STAFF at American Express have been doing their bit to help with wildlife recovery in the county. 

Colleagues from the company’s Brighton and Burgess Hill offices joined in a nature recovery project at Seven Sisters Country Park, near Seaford, last week.

The activity forms part of a new partnership between American Express and The South Downs National Park Trust which aims to support the charity to deliver its large-scale wildlife recovery and habitat restoration projects.

Over two days, 39 American Express volunteers took part in removing old posts and wire livestock fencing, under the expert instruction of the country park’s rangers.

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Seven Sisters Country Park, which is the eastern gateway to the South Downs National Park, now uses an “invisible fencing” GPS system for grazing cattle, meaning the traditional fences are no longer needed. Cattle wear tags which make a noise when they reach the edge of an area chosen by the farmer, making them turn round.

This new system allows cattle to be easily rotated to different locations where they are needed most, reducing damage to the upper layer of soil covered in grass from cattle hooves around gates.

It also improves the state of the chalk grassland to attract even more birds, butterflies and bees. 

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This is particularly important on the grassland habitat found in the National Park, which can be home to up to 40 species of wildflowers and herbs, as well as many species of invertebrate. 

Removal of the fencing also provides better access for visitors, meaning people are free to explore the country park without encountering physical boundaries.

Another two-day volunteering session is planned for autumn when American Express colleagues will be assisting with activities such as habitat renewal, species management and removing invasive species like ragwort.

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The company has also provided funding to support the trust’s grant programme, which helps schools provide educational trips to sites in the National Park. 

The trust is the official independent charity for the South Downs National Park and is leading the ReNature project, which is looking to create an extra 13,000 hectares – or around 21,000 football pitches – of habitat over the next decade where plants and animals can thrive.