Twenty six people from a wide variety of conservation groups across Bexley (and beyond) came to our first social event at Bexley library last night (August 18th). Whilst something of an experiment, with the aim of mixing a ‘networking’ opportunity with some mildly educational short talks, it seems to have worked pretty well, and I expect we will now press ahead and see if a regular event every two months continues to attract a decent number of people.
It was particularly pleasing to see some new faces, including people who had only recently moved to the area and wanted to find out more about what was going on, and to see attendees wanting to sign up to and get actively involved with some of the organisations present. Those who came along included members of, and people involved with, the Friends of Crossness Nature Reserve, Lesnes Abbey (woods) Conservation Volunteers, Ruxley Beekeepers, Keats organic growing project, Friends of Footscray Meadows, Bexley Natural Environment Forum, a member of Friends of the Earth, Local Agenda 21 traffic and transport group, two people from the nascent Divest Bexley campaign (aiming to persuade Bexley Council to disinvest pension and other monies from fossil fuel companies), the Ruxley Gravel Pits nature reserve team, Save Our Green Spaces and Old Farm Park campaigners, Bexley and Bromley Green Party, Thames21 River Cray crew and Friends of the River Shuttle.
Hopefully this meant another of our objectives was met, namely helping people feel part of a bigger community of groups and individuals working to study, protect and enhance nature in Bexley.
We are grateful to Michael Heath for talking about the important year-round River Cray Project, which he leads with aplomb, and to Site Manager Karen Sutton who spoke eloquently about the history, habitats and wildlife of Erith Marshes and Crossness Nature Reserve.
Such was the time taken up with tea, cakes and general chatter that the third scheduled talk was postponed to another occasion, and no one had the energy to go to the pub afterwards.
Martin Watts from the Ruxley Gravel Pits team said ‘It was a very successful meeting you organised. There was a diverse selection of people there; it was good to be able to make contact with them. Linda and I enjoyed the whole evening especially the talks.’
Thanks to everyone who participated and we hope to see even more people next time.
Jonathan Rooks and Chris Rose.