Archived reports of meetings in 2017

8th March

Froglife Wildlife Workshop

James McAdie, River Nene Dragon Finder Project Manager for the lottery funded national Froglife wildlife conservation charity, provided an instructive and entertaining workshop for The March Society.

Froglife is concerned with the conservation of the UK's amphibians and reptiles. James manages projects that include the creation and restoration of wildlife habitats across the River Nene. He described how to identify different varieties of native frogs, toads, newts and snakes.

He talked about the loss of their habitats due to industrial development and housebuilding. Very useful advice was given about counteracting some of this decline by creating small ponds in domestic gardens, as well as providing bird boxes, bat boxes and bug hotels for other wildlife. He got everyone to design frog/newt friendly gardens using sets of models.

Froglife staff and volunteers work across the country giving talks, training, guided walks, surveys and boat tours. The Froglife website provides lots more information about their work and events.

8th February

March Rotary Club

The numerous activities of March's Rotary Club were outlined by Alan Burdass in his interesting talk at the latest meeting of the March Society.

The March Rotarians are a very active group. The March Club was established in 1956 and it is one of 34,000 Rotary Clubs operating across 200 countries. Major international projects include helping to eradicate polio, water sanitation, providing disaster relief facilities and the promotion of education. The ‘Shelter Boxes’ used in disaster relief areas are displayed at the annual March Summer Fair. Contents vary according to where they are going and may contain tools, blankets, tents etc.

Most of the income from the March Club is spent locally and the club has raised funds to purchase blood pressure monitors and defibrillators for the use of March residents. It also supports the annual Fenland Music Concert for young musicians and days out for disadvantaged young people.

A regular source of income for the March Club is the collection and selling on of bundles of old newspapers. These are recycled into horse bedding. Donations of old newspapers will be gratefully accepted at the collection point in the coach park behind the Iceland Store. A collection van is parked there between 10-12am on every second Saturday of the month.

11th January

Hereward the Wake

David Maile gave an interesting and informative talk to The March Society on Hereward the Wake. The aim is to raise the profile of this Fenland hero.

Many in the audience had travelled from outlying parts of Fenland and beyond to hear David's talk. Hereward the Wake was, for a long time, seen as an English folklore figure. The Victorians regarded him as a legend who exemplified all that was great about the English and the British Empire.

More facts about his life and times have been uncovered since then. He had been fighting in Flanders but returned to England to fight against William the Conqueror and the Norman Conquest from a base in Ely. When Ely was taken by the Normans, Hereward and his supporters escaped and continued to resist them from Fenland, Lincolnshire and Norfolk.

Facts about this and the latter part of Hereward's life are still scarce and there are several contradictory stories about much of Hereward the Wake's life. David compared Hereward the Wake to Robin Hood and suggested that the local tourist industry would hugely benefit if resources were provided to promote and celebrate Hereward the Wake's life and deeds in the Fens.