Young bird-ringer wins Suffolk group award

Fourteen-year-old Laura Raven with her Garrod Award trophy and Jean Garrod, who presented it to her.

Fourteen-year-old Laura Raven with her Garrod Award trophy and Jean Garrod, who presented it to her. Also pictured at therecent Suffolk Ornithologists' Group annual general meeting are Denis Ockelton Trophy winner David Pearsons, left, and group chairman Gi Grieco. Picture: JOHN GRANT - Credit: Archant

Suffolk Ornithologists’ Group honours Scole teeneager

Teenager Laura Raven has an affinity with birds that goes far beyond simply having a distinctly ornithological surname.

Supported by a nature-loving family, 14-year-old Laura has a passion for studying birds that has won her an award that was set up to acknowledge young people’s efforts on behalf of Suffolk ornithology.

Laura, of Scole, near Diss, is this year’s recipient of the Suffolk Ornithologists’ Group’s Garrod Award, thanks to her impressive bird-ringing activities. She was presented with the Garrod Award trophy - set up by group stalwart Jean Garrod in memory of her late husband Ken - at the group’s recent annual general meeting at the University of Suffolk’s Waterfront Building.

A trainee bird-ringer in a strictly controlled national scheme licensed and administered by the Thetford-based British Trust for Ornithology, Laura is supervised by experienced Suffolk trainer Chris McIntyre. She has been involved in bird-ringing - in which birds are caught and carefully fitted with lightweight, individually identifiable leg rings before their release - for more than two years. She has ringed a total of almost 1,000 birds of 52 species during studies at RSPB Minsmere, Dunwich, Bawdsey and Thorndon.

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A citation for the award was presented by Suffolk ornithologist Steve Piotrowski, who is the author of The Birds of Suffolk, a group vice-president and a driving force behind the Waveney Bird Club.

He told the group that Laura’s parents, Mike and Angie, were keen conservationists who met when they were volunteering for the RSPB at its famous Minsmere nature reserve. “They have encouraged both their daughters to love and respect nature from a very young age , he said. “I think it’s fair to say that with their guidance Laura is true testimony to just what wonderful people youngsters can become if given the right love and support.”

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He added: “Laura has blossomed as a ringer, being extremely skilful and dexterous and she is a very fast learner. She is also dependable and reliable and is a regular attendee at all Waveney Ringing Group meetings outside school term times.”

Laura follows in the footsteps of another keen and knowledgeable teenage Suffolk bird-ringer, Ellie Zantboer, of Whitehouse Road, Ipswich, who won the Garrod Award last year.

The group’s Denis Ockelton Trophy was won by Landguard Conservation Trust chairman David Pearsons, of Lattice Avenue, Ipswich. The trust, which administers the Landguard Bird Observatory, is part of the Landguard Partnership, which is striving to enhance the environment of the Felixstowe area. The award is given annually in memory of Suffolk ornithologist Denis Ockelton and honours outstanding service to Suffolk birding and the Suffolk birding community.

More information about the Suffolk Ornithologists’ Group can be found at

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