On October 5, the Essex Wildlife Trust’s annual general meeting at Abberton celebrated its 60th anniversary.

Ray Marsh, who featured last month, having just passed the same milestone, was among those who received a presentation for all his work as Skippers Island warden.

An inaugural meeting in Chelmsford on October 3,1959, formed the originally named Essex Naturalists’ Trust “to take action before it is too late to safeguard wherever possible, what remains and encourage the intelligent conservation of nature.”

Fingringhoe Wick, a disused gravel pit, became the first reserve in 1961, and the first visitor/education centre was opened there in 1975 with subsequently ten more across the county to attract the wider public especially families with children.

These are often collaborative ventures as with Walton’s Naze Centre, in conjunction with the local council.

The trust grew from an initial 110 members to 12,000 by 1989 with 75 nature reserves.

A further 30 years on there are 38,000 and 87 reserves covering 8,400 acres.

Tendring is proud of its nature reserves. The first and largest is at Colne Point with its shingle ridges dates back to 1968 and also in St Osyth is Howlands coastal grazing marsh behind St Osyth Priory from 1989.

Great Holland Pits, a mini-Fingringhoe, since 1971 and more recently a mixture of gravel workings and woodland at Cockaynes Wood, Alresford, run with a local trust of the wood’s friends.

Of bluebell fame, Weeleyhall and Copperas Woods, Ramsey, have been owned since 1976 and 1980 as prime examples of Essex’s important ancient woodland.

The trust strives to raise the wildlife profile and the environment countywide in times of ever increasing pressure.

Reserves alone as often isolated enclaves can struggle to conserve vulnerable wildlife. Natural corridors across the wider landscape including built-up areas are championed as green lungs and for everyday outdoor contact with nature.

For your diary: Wednesday, November 26, at 7.30pm - The Working Life of a Tree-climbing Ecologist, by Hazel Robson at Great Bentley Village Hall