A CONSERVATION charity is launching an urgent public appeal to raise £25,000 to help create a new nature reserve in East Staffordshire.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is aiming to raise the cash by the end of November to go towards the purchase of Tucklesholme Quarry, which is based at the side of the River Trent near Barton under Needwood.
Plans include turning part of the 130-acre site, currently a sand and gravel quarry, into the largest reedbed in Staffordshire’s Trent Valley.
Guy Corbett-Marshall, chief executive of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Tucklesholme has all the right ingredients to become one of our finest nature reserves.
“At 130 acres, it is large enough to create the large expanse of reedbed that wading birds, most notably the threatened bittern, need to thrive.
“If we can raise the money before extraction is complete, we will be able to work with the digger drivers to make the right shapes, slopes and islands needed to create habitats that are perfect for wildlife.”
Some areas of Tucklesholme are already in a transitional period with shallow lagoons hosting small waders and wildfowl.
It is hoped the proposed reedbeds will attract Bitterns, a secretive member of the heron family, to breed in Staffordshire for the first time in more than 100 years.
Helen Dale, head of people and property at the trust, said: “Historically, bitterns were relatively common in Staffordshire, but numbers plummeted during the 1800s as the reedbeds that these birds depend on were drained for farming.
“Proposals and plans have already been developed to create the perfect habitat for bittern at Tucklesholme, as well as a host of other species, and all we need now is help from our supporters to raise the final amount needed to buy the site.”
Donations can be via www.justgiving.com/tucklesholme