HARD-WORKING RAF staff stuck their oar into a local nature reserve to help out Northumberland Wildlife Trust.
Fourteen staff from the Control and Reporting Centre at RAF Boulmer took time out from their normal duties monitoring UK airspace to spend four days clearing up the Hauxley reserve at Druridge Bay.
The team helped clear vegetation, dig ditches to create habitats for frogs, newts and other aquatic life, and lay pipes to alleviate flooding.
But the most arduous task involved cutting long grass on two islands and removing it by rowing boat as only two sacks could be taken at a time.
In all, more than 100 sacks were removed from the islands.
The work was necessary to allow small birds to nest on the site and if the grass was left to rot the nutrient content of the soil would be changed, encourage the wrong type of plants for the birds.
The cleared pasture also increases the growth of wild flowers, which encourage a variety of insects to the islands.
Flight Lieutenant Hayley Roberts said: “It was really hard work, but it was great to get outdoors and contribute to the local community. There is always something to do there and we are all glad we were able to do our bit.
“It was a great teamwork exercise and we had great fun taking the boat back and forth across the lake full of rakes, strimmers, bags of grasses and pitchforks.”
Northumberland Wildlife Trust Druridge Estates Officer Alex Lister said: “These guys have made a huge difference and have helped with tasks which require a large and disciplined group to undertake.
“I really do appreciate what they have done and hope to work with them again in the future.”