I have always loved the sea. I was drawn to it as a small child by the smell of salty air, the sound and momentum of waves arriving on the shoreline with great haste or complete laziness and the feel of wet sand underfoot. These have all inspired me to live or work close to the sea where I can.
I took up scuba diving at the age of 40 so that I could enjoy and better understand the amazing world that lives beneath the waves. In the years since, I have come across the beautiful, the strange and the bewildering.
Even in the cold seas that bathe Britain’s coastlines, there is a myriad of marine life that thrives here.
We are lucky to have a vast diversity of habitats and landscapes in the UK and, no doubt, we all have a special place that inspires us.
It could be the iconic, such as the Peak District, Land’s End or the Norfolk Broads, or perhaps the everyday – the local park, the village pond or your back garden.
For the most part, we forge an emotional connection with the environment around us and, in return, we enjoy its beauty, solace or inspiration.
I also love being on our RSPB reserves in Titchwell Marsh and Snettisham, where wild landscapes beckon and cool winds carry the scent of the sea over reed beds and salt marshes.
Lagoons and mud flats at Snettisham are filled with roosting birds, while Titchwell’s reed beds provide a sanctuary for elusive water voles, otters and bitterns.
From wide, open beaches to views of rolling hills, these reserves are a haven for wildlife and a retreat from urban living.
Left unchecked, the effects of global warming will have a detrimental impact on these amazing places.
As sea levels rise and wave-tide action along our shorelines accelerates, even inland habitats are left vulnerable to the consequences of climate change.
The RSPB is taking strong action to mitigate the outcome of a changing climate and, at Titchwell Marsh reserve, we have put strategies in place to protect low-lying inland areas and reduce the impact of coastal surges.
This month, we are launching our Show the Love campaign, which is one element of the Climate Coalition’s ongoing strategy to encourage the UK public to protect the special places that inspire us.
Visitors to RSPB Titchwell Marsh can learn more about our plans to future-proof our wetland areas against climate change and how this will help wildlife adapt to a shifting world.
We are inviting visitors to join our warden behind the scenes at Titchwell as he explores the possibility of new species arriving on the reserve and the creation of habitats to encourage breeding productivity.
During half-term week, families can take part in a variety of activities, including craft making with natural materials, where visitors will be invited to make a green Valentine’s heart for our discovery tree, or write a love letter to the reserve.
Alternatively, you can discover more of our beautiful reserve as you complete our ‘nature out of place’ discovery trail.
The warden’s walk takes place on Thursday from 1pm (booking is essential) and our drop-in family activity days will be held on Monday and Thursday, February 16, from 10 am onwards.
You can find out more about these and other activities on our website at www.rspb.org.uk/titchwellmarsh.
For more information on The Climate Coalition and its goals to tackle climate change, go online at www.theclimatecoalition.org.