the public.
: Various (This is a flexible volunteer offer. Dates of events will be circulated to all events volunteers to choose from).
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join our new team of BFER Blog Writers:
Would you like to write content for a BFER blog? Whether you want to write about the history of an area in the Brecks, celebrate local wildlife, talk about your experiences of outdoor activities such as paddle sports or outdoor swimming, or simply share what makes the Brecks special to you, we would love to hear from you! Blogging Volunteers would have flexibility to choose the topic of their Brecks blog post, and no prior experience is required.
Dates/times: Flexible. Volunteers will be asked to produce at least one blog post.
Contact details: email@example.com
Norfolk Wildlife Trust are looking for a Water Level/ Monitor volunteer for the Ghost Pingo Project. The volunteer will need to regularly record water levels and undertake periodic fixed point photography on sites being targeted by the ‘Ghost Pingo’ project, all in the Breckland area. Collating records and submitting to project lead. Sites need to be checked on a minimum monthly basis. Between 1 and 4 sites will need to be visited (all of which lie within 10 miles of each other, located in the eastern Brecks)
If you are interested, get in touch: BFER.firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Partners below are recruiting volunteers for a variety of exciting projects in the Brecks:
Bush Adventures UK – Events Volunteers and Garden Volunteers
Charles Burrell Museum – Front of House Volunteer, Main Display Area Guide, Café Staff and Engine Specific Volunteer
Tales from the River – Research Volunteer
Run Breckland – Volunteer Marshals
Little Ouse Headwaters Project (LOHP) – Practical Conservation Volunteer
For more information on the opportunities visit: https://brecks.org/bfer/resources/volunteer-hub/
If you are recruiting volunteers in the Brecks area and would like to advertise your opportunities here, please email: email@example.com
We are really excited to share with you some of the wonderful outdoor events and activities that are in the pipeline.
Early Morning Yoga at West Stow Country Park: 1th, 15th August 8am – 9am
Start you Monday with mindfulness by joining our early morning yoga at West Stow Country Park
Introduction to Mediation at West Stow Country Park: 1st, 15th August 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Join us to explore the practices of meditation and breathwork at West Stow Country Park.
Forest Bathing at West Stow: 3rd *SOLD OUT*, 17th August 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Slow down and unwind at West Stow Country Park. Join local practitioner Nicky from Sound and Ground to take part in forest bathing.
Sound Bath at West Stow: 3rd *SOLD OUT*, 17th *SOLD OUT* August 6:45pm – 7:30pm
Take part in a deeply relaxing south bath in the beautiful surroundings of West Stow Country Park. Join local practitioner Nick from Sound and Group to take part in a relaxing sound bath.
Evening Yoga at West Stow: 5th *SOLD OUT*, 19th *SOLD OUT* August 6pm – 7pm
Join local practitioner Tracey for a calming and balancing yoga session. Each session will combine movement with the breath to shake off the week and ease you into your weekend.
Evening Meditation at West Stow: 5th, 19th August 7:15pm – 7:45pm
Join us at West Stow Country Park for an evening of meditation session with local practitioner, Yoga with Tracey. These guided meditation sessions will use breath and visualisation to help you to pause and reset, ready for the weekend.
Guided walk on the wildlife of Cavenham Heath: 12th August 1pm – 4pm
An afternoon guided walk geared for families and young people, exploring the landscape of the National Nature Reserve, Cavenham Heath.
Mildenhall 2K/5K River Run: 14th August 2K Run: 11am, 5K Run 11:30
Join BFER and Run Breckland for a family friendly Riverside run event from Jubilee Fields to Barton Mills.
Nettle Wonder at RSPB Lakenheath Fen Nature Reserve: 27th August 10am – 1pm
Discover the history and many uses of the common nettle, from things to make, eat and drink with foraging and bush-craft expert, Jon Tyler.
Click here to view our events page
Do you have an event you would like us to promote on our newsletter, on our website, or across our social media pages?
Please complete the form for us to share your event:
Event detail form