”I’m coming to every one, it’s like going on a course”

”I don’t remember everything that I was told on the walks but now sometimes when I see something I suddenly remember what was said about it and I LOOK much more than I used to”

”I never realised the Green was such a good nature site, I thought it was just a green space to take the dog for a walk”

”Oh, how sad it’s the last one”

”Please will you do some more?”

Just some of the feedback the organising team got from those of you who joined us during the four week long festival- A HUGE THANKS to those who have been quoted above and to everyone who attended the events and who made it all possible.

The planning for the festival began as far back as October 2011 when the Millennium Green Trust applied for a grant from the British Ecological Society in order to put on a series of ecological themed events that would form part of country wide series of events to celebrate the centenary of the BES in 2013. We were the only successful candidate in Suffolk and the funding was put toward staging the following walks, talks, surveys and creativity;-

19th June- Geology & Ecology Walk (Dale Peck)

Gathering at White Bridge for the first event and Dale starts his introduction to the various geological layers and habitats that make up the Millennium Green. A story that covers over 2 million years of turbulent change from warm shallow seas to ice sheets and boggy fen. It’s hard to believe all this went on what is now the Green when you see it today.

26th June- Plant Walk (Graham Peck)

Graham leads the walk, with umbrella’s both up and down, to discover the many varied plants that are to be found on the Green- tall ones, short ones, some growing on the bottom of water courses, some floating on the waters courses, others growing in the cracks of manmade structuers. There’s a rich variety of flora to be discovered on the Millennium Green.

30th June- Reptile & Amphibian Survey (Etienne Swartz)

It was well worth the early 8am start as Etienne taught those that had set their alarm clocks all about our native reptiles and amphibians including their habits & habitats and how to survey for them- two Slow worms, a Grass snake and toad tadpoles were all recorded during the morning

30th June- Small Mammal Survey (Kelly Jacobs)

From Reptiles & Amphibians to Small Mammals. Kelly explains the methods of humanely trapping and recording small mammals- using tube traps (visible in the top photo), that were set the night before and filled with a ‘mouth watering’ treat of peanut butter, porridge oats, apple and maggots, to catch any resident small mammals. These are then checked and any occupants carefully recorded and released back to where that particular trap was set. Three Common Shrew and one Wood Mouse were recorded via the trapping, one other Common Shrew was noted under a galvanise sheet during the morning.

3rd July- Hedges, Trees & Orchards Walk (Richard Woolnough and Mike Wade)

The group was split into two for this walk with one half heading for the Community Orchard (top photo) with Mike to learn about the various fruit trees planted there and how to go about pruning them while the other half went with Richard to discover the many trees that can be found on the Green and how they can be identified, aged and recorded. It was all change half way through the evening in order for both groups to partake in both walks/workshop.

7th July- Dragonflies & Damselflies Survey (Graham Peck)

A sunny and hot Sunday morning saw Graham teach us all about Dragonflies and Damselfies- including their evolution and life cycles. The following species were spotted on the day;-

Dragonflies- Four-spotted chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer

Damselflies- Azure, Blue-tailed, Large Red, Emerald, Banded Demoiselle

10th July Bat Walk (Alan Miller & Etienne Swartz)

A 9pm start did not deter fifty people from turning out on a July evening to learn about Bats, and how to use Bat detectors, from Alan and Ettiene. It was not the best of conditions to carry out such a survey- although three species of Bats were detected, these being Soprano pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus), Common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus), Noctule (Nyctalus noctula)-however as the light faded and night took hold we discovered that we had the following residents on the Green…

…yes Glow Worms. In fact they are not worms at all but beetles. The male is winged but the ‘laviform female’ is flightless. She sits in grass and low vegation at dusk and uses a form of bioluminesecence (the glow itself) to attract the males. Five Glow Worms were noted on the walk itself and as people dispersed 14 more were reported. This was a very exciting discovery (and one of the highlights of the festival) because apart from a well known sight in a nearby churchyard very few (if any) other sights have been recorded in the area surrounding Halesworth.

13th July Eco Fair- Science & Surveying Day

Linda (with help from Graham and Jill) carries out an ‘invertebrates safari’ in Folly Meadow, The Folly was also surveyed and the following was noted on the day;-

Greenfly, Field Grasshopper, Formica Fusca Ant, Figwort Weevil, Black Ant, A species of Red Ant, Woodlouse, A species of  Snail, Thick-legged Flower Beetle (Oedemera nobilis), Aphid, Woodlouse, ‘Oak’ Weevil, ‘Garlic’ Snail, ‘Oak’ Spider, A Springtail, Black Ant, Digger wasp.

The pond dipping activity (led by Kelly) proved to be very popular, the following was found over the course of the day;-

Wandering Snail, Flatworms, Water Boatmen (both species), Leech, Whirligig Beetle, Midge larvae, Water Fleas, Springtails, Hoglouse, Water Beetle larvae, Peashell (a small fresh water Clam), Cased Caddisfly larvae, Freshwater Shrimp, Snail eggs, Beetle larvae, 10-Spined Stickleback, Mayfly larvae, Dragonfly larvae, Tadpoles, Damselfly larvae, Colymbetes Beetles, Eft (immature Newts).

John on the nature table where people could come and study Owl pellets, shed Grass snake skins and various bones & remains of creatures that both live and don’t live on the Millennium Green.

The festival volunteers take time out to relax and enjoy a BBQ around the camp fire- further Glow Worms were spotted during an informal night walk and a Tawny Owl and Fox were both heard during the evening.

14th July Eco Fair- Craft & Creative Day

Under the guidance of willow artist Maggie Campbell the willow sculpture begins to take shape.

Meraylah Allwood runs through the process of making paint pigment from natural materials and how this was used by artists in the Tudor period- those who wanted to had the opportunity to produce their own scroll using these old methods.

Lots of activity around the natural dyes demonstration led by Jayne Stansfield and Heather Calo.

Nature themed poetry transformed the ‘willow tunnel/seat’ into the ‘poetry tunnel/seat’- pencils and paper were left at the seat for anyone inspired enough to have a go at their own poem.

All hands on deck to finish off the willow sculpture…

…the finished piece!

17th July Owl Walk- Steve Piotrowski

Steve rounds the festival off by educating those gathered all about Owls, their habitats and the positioning of nest boxes. The evening ended in perfect style as those present were treated to the sight of a Barn Owl hunting over Lester’s Piece.