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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.

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