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Friday, March 26, 2010

Wildlife podcast Meeting with prospective Members of Parliament

 I'm pleased to see the Somerset Wildlife Trust taking part in a discussion about local issues related to the candidates views on the future of wildlife. Here is the news item from the SWT web site giving a link to the Pod Cast of the debate.

26 March 2010
Wildlife podcast
More than 70 people turned up to quiz the politicians vying for their votes in Taunton Deane, ahead of the general election, at a hustings meeting organised by Somerset Wildlife Trust and Friends of the Earth.

The event, which took place at the Meetings Room, Taunton Library, on March 11, tackled the theme of Somerset’s Natural Environment and explored climate change, wildlife and the food chain.

The hustings were recorded by 10Radio and you can listen to the podcast here by clicking this link: Somerset Wildlife Trust and Taunton Friends of the Earth hustings, 11 March 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Blogging news and campaigns from other conservation organisations

Trying a quick round up of news from other Bloggers and conservation groups,so we'll see how it goes.
Starting by looking at the most recent posts.

Chris Sperring. Hawk and Owl Trust.
Chris Sperring MBE: New update coming soon, still surveying at mo.

Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts.
Press News: "Latest News
Mar 10
Mum'sea' creatures go the extra mile
Study recognises key to future conservation success
Marine Protected Area announcement welcomed by The Wildlife Trusts
Scotland gets Marine Act
Government peat announcement welcomed by The Wildlife Trusts
BBC Eggheads smashed!
Don’t damn the Severn Est"

Somerset Wildlife Trust.
01 March 2010
24 hours of wildlife watching on the Avalon Marshes
Discover the abundance of wildlife on the Avalon Marshes at a spectacular 24-hour nature event.

Avalon 24 is 24 hours of guided walks where everyone is invited to see and hear as much wildlife as possible from noon on Saturday, May 29 to noon on Sunday May 30.

The two hour walks take place on some of the Avalon Marshes nature reserves including Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Westhay Moor and Catcott Lows, the RSPB’s Ham Wall, Natural England’s Shapwick Heath, and the Hawk and Owl Trust’s Shapwick Moor.

The Albatross Task Force
We got our wish in 2005 with the formation of the Albatross Task Force - the world's first international team of skilled, at-sea instructors.
Albatross Task Force teams are based in the bycatch 'hotspots' of southern Africa and South America, where albatrosses come into contact with large and diverse longline and trawl fishing fleets.
Since its formation, we have seen dramatic reductions in the numbers of albatrosses and other seabirds killed. This is a sure sign that Albatross Task Force members really are getting something practical done to help save albatrosses from extinction.
The Albatross Task Force is managed by BirdLife Partner organisations around the world, and co-ordinated by the Global Seabird Programme from its headquarters at the RSPB.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bumble Bees

It was clear from comments from the audience that Bumble Bees are out and about now in early March in Somerset. A packed hall with standing room only was given a very full and interesting talk by Michael Edwards, writer of the book Field Guide to the Bumblebees of GB and Ireland. Anne Bebbington had an appreciative response to her hand painted cards on sale to raise funds for our Group. Anne is currently promoting a new course to teach  botanical drawing and would welcome any enquiries. You can contact her through this Blog by using the comments or by email . The address is shown in the header above.  John Bebbington contributed  by providing the giant size projector screen for Mike's excellent photographs. As if that wasn't enough we had invited a Young Enterprise Group from Richard Huish College in Taunton to join us to present their books for children based on the life of the honey bee.  The first photo shows Mike Edwards with some of the Young Enterprise students and the second gives an idea of the venue without showing the standing room only at the rear of the hall. Anne Bebbington's card display is at the right of the screen.
All in all a very satisfactory evening with many friends and members of the Wildlife Trust and and possibly a few non members.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Event reminder

This email has been sent to all local members and friends of Somerset Wildlife Trust by the local Heart of the Levels Area Group.
Link to "Bumblebee Conservation". Click here.
and click here for a John Bebbington photograph on an interesting web site , "Better Photographs" 
Our next public meeting is on Thursday 11th March.

Thur,   March    11th  7.30 PM   9.30 PM.
Talk  by expert entomologist Mike Edwards.

Bumble Bees , indispensable friend of humans.

Illustrated talk on how these wonderful insects are the guardian of our food supplies and make a vital contribution to the  sustainability of our countryside and garden.

Somerton United Reform Church Hall, West Street, Somerton    Free car park close by.

Venue Suitable for Wheelchair-User/Limited Mobility.

Admission fee:     £2.50    Tea and coffee will be available from 7.15pm at the start of the evening.

We have invited a Young Enterprise Group from Richard Huish College to join us to show their new books for children featuring bees!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Energy recovery from the Severn Estuary, The Severn Barrage and other schemes.

A Large Elephant Hawk Moth on honeysuckle. Photo by John Bebbington 
The effect of development projects on wildlife is a major concern.

Following on from our public meeting recently  on the subject of renewable energy and the Severn Estuary, it is of interest to see that the Carbon Trust has announced funding to what it describes as the 6 most promising technologies some of which might be suitable to use in the Estuary instead of the Barrage.
Here is an extract from their web site.
Click here to go to their web site.

The Carbon Trust.
Press release 2nd Feb 2010.

Six most promising technologies selected and funded to spearhead UK’s marine drive

Marine energy will be ready for mass scale deployment and an important new commercial UK industry by 2020 says the Carbon Trust, as it announces the six most promising technologies that will today receive new funding to speed up the deployment of full scale prototypes of their leading designs.
Marine energy is currently ten years behind offshore wind energy in its development, but according to the Carbon Trust costs can be dramatically reduced over the next ten years, which could see up to a thousand devices operating in the water by 2020. Today the Carbon Trust announced the six most promising technologies that will be supported with £22m of new funding.  Designed and managed by the Carbon Trust, the Marine Renewable Proving Fund (MRPF) uses new funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The MRPF marks a new level of commitment to developing wave and tidal technologies by helping the UK’s most promising technologies to progress towards early stage deployment and accelerating the first commercial projects in UK waters.
Following a rigorous assessment process, the Carbon Trust has selected Atlantis Resources, Aquamarine Power,Hammerfest Strom UK, Marine Current Turbines, Pelanis Wave Power and Voith Hydro to receive support.  Set against a shortage of funding in the sector, the new finance will bridge a funding-gap that was stifling progress, creating more certainly around the technical performance of each technology which will trigger increased confidence in the sector.
Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said:
"The UK must urgently diversify, decarbonise and secure its energy sources and marine energy could over time provide up to 20% of the UK’s electricity. Generating electricity from the UK’s powerful wave and tidal resource not only plays a crucial role in meeting our climate change targets but also presents a significant economic opportunity for the UK. Wave alone presents a £2 billion economic opportunity for the UK.”
The demonstration of full scale devices at sea is central to realising the full potential of marine energy and getting the first commercial projects in the water is critical to ‘de-risk’ the technology and attract the necessary private sector investment. This is the start of major new industry that will generate jobs and wealth across the UK.”


Monday, March 01, 2010

Botany for Botanical Artists , Art and Wildlife

You are unlikely to recognise the subject in this photograph. It is showing grains of pollen attached  to the stigma of an ordinary Crocus plant  which are in flower in most of our gardens. The photograph was taken by John Bebbington FRPS and kindly made available for us to use for our Wildlife Group on this Blog.

John and Anne Bebbington came to live near Langport a few years ago and have become valuable supporters of our local group, giving talks, leading walks and giving us tremendous photographs of wildlife.We have supported Anne in starting a Botany Study Group based in Langport which has proved very successful and popular.
Anne combines expert knowledge of plants with great skill as an artist but most importantly an excellent teaching ability

Dr Anne Bebbington PhD,  is a botanist, natural history illustrator and formerly  senior ecology tutor for the Field Studies Council.  Anne is now starting a new venture in setting up and running a much needed course for botanical  artists.

The course starts in September 2010 and will combine botanical tuition with an opportunity to develop and practise illustration techniques.

 Working with Anne is Mary Brewin MSc PGCE Cert HE Botanical Illustration and also formerly senior ecology tutor at the Field Studies Council.

Anne and Mary will be the Course tutors.

The programme will consist of 10 linked workshops over a 12 month period. Between sessions participants will be given help and encouragement to complete an illustration based on the subject of the workshop.

The course will take place at " Nature in Art" , Twigworth, Gloucestershire. The workshops will run from 10.00 to 16.00 on one Saturday each month excluding December 2010 and August 2011. Here is a link to the venue. Click here

The course fee for the 12 month course covering tuition, support and use of the venue will be £398.
For more information call Anne at or Mary at

Closing date for applications is 30th April.