The country’s largest nature conservation charity has launched an appeal to generate £120,000 to rebuild Snettisham’s wildlife watching hides.
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in Eastern England has kick-started its first crowdfunding appeal that aims to replace Snettisham RSPB reserve’s two wildlife watching hides, which were destroyed by a coastal storm in 2013.
Aiming to raise £120,000 in 30 days, the team want to build a hide that is flood resilient, blends into the landscape, and provides unrivalled viewing of roosting birds on The Wash.
Site manager at Snettisham RSPB reserve, Jim Scott, said: “The devastating tidal surge in December 2013 left a trail of destruction along the Norfolk coastline and at our coastal reserves.
“The surge completely wiped out two of our hides at Snettisham, quite apart from the damage done to the sea banks and lagoons. The photograph of our hide teetering on the edge of collapse was hard to forget.
“This marks the start of trying to rebuild this wonderful place so that people can experience the wildlife of The Wash at the very heart of it. Snettisham is a place that thousands of people can enjoy every year. With their support I hope we can make it even better and inspire more people, especially the younger generations with the amazing wildlife of this special place.”
Crowdfunding allows members of the public to donate money in exchange for rewards, many of which are exclusive and “money can’t buy” experiences.
Snettisham RSPB reserve has managed to secure a photography master class with Chris Gomersall, a Wild Goose Chase with Paul Eele, original watercolour painting by Steve Cale, among more.
RSPB’s public affairs manager, Steve Rowland, said: “We want to share Snettisham with people, and we want to share the wildlife with people.
“Snettisham has the ability to make people happy. People get up in the early hours and travel down to Snettisham because it improves their well-being.
“But, if people don’t understand something, if they don’t experience it, why would they care about its future?
“It is really important that we do what we can to get people to see the wildlife. But, to do that we risk the wildlife that people came to see. That is why we want to replace the hide we lost in the surge in December 2013.
“That surge tide destroyed hides. We had four hides at the time, one just disappeared – we don’t know where that went. It just went.
“We had one that was okay, we had another that was damaged and one that was picked up by the sea, turned 180 degrees and put down at a really jaunty angle, which meant we couldn’t use it.
“We need to put something in place that is resilient. We want to keep sharing this place with people and we don’t want to disturb the birds. We are trying to put in place something that is resilient and will last.”
To support Snettisham RSPB reserve, visit crowdfunder.co.uk/snettishamhide