Hopes Suffolk Nature Summit will become a regular event at locations around the county
PUBLISHED: 13:58 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:37 18 June 2019
Suffolk Wildlife Trust hails success of event aimed at sparking debate about the state of the region's natural world.
A Suffolk Wildlife Trust event aimed at highlighting issues of nature conservation in the county was such a success that the charity hopes to make it "a regular occurrence".
The Trust held its first Nature Summit earlier this month at the DanceEast studio on Ipswich's Waterfront, and according to campaigns manager Kerry Stranix, the organisation now intends to hold similar events once every two years at different venues across Suffolk.
"It was a great evening. The auditorium was packed and there was lively debate throughout," said Ms Stranix.
"The Trust hopes conversations started at the Nature Summit will continue to spark ideas for action and has plans to make the event a regular occurrence."
It is hoped the event will be "biennial and spread across the county," she added.
The Nature Summit, held on Friday June 7, included talks, panel discussions and the opportunity for audience members to question politicians and environmentalists on a broad range of issues from agriculture to school climate strikes.
High on the agenda were topics such as marine plastics, species loss and shifting baselines, illustrated perfectly when head of conservation for the Trust, Ben McFarland, suggested to the audience that "we have forgotten what good looks like" when it comes to healthy and thriving ecosystems.
Among the speakers were Suffolk Coastal MP and Environment Minister Therese Coffey who spoke about the Government's commitment to supporting grass-roots conservation action and Ipswich MP Sandy Martin, who answered questions from the audience about the Labour motion for Government to declare a climate emergency.
Dr Amy-Jane Beer, contributor to Chris Packham's People's Manifesto for Wildlife spoke of issues of inclusivity in nature conservation and a panel of young environmentalists spoke candidly about their hopes and fears for the planet.
A film showcasing local wildlife initiatives highlighted just what can be achieved when people come together to take targeted action for threatened species such as swifts and hedgehogs.
The evening concluded with a potted history of Wildlife Trust campaigns and achievements from CEO Steph Hilborne.
Ms Hilborne touched on the environmental challenges we now face as a society and how ambitious environmental legislation is a key part of addressing these challenges. She urged the audience to help secure a wilder future by adding their own voice and actions before delegates rounded off the evening with conversation and live music in the bar.