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BFER May Newsletter 2022

View this email in your browser Download as a PDF BFER NEWSLETTER May 2022 Welcome to the BFER newsletter Welcome to the May newsletter! As another month ticks by we’ve been working hard with our partners to develop plans for lots of exciting events over the summer months. Highlights for May will include kicking off […]

May 2022

Welcome to the BFER newsletter

Welcome to the May newsletter!

As another month ticks by we’ve been working hard with our partners to develop plans for lots of exciting events over the summer months. Highlights for May will include kicking off our Introduction to Outdoor swimming events for 2022 with an event at Mildenhall on the 29th of May. Make sure you follow us on Social Media to be among the first to get further details of how to book.

We’re also pleased to highlight more exciting volunteering opportunities across the Scheme and beyond in this month’s edition, alongside a call out for any community groups or local organisations that need support or funding to deliver projects that are in line with our objectives – see below for more info.

Finally, I’m delighted to share our plans for the new BFER blog. If you’d like to share your thoughts, feelings, research, or stories about the Brecks, we’d love you to get involved.

I hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter where you can find out a lot more about these activities, as well take a look at all of the things coming up soon.

BFER Scheme Manager

If you are interested in applying and would like to know more


Project Focus

1.5 Lost Ponds: Reinstating Ghost Pingos

This month we returned to the pingo ponds excavation site to see how they have formed over the last 8 months since we last visited. The first dig of the pingo ponds in September started at the top left-hand corner of the field above. Since then 4 more ponds have been dug up and we are pleased to see that the pingo ponds have been restored.


During our visit, we met up with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust site manager John Preston who gave us a tour of the restored pingo ponds and the existing ponds to the northwest of the site. John was full of knowledge about the pingo ponds and the amount of biodiversity they hold. We also spotted some ‘Water Violet‘ growing in one of the pingo ponds.

1.2 – Sea to Chalk: Restoring Sea Trout and Eels
After a big push on social media looking to reach out to local schools, we are pleased to say we now have 6 schools involved in our Eels in the Classroom project. The aim of the project is for these 6 schools to have a tank of eels in their school, learn about their life cycle and their local importance, and a few weeks later release them into the river.
This map shows the schools taking part in the project. We will be collecting young eels called elver in May with an aim to release them in July. 

For the local schools who were interested in our project, but unfortunately due to funding we could only have 6 schools, we are hoping to find other activities for those who were interested to engage. If you are from a local school in the Brecks and are focusing on rivers next term, please let get in touch:

3.1 – Citizen Science: Testing the Waters
Towards the beginning of April, we hosted a zoom session with the Freshwater Habitats Trust to introduce volunteers to this year’s portion of the Citizen Science project. This year volunteers will head out across the Brecks testing the water using eDNA test kits, these test kits will look for DNA of vertebrates who have used the water of any kind. We were joined by 30 volunteers during the zoom session, to learn about the project and how to use the eDNA test kits.

Since the zoom session, lots of volunteers have been out already testing the water across the Brecks. Below are a few photos our volunteers have shared across social media. Once our volunteers have tested the water, the samples will be sent to Nature Metrics who will extract the data from the samples and find out which vertebrates are around our waters. Later this year we will hopefully share this data with everyone and put it on our website.


credit: Sam Hurst & Nicole Crockford

4.6 – 3rd Party Grant Fund


Spotlight on the Brecks
In April the BFER team took a trip to Santon Downham to explore and learn more about the project area. During our trip we walked along the Little Ouse river, spotting beautiful locations for outdoor swimming and bathing in the river (especially on a hot summer’s day). Further along, Spring had definitely arrived as we noticed lots of different species of butterflies. 
How many can you identify?

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 tranquillity, 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 be given opportunities to assist at BFER events, from setting up, greeting and talking to the public, and running activities. These could include community events, children’s activities, outdoor swimming events, and information stalls.
Location: 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.
Dates/times: Various (This is a flexible volunteer offer. Dates of events will be circulated to all events volunteer to choose from).
Contact details:

Join our new team of BFER Blog Writers:

BFER is setting up a blog, on which we will be sharing articles and features that celebrate the fascinating freshwater habitats of the Norfolk and Suffolk Brecks. From what makes the natural biodiversity of the Brecks to special, to uncovering the history of the area, sharing the joys of paddle sports or outdoor swimming, to exploring how the tranquil landscapes can positively benefit a sense of wellbeing, the blog will be a space for advocating the BFER scheme. We are seeking volunteers to write blog posts to be featured on the blog. Whether a personal account of what makes the Brecks special to you, or a researched insight into a particular area or subject, blogging volunteers will be given the flexibility to choose topics based on their own interests.
Location: Remote
Required skills and abilities: No prior experience required. Introductory training will be provided.
Dates/times: Flexible. Volunteers will be asked to produce at least one blog post.
Contact details:

Butterfly Conservation


Butterfly Conservation is surveying for three threatened moth species this year along river corridors in the Brecks. We are keen to hear from anyone who has spotted Common Meadow Rue which is the caterpillar foodplant for Marsh Carpet moth or Redcurrant/Blackcurrant which is used by both V-moth and Currant Shoot-borer micro moth.


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:

If you are recruiting volunteers in the Brecks area and would like to advertise your opportunities here, please email:

Upcoming Events

We are really excited to share with you some of the wonderful outdoor events and activities that are in the pipeline.

BFER Events

Tales from the River – Thetford Library Drop-in Event: 3rd May
Come along and tell us your stories of playing in the river in the Brecks
Click here for more info

Suffolk Walking Festival: 14th – 29th May
There are lots of walking events happening in the Brecks, so click here for more info

Abbey Gardens BioBlitz event: 21st May
Organised by Bury St Edmunds Water Meadows group, hunt for as many species of plant, insect, and animals as you can. We are hoping to join with a BFER stand, promoting the scheme.

Intro to Outdoor Swimming event: 29th May
We are excited to start our outdoor swimming events with the first being held at Mildenhall. Details on how to book coming soon.

Thetford River Day: 16th July (SAVE THE DATE)
confirmed Thetford 5km River-Run in partnership with Run Breckland
Craft events and activities including mini raft crafts

Festival of the Fens – Celebrating 20 years of LOHP event – 3rd July 11am to 4pm
We will be supporting our friends at LOHP at Parkers Piece, opposite Thelnetham Windmill with a stall and hopefully various craft activities, so add this date to your diary and we hope to see lots of you there!


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

Social Media
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Are you subscribed to us on YouTube?

We will be creating more video content this year so make sure to subscribe to us on YouTube and hit the notification bell!

While we are out filming videos for you, you can watch our latest video here:

Tales from the River – Interview ‘Mary’

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