Greater Anglia’s giant hare launches new conservation school sessions

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Primary school children across Norfolk will receive ‘care for the hare’ education sessions this year thanks to a new partnership between Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) and Greater Anglia (GA).

Fifteen schools in three areas that have stations served by GA – Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Thetford – will enjoy a full school day’s visit from NWT’s education team, with all costs covered by GA’s sponsorship.

The sessions will be themed around hares. This important species has its stronghold in Norfolk, although numbers of the once common hare have shown a steady decline in England since the 1960s. This energetic animal is known for its pace across open ground and has been adopted as GA’s logo, representing moving forward with speed, grace and freedom.

The children will learn about wildlife and habitats and the value of nature. They will use their senses and imagination to explore the natural world through play; search school grounds for signs of wildlife; and create works of art using natural materials, such as a giant hare image created from leaves.

CEO of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Pamela Abbott said:
“Greater Anglia’s commitment to supporting the work of Norfolk Wildlife Trust is wonderfully demonstrated by supporting our education and engagement work in Norfolk. We are committed to encouraging more people to experience and value nature. We believe everyone deserves to live in a healthy wildlife-rich environment and seek to bring the joy of wildlife into people’s daily lives.”

Greater Anglia Head of corporate affairs, Jonathan Denby said:

“Over the next two years, Greater Anglia is undergoing a transformation, replacing every single train with brand new trains at a cost of £1.4 bn. Our new trains are even more environmentally friendly and will soon be serving customers travelling to Norfolk, where passengers can enjoy the unique wildlife and wild places cared for by Norfolk Wildlife Trust. We are thrilled to be working with NWT to engage local children with their wildlife, including the region’s beautiful hares.”

Greater Anglia is replacing every single train with 169 brand new trains, which will all have more seats, free fast wifi, power and USB points, air conditioning, better passenger information screens and improved accessibility features.

Their new diesel trains, which will operate on branch lines in Norfolk, are “bi-mode” which means that they can switch between diesel and electricity power, making them greener and more efficient than the company’s existing trains.

The diesel engines, which are fitted into the middle of the trains, meets the latest, tighter, standards for emissions and is also quieter than existing diesel engines.

When the bi-mode trains are running underneath an electric line, they can switch to electricity mode and take advantage of electric energy rather than diesel.

As with other modern electric trains, energy created when braking under an electric line is put back into the overhead wires to be used by other trains to accelerate – further helping to save energy.

Even in diesel mode, the trains can brake electrically by using a “brake resistor”, which means there are less brake pads used so less dust is produced and released into the environment.

When running in diesel mode, the engines generate electricity for the motors enabling the train to accelerate more powerfully and smoothly.

GA has been a Corporate Partner of NWT for many years. This new sponsorship programme also includes a wildlife activity packs for families travelling on trains; and support for NWT’s Nature Reserves handbook.