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Monday, January 22, 2007

Somerset Wildlife Trust 2006/2007

Presentation by Simon Nash, Chief Executive Officer for the Somerset Wildlife Trust.

As reported in my last post staff and volunteers were given a presentation at Trust HQ on January 12th 2007, of the Trusts achievements in 2006, the challenges already anticipated for 2007 together with key priorities for the next 12 months. Simon kindly made this information available for publication here.

Achievements in 2006

  • Reorganisation and clarification of the "People and Wildlife" (PaW) team.
  • Mendip project fundraising success and set-up.
  • The Badger campaign.
  • Huge expansion of our education work.
  • Carymoor merger.
  • Dedicated Volunteer Support
  • Dynamic and solid fundraising team.

2007 - key challenges

  • Climate Change….
  • Unsustainable development.
  • Maintaining organisational momentum whilst achieving consolidation.
  • Communicating in a larger/more complex organisation.
  • Generating sufficient income in a challenging and changing environment – its all about people as well as wildlife.

Priorities for 2007

  • Sustainability successfully integrated across the organisation.
  • Improved valuing of and retention of our members.
  • Measuring our performance – and reporting on results (not process) – clearly showing what difference we make.
  • Creation of a Wildlife Info service.
  • Continued and improved engagement with volunteers.
  • Carymoor fully incorporated into the Trust’s work; FC and Carymoor Education work ‘seamless’.
  • Seamless working between SWT and SERC which will include a consistent GIS system across SWT and SERC, with more people using it.
  • The Mendip Habitat survey.
  • Success in getting trainees into environmental jobs sooner than ever before.
  • Management of Visitor Centres refined to ensure a co-ordinated and well planned approach.
  • Successful access project started on our reserves.
  • Advisory work and Wildlife Sites project developed/re-launched after a long absence of capacity
  • Successful Mendip project well on its way
  • Successful campaigns and lobbying.
  • Levels and Moors project well developed by end of calendar year.
  • Tone Floodplain project scoping completed and, ideally, project started.
  • Parrett Sluice to become "as dead as a Parrot"! and abandoned as a bad idea.
  • Web-site revamped – more accessible.
  • Continue to increase our influence, profile and effective working with partners.

We hope in our local group to be able to make a contribution to some if not all these challenges and priorities in 2007.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Starting the new year. 2007

It's been an interesting week. Started off trying to organise a committee meeting by finding a date that all or most of the committee can make. Settled on 18th Jan. Still needed a venue, now getting a bit urgent. Called at a local pub to see if it had space for us and decided it was worth a try.

Then on Friday visited the Trusts offices at Wellington for what could be called a team building event. Simon Nash CEO for the Trust gave a 10 minute power point presentation in which he reviewed achievements in 2006 and then looked at priorities for action for 2007. Quite a list which I hope to be able to summarise in another post soon. Those present in a standing room only meeting room included many if not all of the Trusts staff including representatives of the newly joined Carymoor team. The volunteers included several Area Group Chairmen, Reserve Managers and representatives of various special groups.

Motivated by meeting so many people all working to protect the future of wildlife in Somerset my next step into 2007 required me to leave home at 8am on Sunday morning to join a one day course in "Immediate Temporary Care for the ill and injured." This is what used to be called a first aid course a long time ago. The web site for the course provider (linked below) showed he had experience way beyond our local expectations but he certainly ran a stimulating days course.

In our modern world Health and Safety legislation requires us to demonstrate a duty of care for people, for example, that we are leading on walks in reserves. It was an 8 hour course from 9am till 5pm on what turned out to be a very fine Sunday. A significant level of commitment by all concerned which resulted in us all becoming "Appointed Persons". I'll leave the stories of terrible accidents and what went wrong with the First Aid for another occasion but such accounts do drive home the importance of the training.

As if that wasn't enough for one week I must follow up a few admin matters and be ready for our committee meeting in two days time!

Monday, January 08, 2007

I recently wrote to our committee to call a meeting and as an example of how we are progressing as we go into our second year here is part of what I said:

Dear all,
Hope you have survived the Xmas/New Year celebrations!
We need to get together for what we loosely call a committee meeting soon.
I'm going to see if a local pub is suitable or there may be some other venue you might like to suggest .
I suggest one of these dates : Tue 23rd or Thur 18th or 25th January.
We need to get our next public meetings organised.

Anything for the agenda?

While you are thinking here are some related current developments which we should (IMHO) have some overview on.
There is a big UN IPCC ( Climate Change committee) report due in Feb which will get a lot of press /media coverage on climate change and will give lots of food for thought on the issue.
All political parties are joining the debate. A lot of claims and statements are being made by "everyone and his dog".
A recent enquiry by the Guardian ( Guardian 3rd Jan,,1981779,00.html ) found that most local councils have no plans to encourage residents to cut carbon emissions apart from recycling.
I would like to write to all our local parish councils to ask them if they have someone who is given a role of dealing with environmental issues and wildlife matters and how they take a view on such issues. This is related to planning to a large extent.
There will soon be big changes( I am reliably informed) in our local Gov as Somerset goes to a unitary authority status. i.e. no district councils. More power to the Parishes!
I understand our MP is quite well qualified on green issues.

So I suggest we ask our MP to come and discuss with us, either as committee or at an open meeting, some or all of these issues and to tell us how he sees the situation.
I see this as simply a way to keep ourselves as well informed as possible and of course to ask questions. I'm sure we will be asked about these matters.
I've even had a gardening club asking me for a talk on climate change and gardens!!
Or we can just meet for a beer!
Finally you may be reassured that I am doing a First Aid course on Sunday at Fyne Court organised by the SWT. Afterwards I will need to practice on someone . Any volunteers?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Carymoor Environmental Centre

It seems a life time ago but back on Dec 8th we went to the Carymoor Environmental Centre near Castle Cary for a Christmas celebration. Good food ,a well stocked bar, live music and chance to meet up with friends from our own group as well as people from the centre and other invited guests made a very pleasant evening. The photos show Peter Keggin and Hamish Craig (see below) and the lively group providing the music.
It was a significant event following on from the merging of the Carymoor Trust with the Wildlife Trust in a way that strengthens both. It gives us a valuable educational and advisory resource within reasonable reach of our area and there will be much of interest to our local members over the coming months. It was fitting that Peter Keggin on behalf of the Somerset Wildlife Trust publicly welcomed the new partnership and thanked Hamish Craig for the work he and the Carrymoor team had undertaken over the 10 years since its formation.