WWT

What's on

Godwit Festival

Date: Sat 1 June - Sun 2 June

Find out about the endangered black-tailed godwit - the history and current conservation of their wetland home, and how the project is aiming to secure their future.

Time: Centre open 9.30am - 5pm, see schedule below for activity times

Cost: Included in admission, free to WWT members.

Talks and walks have limited spaces, so booking is essential.

Times of talks and activities

Saturday 1 June:
10-11am Hannah Ward - The story of Project Godwit
10am-12pm Charlie Kitchin - RSPB Nene Washes guided tour
11-11.30am - Wader walk for families, sign-up on the day and join this family friendly walk, searching for birds and exploring their habitat with bug hunting and birdwatching combined.
11.30am-12.30pm Jen Smart - The science behind reversing the decline in black-tailed godwits
1-2pm Mike Petty - Taming the Fens: Fenland Drainage
2-3pm Leigh Marshall - WWT Welney guided tour
2.30-3.30pm Pete Potts - Godwits & Godwitters Iceland to Iberia and back
3.30-4pm - Wader walk for families, sign-up on the day and join this family friendly walk, searching for birds and exploring their habitat with bug hunting and birdwatching combined.
Family activities available all day, drop in and find out about the waders our wetlands support.

Sunday 2 June:
10-11am Rebecca Lee - The story of Project Godwit
10am-12pm Charlie Kitchin - RSPB Nene Washes guided tour
11-11.30am - Wader walk for families, sign-up on the day and join this family friendly walk, searching for birds and exploring their habitat with bug hunting and birdwatching combined.
11.30am-12.30pm Ian Downey - Formation of the Ouse Washes: a 17th century drainage project
1-2pm Pete Potts - Godwits & Godwitters Iceland to Iberia and back
2-3pm Leigh Marshall - WWT Welney guided tour
3.30-4pm - Wader walk for families, sign-up on the day and join this family friendly walk, searching for birds and exploring their habitat with bug hunting and birdwatching combined.
Lynda Donaldson, Senior Research Officer monitoring black-tailed godwits - Lynda will be around the hides and visitor centre showing how she monitors the godwits and available for any questions.
Katherine McMahon - Back from the Brink poet - will be poet in residence on the Sunday, facilitating drop-in workshops throughout the day. Visitors will be able to take home creations as well as contributing creative ideas for a larger piece of artwork which will be completed by Katherine and launched in July/August.
Family activities available all day, drop in and find out about the waders our wetlands support.


Talks in detail

The Story of Project Godwit
Hannah Ward
- Project Manager based with RSPB /Rebecca Lee - Principal Conservation Breeding Officer WWT
Join Hannah and Rebecca as they introduce you to Project Godwit - the background to the project and the progress seen up to this mid-way point of the project. Detailing the challenges and excitement that comes with species recovery.


The science behind reversing the decline in black-tailed godwits

Dr Jennifer Smart - Principal Conservation Scientist with RSPB
Join Jennifer as she details the research and tracking used to understand the population of black-tailed godwits of the Nene Washes.


Taming the Fens: Fenland Drainage

Mike Petty - Cambridgeshire Researcher, Lecturer and Historian
Join Mike as he tells the story of the creation of the Ouse Washes in the Fens, through the course of its history to the present day.


Godwits & Godwitters Iceland to Iberia and back
Pete Potts - Operation Godwit leader
Join Pete as he shares his experience starting a volunteer-driven study of islandica godwits in 1992, involving wader ringers and counters across the flyway - including the British Isles, France, Portugal and Iceland. The project has linked like-minded enthusiasts across Europe and resulted in many great friendships. As part of this work an award winning, exciting and successful international schools godwit project, linked schools in Iceland, Ireland & England. Several thousand godwits have been colour-ringed allowing us to learn about their ecology and movements. Regular colour-ring reading visits to Welney, the Ouse Washes & Nene Washes has shown how internationally important they are for islandica godwits. These wetlands regularly support 3-4000 birds wintering here, with movements to the East coast estuaries, especially when flooded out during wet winters.


Formation of the Ouse Washes: a 17th centuary drainage project
Ian Downey - Middle Level Commissioners
Join Ian as he talks about the formation of the Ouse Washes as part of the 17th century drainage projects, detailing the Hundred Foot Drain and its predecessors.


Guided walks

Nene Washes
Charlie Kitchin
- Senior Site Manager
Take a special two hour guided walk to get a closer look at the breeding wader habitat of the Nene Washes. Charlie will be on hand to introduce you to his site, talk about the population of black-tailed godwits on the Washes and point out the species of wetland birds you see during your visit. Stout walking books and practical clothing are required. Meeting point details are given with confirmation of booking. Limited places, bookings must be made prior to attending this activity.


Ouse Washes at WWT Welney
Leigh Marshall - Centre Manager
Take a one hour guided walk to get a closer look at the breeding wader habitat at WWT Welney. Leigh will be on hand to introduce you to his site, talk about the population of black-tailed godwits on the Washes and point out the species of wetland birds you see during your visit. Stout walking books and practical clothing are required. Limited places.

Image: Black-tailed godwit by Mark Whiffin