The England Curlew Recovery Partnership (CRP) was launched exactly a year ago, on 01 March 2021; this blog therefore reviews some of our activities and achievements over the last 12 months and previews some of our upcoming events.
1. Getting the word out!
Our first task when we launched was to tell people about the CRP, raise awareness of the plight of the Curlew, and build a network of Curlew conservationists.
A dedicated CRP website also went live on launch day here, providing 1) information about the CRP, 2) information about Curlews, and 3) a variety of Curlew conservation resources.
The CRP blog here has received almost 5000 views in total and includes posts on a wide range of topics; some of our most popular posts include 1) a summary of recent Curlew-focussed research articles, 2) advice on how to help protect Curlews nesting in silage fields, and 3) individual perspectives provided by the CRP Chair, Manager, and Steering Group members.
We have provided articles about the CRP for specialist publications such as The Field, Shooting Times, and the Countryside Jobs Service, to ensure we reach a wide variety of Curlew practitioners.
We have dedicated CRP social media streams, with over 400 members on our Facebook page and over 700 followers on Twitter.
After our launch we quickly established a network of Curlew conservationists across England, which now comprises over 300 members including farmers, ornithologists, estate owners, gamekeepers, and general Curlew enthusiasts.
We provide regular email updates to our network members, alerting them to CRP activities, funding opportunities, and general Curlew news and info.
2. Provision of resources and information for spring 2021
Once we were up and running, our next task was to quickly compile and disseminate resources and information that could be used by Curlew fieldworkers during the spring 2021 breeding season. A few examples are provided below:
We were able to launch the Curlew Fieldworker Toolkit here and helped promote the BTO Wader Calendar to support those undertaking Curlew survey and monitoring.
On World Curlew Day 2021 we hosted an online evening seminar with four expert speakers and made the videos available on our CRP YouTube channel here.
We sponsored the amazing Curlew Cam here, delivered by our partners at Curlew Country, allowing a wider audience to enjoy intimate images of nesting Curlews.
3. Consulting on our future priorities
A key activity in our first six months was to gather feedback from our network members and partners that would enable us to identify and deliver priority actions. We achieved this by:
Delivering five regional online workshops across England, providing a brief update on CRP activities but primarily allowing network members to talk about the main Curlew conservation issues in their region.
Conducting an online Curlew practitioner survey that received over 400 responses, primarily from farmers, gamekeepers, landowners, and conservationists.
Compiling ad hoc feedback (via email and phone discussions) from our network members.
The outcome was the CRP work programme, which can be viewed on the CRP website here. This work programme is being delivered by a series of working groups, chaired by CRP Steering Group members, and supported by 20 expert advisors.
4. Background activities
As well as the time-bound activities listed above, we also undertake lots of routine activities that don’t make the headlines but nevertheless form an important component of our work:
We engage with policymakers to inform and influence policy, including agri-environment schemes, forestry, and recreational access; it was encouraging to see Curlew specifically mentioned as a priority species in the recent Defra announcement here about the Landscape Recovery component of the new Environmental Land Management scheme.
We have provided support and advice to many individuals and organisations involved in Curlew conservation and have responded to enquiries from network members on a wide range of topics; examples include advice on how Curlew conservation can be incorporated into AES such as the Defra Farming in Protected Landscapes scheme (see here), and local planning applications that may impact breeding or wintering Curlews.
Thanks to generous donations from network members, we have been able to financially support a local Curlew project in north Wiltshire this year and have also received sponsorship that is supporting our field training this spring.
The CRP is represented on the UK and Ireland Curlew Action Group (CAG), and we recently hosted an online meeting of CAG that was focussed on interactions with policymakers.
We have also provided support and resources to our colleagues at Curlew Wales, who recently launched a Wales Action Plan for Curlew here.
5. Coming soon…
We have lots of exciting CRP activities planned for this spring, with a few examples provided below:
We are delivering one-day training workshops on Curlew survey and monitoring for over 35 fieldworkers; the two workshops will be in early April in northern England (hosted by Abbeystead Estate) and southern England (hosted by RSPB Otmoor).
We will soon be releasing interim Curlew survey and monitoring guidance that can be used by local projects on a trial basis this spring, with a view to iterating and releasing in final form ready for spring 2023.
We will be releasing a CRP video on nest fencing in early April, to assist Curlew conservationists seeking to deploy fences to protect breeding Curlews from predators.
We will be establishing an online CRP land managers forum, to enable those organisations who are not on the CRP Steering Group but who manage land with large numbers of breeding Curlews, to identify key issues and share information and best practise.
We will be running a Twitterstorm on World Curlew Day focussed on capturing images, videos, and observations of Curlews during the day, as well as another online evening seminar.
Our Steering Group will be attending a two-day workshop next week to assess progress, discuss our future vision, and identify priorities for future funding bids that are intended to secure our long-term future and enable us to deliver and support a wider range of field-based activities.
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us in our first year. If you aren’t a member of the CRP network and would like to receive our regular updates, then drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.