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Friday, January 18, 2008

Local Group news

Our recent public meeting on the 10th was well received with an audience of around 30 members.
Our speaker, Den Bridel, gave a stimulating and wide ranging account of wildlife in Somerset by showing and describing photographs from his personal collection taken over recent years. Recently Den moved onto digital photography and has started to make good use of its attractions for such work.

I've uploaded a couple of photos I took last year on Feb 15th in Snowdrop Valley on Exemoor. As spring flowers are showing early this year we will be visiting this lovely site again by the end of January with some friends living near London just to give them a special treat!!

Within a week and just by coincidence I was able to visit the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2007 exhibition in Bristol. Of course the very best equipment had been used for most of the exhibits and they were truly remarkable. However just as Den Bridel had recounted from his experience many photo opportunities come about as a result of spending a long time in the most appropriate places and waiting for wildlife to come within range of the camera.
My encounter with good wildlife photography links in very well to a topic discussed at our members meeting on the 16th Jan.
It was one of several ways to be aired by means of which our group could get a new impetus and a new direction to our activities. The suggestions included :

Adopting one of our nearest nature reserves to give a sense of belonging to an area.

Wildlife Gardening with links to local gardening clubs.

Establishing a link to one of our local schools to make contact with a younger generation of children and their parents.

Events based on practical activities such as willow weaving.

Discussion evenings or open forum meetings.

Workshops on Art and Photography for wildlife.

Personally I believe this last idea could be very rewarding.
To consider all this we are hoping to get a committee meeting next week to decide on how we proceed for 2008 and not least to welcome 2 new committee members joining as a result of the 16th Jan meeting. That is great news.
There was much more to report on from that meeting which will follow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


A follow up to my last post must include the report just issued by the Royal Society on this subject.
The society's press release can be found here:


Here is a short extract.

Latest press releases

Government needs to drive biofuels in right direction warns Royal Society

14 Jan 2008

Biofuels risk failing to deliver significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from transport and could even be environmentally damaging unless the Government puts the right policies in place warns a new Royal Society report today (Monday 14 January 2008).

John Pickett said: "In designing policies and incentives to encourage investment in and the use of biofuels it is important to remember that one biofuel is not the same as another. The greenhouse gas savings of each depends on how crops are grown and converted and how the fuel is used. So, indiscriminately increasing the amount of biofuels we are using may not automatically lead to the best reductions in emissions."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Three aspects of the conservation of wild plants

It never ceases to amaze me the complexity of wildlife issues and interrelated factors.

Starting from an Internet search for wild flower information to help my involvement in our local attempt to set up a nature reserve on a 4 acre field I have visited a number of web sites. The Wildlife Trusts have information on the NERC Act 2006 relevant to Local Councils; I found a book called " A year in the life of an English Meadow" set in Somerset; the Natural History Museum is useful for their data banks for plants; from there using a link to Plant Life UK I found info on their projects to rescue wild plants in danger of becoming extinct in the wild.

Plant Life UK makes interesting reading and here is a brief extract:

"Why conserve wild plants?

Conserving wild plants in their natural habitats is about more than plants, wildlife and ecosystems – it is about people and our need for food, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live. Two thirds of the ‘services’ provided by nature to mankind are now in decline worldwide, and the ability of the planet’s ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted."

They have a nature reserve in Somerset.

Their web site is here:

The UK Gov is also saying a lot about the environment in planning documents and proposals to revise planning law. Their White Paper on the subject can be found here:
Their ideas will have a great deal of relevance for wildlife in Somerset.

A BBC report shows that governments are becoming aware of the problems arising from the use of bio fuels. The report titled "EU rethinks bio fuels guidelines" can be found here:
The changes developing in agriculture world wide because bio fuel for cars has been seen as a help in dealing with green house gasses are now being reassessed.

There is a lot to see in these reports but a brief review is sufficient to get an overview of many developments in the way our wildlife is being both put under pressure and being recognised as important for our future.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

start of the new year

It is nearly a month since my last post!! That's not the best way to run a blog and I must get back to reporting on wildlife locally and things which affect us locally. That allows me considerable scope!
This is just a quick note to let you know we are still busy in our local group. In a few minutes I will be going to a local hall to get our first public meeting of 2008 underway. We have a speaker to talk abut wildlife in Somerset , showing slides from his own photographic collection and showing us many wildlife exhibits he has collected over the years.
It should be a good opportunity to learn more and to meet again many of our local friends that we only see from time to time.
I'll report back soon on how that went with news from the Wildlife Trust and much much more!!