Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve is showcased in the opening exhibition for the 2019 season at Marlipins Museum in Shoreham.
The Friends of Shoreham Beach have put together a colourful display of photographs and objects, telling the story of this gloriously rare habitat and the work that goes into caring for it.
The group is completely voluntary and the committee has been working to raise awareness of the benefits of the wildlife and plants on the reserve.
With the help of graphic designer Lynda Hargreaves and Keith Smith, the committee has put together a wonderful exhibition to showcase this internationally rare shingle habitat.
Chairman Jacky Woolcock said: “Our mission is to protect, educate and enjoy but we also maintain the beach, clearing the invasive species and litter, and carry out surveys.
“We really want to get across how rare this habitat is and how it needs to be looked after and protected.
“It does need to be managed, and surveying is really important, so we know what we have and what we need to do with it.”
Keeping on top of invasive species like the three-cornered garlic is important, as these would take over if left.
Jacky, who has been involved since the start, said a lot of silver ragwort had been removed from the eastern end of the reserve but the Millennium Seed Bank had promised plugs of yellowhorn poppy to put in instead.
The reserve has been identified as an exceptional site for invertebrates, with 248 different species found last year by ecologist Graeme Lyons in a study of the beach.
Of the species he identified, more than ten per cent had conservation status, meaning they are rare or protected, and one was the gonatopus distinguendus wasp, only the fifth ever specimen recorded on the British Isles and second in Sussex.
Emma O’Connor, curator for Sussex Archaelogical Society, which manages the museum, said: “The exhibition highlights the work of the Friends of Shoreham Beach and the message is the importance of the environment to the habitat on the doorstep.
“The exhibition has been researched, curated and mounted by the committee and it shows how they engage people, through events like rockpooling, bird walks and beach cleans.”
Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association donated £200 and Diva Signs has given huge support in mounting the exhibition.
The museum opens today, May 1, and the season runs to October 31. This year, the opening times have been slightly altered, from 10.30am to 4.30pm Tuesday to Friday and 11am to 3pm Saturday, so the hours are now slightly shorter on Saturdays.
Emma added: “This year admission is only 50p and we really need people to come and support the museum because we have to support the major roof refurbishment this season.”