Volunteering opportunities



Celebrating volunteers - Jan Cawston

Our volunteers are an essential part of our work, giving their time freely to make a difference for Suffolk's wildlife.

My name is Jan Cawston. I live in Ipswich but I’m an old country girl at heart!

I was born at Boundary Cottage, Framsden (near the Fritillary Meadow), then moved to Bacton where my father was farm labourer for many years at Canham’s Farm.

I’ve always been interested in wildlife and the countryside, especially birds.

It’s only since my children grew up and left home and I took early retirement with my husband, (who is a SWT volunteer with the mid-week team), that I’ve really had the time to commit myself to anything serious.

I am now an active bird ringer (‘C’ permit holder), being trained in the first instance by Steve Piotrowski. I then moved on to the Flatford Ringing Group where I completed my training. It was here, at the Field Study Centre, that I met Simone Bullion and became interested in one of the Barn Owl pellet analysis courses being held there.

Since that time, things have spiralled. I now do most of my bird ringing in the Mid /West Suffolk area with an independent ringer. I am involved with the Tree Sparrow and Barn Owl Projects, hence the connection with the Barn Owl pellet analysis for the Harvest Mouse Project with Martha Meek.

In the last couple of years I’ve analysed /verified a few thousand pellets looking for Harvest Mouse remains. The harvest mouse project is now finalised but my latest ‘project’ is analysing nest boxes for a local farmer.

In a kestrel box, recently analysed, I found rings and the remains of nine birds in the debris!!

Another barn owl box is in the process of being analysed (see photo) with the promise of another Kestrel nest box contents coming soon!!