I have met many interesting and interested people onboard the King of Scandanvia whilst working for ORCA. We now have several new members and people keen to get involved with the charity in some way.
A massive factor that distinguishes ORCA as a charity is its ability and enthuasium for collaboration with others. Perhaps if we all work together we really can change things for nature and for ourselves…for the better.
On one particular crossing I met Linn Treadwell who is not only a volunteer with Natuurmonumenten in the Netherlands but also passionate campaigner with Primates helping primates – a dutch charity (working under the BOS Foundation) and they are committed to working to conserve the Orangutang population in Bornos rainforest. Linn tells me that they have hundreds of resuced Orangutangs in a centre that cannot be released until they have a reserve of trees. The problem is palm oil. Massive plantations of these plantations involve slashing and burning the primates habitat leaving may homeless, killed and orphaned. A new scheme to promote the sustainable collection of palm sugar is helping to re-establish and conserve areas of forest and at the same time providing an income for local workers. Palm oil is in lots of food and cosmetics so check the labels and try to avoid it!
Linn took me on an excursion to view some of what a trip to North Holland has to offer other than the city of Amsterdam. Not far up the coast the stunning colours of red, yellow, black tulips painted the fileds like a flag. In those fields are smaller canals of water with plenty of wildfowl feeding close by. Grey herons, White stalks, Lapwings flew by and I was overwelmed by all that you can see just driving through.
Naturrmonumenten in Netherlands is similar to the National Trust in England and lucky for us there are at least 2 nature reserves nearby where the ferry docks. Myself and Linn visited Zwanenwater a huge sand dune system very near to a popular area for camping and beach holidays. It has 2 huge polos where we saw Sawbills, Gadwell, Shelduck making good use of them. Breeding at the reserve are the more unusual blue throats and Spoonbills. The bluethroat is similar to the robin in stature but has a brilliant blue on its throat. The spoonbill is surely a bird of surprise with a long bill that is yellow and spoon-shaped at the end. We met the Wardens who were very friendly and happy to guide walks and give talks to interested UK parties. Entry into these reserves is only 2 euros and they really are a place of peace and tranquility and full of natural surprises. Well worth a visit from the ferry.
So in ORCAs 10th year as a leading UK Marine Conservation Charity, and 15 years of DFDS sailings on the Newcastle to Imjuinden route, and in the year 2010’s celebration of Biodiversity, we are happy to be continuing to forage the links between people and the ocean environment that we sail across providing activities to appreciate our natural world.
Please visit ORCAs website to see some of the activities taking place to Celebrate the charitys 10th Anniversary http://www.orcaweb.org.uk/ or find us on Facebook
Kathryn Driscoll Senior Wildlife Education Officer ORCA Organisation Cetacea