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Friday, September 28, 2007

Climate Change: Next meeting of the Heart of the Levels Area Group

This meeting was planned as a follow up to our similar meeting a year ago but also coincides with the Trusts new campaign called Climate Friends.

This meeting notice is taken from the SWT web site

TALK: The Climate Friends Campaign

Date: 11th October 2007
Time: 7:30 PM

Members of the Trust are naturally friends of wildlife but we need to be friends of our environment as well.

James Nightingale, SWT Policy and Campaigns officer, will explain the Trust’s campaign to reduce the impact of climate change on Somerset wildlife.

Long Sutton Village Hall, Long Sutton (ST 469 255). On B3165, Martock Rd, close to junction with A372. Suitable for wheelchair users/limited mobility. £1.50. Finish 9pm.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Politicians sign new climate pact

Having read reports of the recent UN conference in Washington on the subject of climate change it seems approriate in view of the Somerset Wildlife Trusts current campaign on the same subject to put this BBC report straight on this blog for information about world developments.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Politicians sign new climate pact

Here is part of the report. The full account can be seen using the link given above.

Politicians sign new climate pact

Leading international politicians have reached a new agreement on tackling climate change, at a Washington summit.

Delegates agreed that developing countries would also have to meet targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, as well as rich countries.

The informal meeting also agreed that a global market should be formed to cap and trade carbon dioxide emissions.

The non-binding declaration is seen as vital in influencing a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, correspondents say.

The forum's closing statement said man-made climate change was now "beyond doubt".

"Climate change is a global issue and there is an obligation on us all to take action, in line with our capabilities and historic responsibilities," said the statement from the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (Globe).

'Tipping point'

The two-day meeting brought together legislators from countries including the Group of Eight rich nations, plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

The BBC's environment analyst Roger Harrabin was at the meeting and says that although the declaration carries no formal weight, it indicates a real change in mood.

The legislators agreed that developing countries had to face targets on greenhouse gas emissions, in the same way rich countries do.

They said they wanted a successor to the Kyoto Protocol - which expires in 2012 - in place by 2009.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Annual report to members of the Heart of the Levels Group of the Somerset Wildlife Trust

This post shows my report to our local members. We gave ourselves 15 minutes for this annual report which was followed by a talk by James Williams on Otters. There was an audience of about 45 people who were I'm sure more interested in Otters than my report!

Just to start with some photos of local wildlife The Brimstone is by Steve Dyer. The others were seen in my garden.

Heart of the Levels Group of the Somerset Wildlife Trust.
Chairman’s report

Welcome from the Heart of the Levels Group.
In this brief reporting session I will:

1. Highlight some of the successful events of the last year or so.
2. Talk a little about the work of the committee and its members.
3. Explain how we relate to our parent Somerset Wildlife Trust
4. Report on our finances.
5. Look forward over the next 12 months.

1) May 19th 2006 was our inaugural meeting.
Since then we have had a range of open meetings like this one and in addition we have organised guided visits to local nature reserves. We are pleased with the response from members who have supported all these events.

There have been many highlights but standing out must be:

23.07.06 Butterfly Group guided walk in MOD area in Breach Wood, High Ham.

28.09.06 Talk by Bill Butcher from SERC on climate change.

22.10.06 Fungi Foray in Beer Wood to find and identify over 100 varieties.

9.11.06 Talk by Dr Mike Parr on Dragonflies (followed in 2007 by a guided walk at Muchelney Lakes).

14.04.07 Guided visit to West Sedgemoor RSPB reserve.

7.06.07 Garden Party held in Curry Rivel for social occasion.

23.06.07 Guided visit to Green Down to see Large Blue butterfly on the wing and laying eggs on Thyme plants.

14.07 07 Open meeting with MP David Heath as part of Somerton Festival.

11.08/07 National Moth Night to find and identify moths in the MOD woods at High Ham. The nights catch being inspected next morning at start of Butterfly walk.

Anyone wanting to read more about our activities will find a lot of information on our web site.

2) The committee, without whom we would not be here tonight, has given their support and active involvement which is most appreciated. We have all being getting involved in things for the first time and learning as we go and that will continue into 2008. A special word of thanks to Margaret Chambers who is moving back into teaching full time and has had to stand down from the committee. Margaret has taken on the job of arranging talks and events for the last 18 months. Teaching and our young people will benefit greatly from her dedication and enthusiasm. Margaret Murray has got to grips with looking after our finances and is doing a good job in keeping us in order. Margaret Somerville had to stand down earlier in the year due to family commitments.
So the running of this group for the benefit of local members will be much easier if we can attract 2 or 3 new committee members. We tend to have committee meetings every 2 months to agree on future activities within our resources.

3) A brief word about our relationship with SWT. We are one of 9 such local groups. We are largely left to do our own thing but guided by a document produced a year or so ago by the Trustees of the Trust which outlines matters such as reporting our finances each year to the Trust.
It seems to work quite well and is designed to ensure we all support the overall aims and objectives of the Trust and assist them in meeting their obligations to the Charity Commission.

4) Finances are not complex for our small group and Margaret Murray, our Treasurer, has produced a statement which is available for your inspection. It shows how we reported to the Trust in March this year. We started with a grant from the Trust in 2006 of £100 and we have now a balance in our account of £467.86. This has been raised through sponsored walks, a garden party and various donations given for instance at meetings. There is also a statement available of the petty cash account for your inspection. If anyone has any questions about our finances I would appreciate dealing with it over coffee later so as not to delay our guest speaker.

5) The future.
Keeping it simple.
  • We hope to be still functioning and reporting back to you again in 12 months time. Our basic aim for the next 12 months will I hope be to organise 6 meetings in 2008
  • In Feb, March and April and then in Sept, Oct and Nov, with additional visits to reserves during the summer months.
  • I see our priorities as a local group to be getting better at communicating with local members so as to make sure we are putting on talks and events which you find interesting.
  • Getting to know our local reserves and letting people know what they can expect to see if they make a visit. I think the BBC Breathing Spaces programmes and Spring Watch are very informative and hopefully help to stimulate interest in local wildlife.
  • Finally we should be ready to respond to wildlife related matters put to us by members and we welcome everyone’s involvement in that respect.
Contact detail.

Committee: David German Chairman, Margaret Murray Treasurer, Eve Kerswill PR, Terry Foster Minutes Secretary, Bill Murray, Hilary Howell. We have vacancies!

We are also fortunate in having a local council member of the Somerset Wildlife Trust in our area, Dudley Cheesman, who also is Chairman of Butterfly Conservation,a UK national charity, who attends our committee meetings from time to time and is able to give us good advice.

Telephone: David German : email:
Web site (also known as a blog): http://

Details of the SWT and other specialist groups are in the Trusts magazine.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

News from a local Climate Action Group

The following is a copy of an email we received from the South Somerset Climate Action Group. I have shown it here for information

Email from the Climate Action Group.

To visit our new website click:

Sun 16 Sep 2.30pm Al Gore’s "An Inconvenient Truth"
To be followed by a discussion led by David Gordon, former County Councillor and Chairman of Ecos Trust, the award-winning builders of zero carbon homes.
Sat 22 Sep 2.30pm Al Gore’s Update on An inconvenient Truth
plus The GREENPEACE film "A Convenient Solution"
Discussion to be led by Catherine Le Grice Mack, former County Councillor, Organic farmer, Representative of environmental organisations at the Regional Assembly.
Call Joe Or just turn up at the theatre. — Donations requested

Global warming and related issues – Dr John Baxter
Workers Educational Association – Ilminster
This course will present planet Earth as a dynamic structure, constantly changing over eons of time. It will look at what affects our atmosphere and climate and how lifestyle changes and technology might come to our rescue.
6 Classes – Tuesday evenings 7.30 – 9 pm from 9 October 2007. Fee £30


Evidence / document
Date / Comment

House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
Climate Change: the citizens agenda Evidence submitted in January 2007, published on 13 September 2007

South Somerset Together
The Proposed Sustainable Community Strategy for South Somerset August 24th, 2007

Ilminster Town Council
Town Plan 1 June 2007

(soon to be updated)

Somerset Wildlife Trust (which has 20,000 members)
Planning Policy Briefing prepared for South Somerset Climate Action 1 Jul 2007

Joe Burlington

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

News update

It seems my last general news update was around the end of June and there is a lot to catch up on.Summer holidays are partly to blame for the lack of posts plus lots of other jobs on the "to do" list!
Here in chronological order are brief references to wildlife related activities.
All references to "field log" relate to a local private nature reserve for which I help in the management.

05.09.07:Field Log:Reported fly tipping in lane adjacent to field.

24.08.07:Field Log:As arranged hay cut and left on ground for a few days.This also cuts back any hedge suckers at the edge of the field. The hay was baled and removed a few days later.

23.08.07:Contact other Area Group Chairs re informal meeting

21.08.07:Field Log: another ragwort check prior to hay cut, some 15 plants removed. now virtually clear.

19.08.07:Field Log:walk about with visitors.

16.08.07:Field Log:reported fly tipping near by.

12.08.07:joined butterfly group walk. inspected moths caught in previous nights activity.

11.08.07:National moth night. somerset moth group with several lamps in local woods for major count. for more detail go their web site . click here

06.08.07:Field Log: visit by friends who keep rare breed sheep locally for discussion about introducing sheep grazing for field. very informative but my conclusion is that the problems for us outweigh the benefits so we will not be using sheep.

03.08.07:Field Log: write up log to cover last couple of weeks activities and conditions on field.

02.08.07:Field Log: visit to local bird expert to collect report on a survey he carried out on our field. contains thoughts on how to attract more bird activity. includes planting native trees and adding a pond. there are grants available for tree planting.

31.07.07:Field Log: visit to remove one or two large thistles and pull ragwort.checked marked position of bee orchids and inspected pyramidals which are nearly all finished flowering.

27.07.07:Field Log: problem of miniature motor bikes being run round field. made contact with youngster involved and asked for them to stop. good result so far.

24.07.07:Field Log: checked introduced wildflowers, some OK others seem to have perished. marbled white not so numerous this year it seems. weather not good. other butterflies seem OK. plenty of grass hoppers. pulled ragwort.

23.07.07:Field Log:reported local fly tipping to council.

22.07.07:Field Log:adjacent similar sized field hay baled and removed. talked to farmer and contractor for need to do same on our field.

18.07.07:Field Log:adjacent field hay cut. they had to spend an hour or so pulling ragwort first. good for us as it stops seed transfer to our field.

13.07.07:Field Log: report of small motor bikes on adjacent field.

12.07.07:Field Log: meeting of the management committee. general agreement on progress and planned actions.

11.07.07: Had to miss a workshop event run by SWT to review and debate the 2008-2012 strategy document but sent email comments instead.

09.07.07:Field Log:had organised a visit to our field of local councillors. Important to us to keep them informed about our aims for our field as a private nature reserve and our concerns about the future of the adjacent field. successful visit I think.

08.07.07:Field Log: organised team effort to walk over the field to remove ragwort.

07.07.07:Field Log: took small group of visitors to inspect field. had to avoid local miniature motor bikes again on adjacent field.

05.07.07:Field Log:attended parish council meeting to hear news of adjacent field. no news!

04.07.07: attended a meeting of local climate change group to hear talk about recycling well attended.

03.07.07:Field Log: telephone call to local councillors to invite visit to field.

02.07.07:Field Log: general inspection of field. some bee orchids still flowering.plenty of pyramidals in flower and looking good.
scabious,knapweed, bedstraw, alium and yellow rattle seen. seed collected from the latter to spread around later in the year. perimeter path now being well used.