Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Paradise regained

"The older we get the more we realize that our lives have been influenced by certain places and certain people without our fully knowing just how much. They are there in our memory, like photographs put into an album and probably not looked at for another thirty years or more. Yet we always know they are there, that those moments were once part of our lives and that we are wiser because of those experiences".

These are the wonderful words of Edward Storey, the fenland writer and poet, written as a tribute to those who have protected Woodwalton Fen, especially Gordon Mason.

Last week I was privileged to record on video and audio the 50th anniversary of Woodwalton Fen as a National Nature Reserve (NNR). The day was a wonderful celebration of photographs, nature walk and memories with a very distinguished collection of people who had been involved in the fen over the years.

The sun came out, two marsh harriers and a hobby took to the air as we walked along past the reed beds, meres and beautiful grasslands.

My favourite quote of the day, from the speech given by our director, Andy in the shadow of the Rothchild bungalow, was "Here I am with my wellies on, bins (binoculars) around my neck, a glass of champagne in my hand and standing here with you all at Woodwalton Fen, what more could anyone want."

I now have 60 minutes of video and more than 4 hours of audio on minidisc to process into a priceless momento of the day.

More importantly the sense of connection, of belonging was so strong you could amost see it physically. I hope everyone came away as inspired as I was at the dedication and determination of the people, how wonderfully peaceful and historic the fen landscape can be and how visionary and revolutionery are the future plans of joining up our existing reserves into one large fen as part of the 'Great Fen' Project.

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