Search This Blog

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Christmas everyone!!!! Lets all wish for a positive, constructive, peaceful, rewarding and environmentally friendly new year.
Having said all that  I'm having problems with my internet connection now so I'll sign off and try again soon.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Durban COP 17 News.

Click here for more info.

Durban - Nothing short of a new energy industrial revolution is going to hold global warming below 2°C, economist Lord Nicholas Stern said on Monday.

He told reporters at COP 17 in Durban that radical cuts would have to be made in global greenhouse gas emissions.

"The numbers on climate change - if we’re going to have a reasonable chance, at least 50-50, of holding to 2°C - are very clear," Stern said.

"And it’s also clear that they imply that if we’re to achieve the reductions that we have to achieve to get to 2°... those reductions have to be radical, and to achieve it means a new energy industrial revolution."

Stern, author of the landmark Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, was speaking a day ahead of the start of high-level political negotiations at the climate change conference.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Climate change, the demand for action

If you know how the United Nations is organising the battle to limit climate change then just skip the next bit.

Because I was getting confused about what is going on I did a bit of surfing.

IPCC  is the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They have just had a meeting in Kampala. It was identified as the 34th Session from 14th to 19th November.  They are working to produce their Fifth Assessment Report, AR5. Due for completion in 2014. Their previous report called AR4 was released in 2007.  The IPCC produces assessment reports for the FCCC.

The FCCC is the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Set up in 1992 at the so called Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro. That led to the Kyoto Protocol.

 The FCCC works in parallel with the IPCC.  It progresses through COP's (short for  Conference of the Parties). Their COP17 is currently in progress in Durban , South Africa.  26th Nov to 7th Dec.

Reports from Durban talk about AEOSIS which is the Alliance of Small Island States with 39 members and LDC's which are the 48 Least Developed Countries. This combined grouping of countries is about 50% of the total UN membership and they want action to start on Jan 1st 2012.

They are now confronted by the rest, some of whom also qualify as LDC's including India, Brazil and China who don't want action before 2020.

To find our what the situation is in the Conference you can find reports on the BBC Environment pages and no doubt else where.

If I've missed anything important don't hesitate to tell me!  Click here for a link to the BBC. Wiki is very good also.

The natural environment has been identified as the major obstacle in the future prosperity of the UK.
Please read the HM Government Document;
National Infrastructure Plan 2011
Click here to view the plan.
Here is an extract from the plan which expands on the views which many people have objected to in the Planning System proposed newNational Planning Policy  Framework:

  1. Reforming the planning and consenting systems
    To tackle barriers in planning, the Government is placing the presumption in favour of sustainable development at the heart of the planning system, requiring a positive approach to be taken to plan-making and to decisions on individual planning applications.
    As set out in Chapter 6, as part of implementing the recommendations of the Penfold Review, the Government will:
  • ensure the key consenting and advisory agencies have a remit to promote sustainable development as soon as the National Planning Policy Framework is finalised. This will ensure that these bodies consider the impact of their decisions on sustainable economic growth and swiftly approve consents when it is appropriate to do so; and
  • introduce a 13 week maximum timescale for the majority of non-planning consents, to speed up the consenting process and give certainty to developers. This would take immediate effect for Government agencies.
    In addition, the Government will:
  • ensure that there is a more effective mechanism for applicants to obtain an award of costs, if there is an appeal against refusal of a planning permission where a statutory consultee has acted unreasonably, through measures to be implemented in summer 2012. The Government will also improve the performance of the key statutory consultees in responding swiftly to applications;
  • build more flexibility into the new major infrastructure planning process, particularly in the pre-application phase, by summer 2012, as part of a light touch review of the process responding to feedback from users of the regime; and
  • ensure that compliance with the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives does not lead to unnecessary costs and delays to development, while continuing to support the Directives’ objectives. The Government is reviewing the directives as currently implemented in England by Budget 2012 and is committed to tackling blockages for developments where compliance is particularly complex or has large impacts. In addition, the Government can announce progress on specific projects where compliance has already proved problematic, including Falmouth Harbour. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reflections of a Curlew: New Relationship With Nature - The Government is g...

By visiting the  Blog shown below you can read a lot more about the Radio 4 programme and Mary Colwell's thoughts on the subject.

Reflections of a Curlew: New Relationship With Nature - The Government is g...: The Great Hall at the University of Bristol for the recording of Sustaining Life for Radio 4 Panelists J...

World population and nature

I listened to a poem written specially for the occasion and read out by the poet during the Radio 4 recording on Monday evening.   In the middle of a discussion about world population growth and its effect on nature it was a dramatic part of the whole evening. Listening to it live is probably the best way to experience the poets feelings for the subject. Below are some extracts from a transcript of the spoken word.The reading had more impact by taking place in the Great Hall of Bristol University. Its  a splendid venue.
You can find out more about the Radio 4 programme by going to my later posting.

Listen to the recorded programme on Dec 23rd on Radio 4.

Go for a walk run in the woods and breathe in
Mother nature till she fills your veins
Travel, view, as many beautiful landscapes
as you can until your imagination complains



Sit on top of a satellite see the world
and the lands on which we all live
Take it in and ask yourself what can I invent?
what can I not take? What can I give?


Trust her she continues to feed us
and give us all we need to drink
but she does more than that
She’s that essential creative link

You can do it, amaze yourself,
this place is all we’ve got
This is our home and our children’s
children’s, children’s home
What? Don’t tell me you forgot?

Read by the poet, Miles Chambers

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Living Landscapes

Its always good to start with a great photograph and I think this qualiflies. Photo by John Bebbington showing a Large Elephant Hawke moth on honeysuckle. I include it because its a special image but also as a demonstration of the wildlife that the subject of this post is all about.

Its probably three years since I heard Diana Pound run a session at a Wildlife Trust  AGM. I liked the subject and format and kept in touch with her consultancy by email. Details of a big event next Feb have just been announced and the subject is very topical and very relevant to the world we find ourselves in. I hope that people will  enquire  about this event and I hope someone from Somerset will be able to attend. Living Landscapes are an important part of SWT strategy.

Click here for more details.

and if you want to see what the Somerset Wildlife Trust means by the term Living Landscape, click here

 Here is a brief extract from the flier for the event:

This event champions smarter thinking, co-operation and collaboration to help you achieve more with less across urban and rural landscapes and benefit people, places and wildlife.

Keys to success are effective partnerships, pooled resources, effective communication, good practice stakeholder participation, novel collaborations and social enterprise.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Orchid - night flowering

Our local orchids

Having a photo of a common pyramidal orchid on the header for my Blog I was very interested to see a news report on BBC about a new variety of orchid which normally only flowers at night. It was discovered in Papua New Guinea in an area authorised for logging!
Click here to go to the BBC web page. On the page is another link to  " videos, news and facts " about orchids both in the UK and world wide.
We have two species on our local meadow, Bee and Pyramidal.
On our local Wildlife Trust reserves we can find around half a dozen species. We are planning to organise a visit to all 15 or so reserves next summer and will record what we can find.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Being a volunteer with the Wildlife Trust is almost a full time job and in another short briefing here are some of the recent activities I find myself involved in.

No sooner had I sent off my comments to my MP and the Gov on the NPPF ( see my earlier post) than I learn about the Neighbourhood Planning Bill  ( which I suppose I had heard about but not taken too seriously). It might be very significant and I've started finding out what its implications might be. I think there is a consultation period now so that could important but what should we say?

I might join the local history society to find our more about the history of the hedges round our village and fields. Some are likely to be hundreds of years old. It important from a wildlife point of view to be able to argue against any move to cut them down.

Attended a meeting of the local Area Groups a couple of weeks ago, which is a good place to find out how other groups are getting on . We can them make our views known to the Trust. We have some differences about how we volunteers would like more support  in trying to get better web site coverage and in making contact with our members. An ongoing discussion. Our Group had thought about having its own web site but that's on hold at present.

This week have had a local group committee meeting with two guests who might join our committee. The meeting as usual ranged over quite a few topics and might have been a little confusing for our guests. Talked about our future programme of events for 2012. More summer site visits to our local reserves perhaps. Tonight we have a talk about the importance of woodlands and how they function. Hope we have a reasonable turnout.

Yesterday spent most of the day at the HQ of the SWT. First in a meeting of the Private and Community Nature Reserves  Network . Its just a way for land owners with a few acres to get help in managing their land for the benefit of wildlife  and to be able to share their experience. with others.There are about 200 members. Discussed two field events next year with a Botany field trip included

Most of us stayed on to sit in on a presentation by the  manager of the local RSPCA rescue and rehabilitation centre. Its about 10 miles from here and I hope to arrange a visit to see their work and facilities. Very impressive.

Lastly a committee member is hoping to find more people to take a few battery hens from local farmers who are banned from keeping chickens in battery conditions from next Jan. A good idea , not wildlife of course and I don't think we could cope with looking after them. The Hen Welfare Trust will tell you more.

That'll do for this week.

PS Don't forget that the IPCC is meeting this week in Kampla between 18th and 19th. We should hear their latest news and views on climate change.

Reflections of a Curlew: People and Wildlife - A Shared Earth - BBC Recording

You might find the programme referred to in the link of interest. Just click on the words above. I've reserved three tickets and as far as I can see tickets are still available. ( checked today 20.11.11). 
This is a BBC recording on November 28th at 6.30 pm for a Radio 4  programme  debating world population issues and their effect on Wildlife.The programme will be broadcast on 23rd Dec 20.00 hrs and repeated on the 24th
Its part of a series which I regret I havent picked up on before called "Saving Species"  and this particular programme is titled Population and the Natural World.Its produced by Mary Colwell who amongst other things writes the Blog at      or

Sunday, November 13, 2011

High speed train plans are off the rails | The Wildlife Trusts

 A friend who lives near the proposed route of the new  HS train asked me to do what I could to help their campaign to reduce the irreversible damage which will be caused to many environmentally vital areas along the route. I used to be a member of the local Berks,Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (Visit their campaign page, here,  for full details of the wildlife which will be damaged or lost). It  covers much of  the Chilterns so I  feel personally the damage which will be done even though I now live over 100 miles away.  I'm showing below what the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts has said about this project.

High speed train plans are off the rails | The Wildlife Trusts

High speed train plans are off the rails

Thursday 16th June 2011

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife TrustsStephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts
"The Prime Minister will be heading ‘off the rails’ if he doesn’t withdraw the current HS2 proposal and fully consider the role of high speed rail in England.
At The Wildlife Trusts’ annual conference, held this week, chief executives of 36 local Wildlife Trusts signed a letter to David Cameron, in which they express shared concern at the “very serious damage to wildlife and the countryside that would result from development of the preferred route for the proposed high speed railway line from London to the West Midlands (HS2 Phase 1).”
The letter continues: “We recognise the need for an efficient and sustainable transport system and support moves to a low carbon economy. But as your government has recognised, nature also has great value both to the economy and to the well being of society. To develop built infrastructure at such cost to wildlife contradicts the principles at the heart of The Natural Choice: Securing the Value of Nature – a white paper we called for and greatly welcome.”
“We believe a fresh look is the only way for this Government to leave a positive legacy and to live up to its ambition"
Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, calls on the Prime Minister, on behalf of its membership, to withdraw the proposal for High Speed 2 Phase 1 until there has been fuller strategic consideration of the role of High Speed Rail in this country.
She said: “The last Government initiated these proposals in the absence of this and the current assessment of options is in our view flawed. It has failed to take proper account of alternative approaches to improving the speed and capacity of train routes north from London, or even alternative routes for HS2.
“We believe a fresh look is the only way for this Government to leave a positive legacy and to live up to its ambition, expressed in the white paper, of ensuring that ‘this generation is the first to leave the natural environment of England in a better state than it inherited’.”
The Wildlife Trusts have a total membership of more than 800,000 and is the largest voluntary organisation dedicated to conserving the full range of the UK’s habitats and species."

I feel obliged to write yet again to our "Green " government.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

National Planning Policy Framework ( NPPF ) Reply to my comments.

I was pleased this morning to receive in the post a letter from the Under Secretary of State replying via my MP to my comments on the NPPF.
I was intending to include it in this post but I have a problem with my scanning so hope to add it later.
I take it to mean that whilst it doesn't say that they agree with me, of course, it might show a glimmer of hope that the Govt is listening to the public and all the other organisations who have criticised the proposals.

I've copied it to our Wildlife Trust so they can see that we volunteers and doing our bit to support their more official efforts.

We have a committee meeting next week so I'll be able to show the results of my comments. We also have our next public meeting with a talk on the importance of woodlands. Woods are often one of the elements of our countryside which suffer with housing and commercial developments.

With some help I can now attach the letter. Just deleted my address.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Spider. Smallest and oldest

BBC News has the story behind the presentation of a 53 million year old, 1mm spider found in a piece of amber in France.

Click .here

Friday, November 04, 2011

National Planning Policy Framework ( NPPF )

The Kingfisher Project introduces primary school children to wild life out on the fields of a local farm.

Here they were examining owl pellets to identify their food and then being shown a beehive.

There is a great deal of work going on in many ways to educate our children in environmental matters.

But I've just written to my MP! I am commenting on the consultation process which has been held recently about proposed changes to planning law. This is a personal view not necessarily the views of our local group.

David Heath CBE MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

Dear David Heath MP,

Thank you for your letter dated 13th October on the subject of the NPPF.
I did also send my comments via the web site for comments.

I made the point that I have had some contact with planning laws over many years, first in my work in the construction industry and more recently as a member of a local village society in Buckinghamshire and very recently as a volunteer with the Somerset Wildlife Trust.

The words “presumption in favour of development” jumped off the page in the draft document and I can’t believe they are meaningless or should be read to mean nothing has changed. The whole exercise is designed to change what had gone before.
To say that nothing has changed since the 1940’s is, I’m afraid, a sad reflection on our failure to respond to the huge advance in Climate Change science which will be no doubt reviewed again in South Africa shortly.  Biodiversity loss is yet another related major issue.

The opening words in the document should have said that there is a presumption to ensure environmental sustainability before any development is approved.  The future of our one and only planet is quite important.

I notice that even our military leaders recognise that running an aircraft carrier is unsustainable. That is new!

I notice you refer to protection afforded to national parks, AONB’s and SSSI’s. I am involved in the conservation of a Local Wildlife Site and they are important too.

Your enthusiasm for The Localism Bill is worrying. To remove carefully worked out national directives which have the benefit of scientific guidance will leave local councillors very much in the dark in trying to decide which developments are sustainable. There have been plenty of local examples of pressure being applied to get council approval for suspect schemes, some within your own constituency.
It is a concern that the South Somerset District Council has only one Ecologist employed and then only part time.

I can only hope that you and your colleagues will exercise your own due diligence in making sure you don’t preside over a damaging new law.
Yours sincerely,


Starlings at Dawn!
Here is a good reason to join the Twitter family. Somerset Wildlife Trust provides a lot of news items this way and I recommend you sign up to Twitter and follow Somerset Wildlife Trust. I've copied the Tweet information which may give you a link to this particular photo. If you are already on Twitter then it should be straight forward.

I'm pleased to see this photo taken at dawn as the overnight roosting birds leave to to go back to their "day job" I fully intend to make the early visit myself soon.

Som Wildlife Trust

Cracking photo of the starlings leaving Ham Wall - early morning magic ^JA

or try this:

Starlings | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Local news

I think I should Blog about some of the small stuff going on in my small part of Somerset. We're getting on with our programme of public meetings. Talks so far on Beavers and then on Rattle Snakes I missed the first which whilst an important conservation subject only attracted a small attendance. Snakes were a more popular subject. We need a certain number paying our very reasonable charges just to cover the cost of the speaker and the hire of the hall.
Last Sundays walk in the Beer Wood was excellent and discovered a rare species for this part of Europe. That was a bit special for the group and a good addition to the record. We must look again next year to see if it will reappear.
Here is a picture of the moment of discovery! Identified as Battarrea phalloides or also  known as a Sandy Stiltball. Followed by the Group gathering round to see what all the fuss was about.I should add that the specimen was well into the cycle of dispersal of spores but the specimen was left in place as a sensible practice. 

I came across an old small booklet recently on the subject of hedges. Their  history is very much tied up in social history going back to the Enclosure Laws which allowed land owners to make it impossible for the general public to have access. It included articles on methods of dating hedges based on a survey of the numbers of species of shrubs and trees that had appeared over time. I've made contact with a local History Society to see if they can help in any way with identifying local ancient hedges.

  This photo is of our newly planted hedge three years ago which contains seven species of hedge plants. According to the theory if you found a hedge with such a number of species it would be several hundreds of years old. That might be confusing at some time in the future! Here is a picture of a worthy volunteer doing the planting by fitting canes and  plastic guards to stop the rabbits from eating the young  plants..

Last Monday I attended a regular meeting of Chairs of Local Area Groups and had a very stimulating discussion about how we all function and how we relate to the parent body , the Somerset Wildlife Trust. Amongst many points raised was the need to review and update a 5 year old document which laid down rules and guidelines for the work we all do as volunteers. On the basis of the old rule that anyone who speaks out on such items gets asked to be involved in the job of doing the revision. So I've got a nice little project for the next 2 or 3 months.

Meanwhile of course our own small committee has its next meeting in a weeks time when we will need to review our future programe and work out what our priorities are. We are very limited in volunteer resources and need to attract more help.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Fungi Foray

We had another fascinating day in Beer Woods and the weather had been kind to us by raining during the week but giving us a dry day for our search.

I've just received a preliminary listing of the fungi spotted by the 14 members and friends who spent over two hours looking for specimens.

We are lucky that we have records of previous forays starting with 2004. A check on the numbers of different species seen shows a wide variation.
2004: 36; 2005:25, 2006:42, 2007:42, 2008: 48;  and now in 2011 a total of 23,  maybe with a few more awaiting identification.
Most fungi enthusiast in this area reckon it has been a bad year weather wise for fungi and our count reflects that.

Our group got quite excited by the discovery of a single specimen of Battarrea phalloides also known as Sandy Stiltball.  A rare find here apparently and a Red Data Book listing. When you have spent hours looking for the Holy Grail I think its reasonable to get a bit excited.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Advertising and Wildlife

This is an interesting view on a major influence on our efforts to conserve wild life. Please read the full article in the Guardian to see George's argument in full. The title below should link to the article. Our problems in wildlife conservation are all linked to the demands put on our environment by our human demands for endless development, growth and prosperity. Advertising must make it harder to find a sensible balance. George Monbiot gets to the heart of a big issue as usual. Posted: 24 Oct 2011 12:25 PM PDT Extracts. Advertising trashes our happiness and trashes the planet. And my income depends on it. By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 24th October 2011 We think we know who the enemies are: banks, big business, lobbyists, the politicians who exist to appease them. But somehow the sector which stitches this system of hypercapitalism together gets overlooked. I am talking about the industry whose output frames this column and pays for it: advertising. For obvious reasons, it is seldom confronted by either the newspapers or the broadcasters. Advertising claims to enhance our choice, but it offers us little choice about whether we see and hear it, and ever less choice about whether we respond to it. Since Edward Bernays began to apply the findings of his uncle Sigmund Freud, advertisers have been developing sophisticated means of overcoming our defences(3). In public they insist that if we become informed consumers and school our children in media literacy we have nothing to fear from their attempts at persuasion. In private they employ neurobiologists to find ever more ingenious methods of bypassing the conscious mind.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tell Hicks Herpetologist extrordinary.

                                                                                                    Lace Monitor
All content contained within this site is protected by
Copyright Laws.
No images may be copied or reproduced without full
written permission from the copyright holder.

We had an excellent talk and presentation on Thursday on the fascinating subject of research and  field studies for the identification of rattlesnakes. Tell Hicks was the speaker who has a life time spent studying these beautiful creatures and painting them in oils. The Lace Monitor above shows the range of Tell's work..

Although Tell started his interest in snakes when he was a teenager in England he soon left home and started travelling round the world trying to learn all he could about his chosen subject. He started finding snakes in the most isolated places much of the time in the USA. Without any formal art training he was soon producing a range of fine and very detailed oil paintings of the numerous sub species of Rattlesnake.His paintings have been awarded professional recognition in recent years and are much in demand.

In an hours talk he could only touch on the subject but nevertheless the trials and tribulations of herping were very amusingly brought to life. He brought with him prints from his extensive range of work normally undertaken on commission together with caps and tee shirts all sporting his designs. It became clear that observing and studying wildlife is the same the world over and requires a lot of patience and field knowledge. Tell's work  has taken him to the dramatic Grand Canyon as well as our local  Quantocks in Somerset
He has a web site where you can see much more of his work.  Click here

Included on his home page is a well known US citizen who wished to acquire a tattoo based on Tells work. In the talk I had to clarify that the gentleman was not in fact Tell himself despite a slight resemblance.
He did end his presentation with a slide showing a beautiful English Adder which he agreed was as striking as any overseas rattlesnake.

Tell has given many talks to us in the Wildlife Trust in Somerset and elsewhere in the UK and spends a fair time in the USA so we were very pleased to get the chance to meet with him again.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Starlings roosting displays.

Just checked the Hot Line for news about the starlings.

The Starling Hotline at 07866 554142 is NOW OPEN and starlings have been gathering locally round Langport for some time now. Last year the Hotline recommended visiting during the week or at DAWN which it says is just as good. Ham Wall is said to be the current  roosting locations.

See my earlier posts on the subject.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Bolas spider

A friend has sent me a link. to a video clip showing the hunting habits of the Bolas Spider.
Its a good job my wife didn't open it ! Being curious about the origin of the clip I did a bit of web searching.
The clip seems to be a copy of an extract from a BBC programme in which Sir David Attenborough describes how the spider catches its prey , in this case moths.The same clip seems to be used by others but with out credit to the BBC so I prefer to use this way of showing it.
Viewing the clips posted by others means that you are shown lots of adverts.
To view the BBC clip go to this link here.
This way you don't get all the distractions. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Draft National Planning Policy Framework

Against the context of the NPPF  today I came across some interesting background Blogs and Web sites. Starting with a 2010 report on biodiversity:

Making Space for Nature:
A review of England’s Wildlife Sites and Ecological Network
Chaired by Professor Sir John Lawton CBE FRS
See the report here

A brief summary of the report says:

We propose that the overarching aim for England’s ecological network should be to deliver a natural environment where:
Compared to the situation in 2000, biodiversity is enhanced and the diversity, functioning and resilience of ecosystems re-established in a network of spaces for nature that can sustain these levels into the future, even given continuing environmental change and human pressures.

Prof Lawton has also been reported as saying:
Professor Sir John Lawton FRS described the coalition government’s proposed ‘dismantling of the planning system‘ as ‘truly terrifying‘ and the ‘backpedalling‘ on climate change in George Osborne’s conference speech as being ‘deeply worrying‘.

Another interesting blog is here  where Sir Johns speech to the RSPB is reported. and the same blog gives a link to the:

Planning Officers Society Final #NPPF Response

Click here for the link.
All these reports help to clarify the extent of the debate about the proposed changes.

Tomorrow , the 17th Oct is the closing date for the consultation period. I managed to send off some additional comments this afternoon!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Botany for Botanical Artists

The detailed construction of a wild flower is well shown in this photograph taken by John Bebbington of the Yellow Archangel.

 It's a good illustration of the detail needed to be able to translate nature into a drawing or painting.
Its good to be able to give some publicity to a workshop to investigate this form of art.. Our local group of the Wildlife Trust has had the benefit of working with Dr Anne Bebbington for two years now and we wish her latest  venture every success described in outline below.

'Botany for Botanical Artists'

'Botany for Botanical Artists' is an informal course especially suitable for people with some experience of illustrating, who want to explore and enjoy the intricacies of plant structure, function and development. A successful pilot of 10 sessions was run from September 2010 – July 2011

Course tutors Anne Bebbington and Mary Brewin, together with their students, invite you to see an exhibition of their work and hear more about the course, how it might be shared more widely
and even how you could become involved in the future if you wish.

To be held at: Nature in Art, Twigworth, Gloucestershire GL2 9PA

All enquiries for this workshop should be addressed to Sue Nicholls by email at:
Please use form shown below to confirm your interest. By clicking on the form you can increase its size.

With the support of the Institue for Analytical Plant Illustration.
( )

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Wildlife Gardening.

The Somerset Wildlife Trust has an active and productive gardening section. Click here to visit their web pages.
With a bit of luck you will also be able to see some relevant photos.

I had this in mind whilst talking to a couple who run a local plant nursery. Note not a garden centre. I liked what I saw and suggested that, locally we in the Wildlife Trust, could cooperate with them in some way to encourage people to make their gardens as wildlife friendly as possible.

They have a web site and a Blog and here are a few quotes from their site.

"We are surrounded by the Somerset Levels, with flora and fauna abundant and no noise or pollution. Just the sound of nature in a relaxed and tranquil setting.

Throughout the Nursery you will find plants that originated from all corners of the world. We owe a great debt to the Plant Hunters who were willing to risk danger and disease so that we could enrich our gardens with colour, fragrance and beauty.

It makes sense to ‘buy local’ and help your environment grow: healthier and cleaner.

We strive to be environmentally friendly, by collecting rainwater from our tunnels to irrigate and mist the plants. We let the birds, insects and amphibians control pests and we carry out good plant husbandry techniques to eliminate diseases."

I hope something can come from this exchange of thoughts on an important subject.

Friday, October 07, 2011


Just received the Autumnwatch newsletter from Somerset Wildlife Trust and was pleased to see a link to a short video with local fungi expert Michael Jordan on site in our local Great Breach Wood just up the road from Somerton. We  have a a fungi foray arranged for October 30th in Beer Wood close to High Ham and this video is a good introduction to our event during which we expect  to find a large number of species of fungi. We usually get a good selection.We start the day with an hour or two in Beer Wood followed by a sandwich lunch in the local village hall and a display of our findings with identification provided by local experts.



Autumwatch in Somerset


Watch our fungi film

Autumwatch kicks off on Friday, Nov 7 so tune in to BBC2 8.30pm Fridays. To wet your appetite for all things autumnal take a look at our new fungi foray video with nationally renowned expert Michael Jordan as he explores our Great Breach Wood nature reserve.


Thursday, October 06, 2011

London Olympic Games 2012.

295 days to London Olympic Games 2012

Click for more information.

328 days to London Paralympics

328 days to go to London Paralympics

Campaign for the Protection of Rural England

There is unprecedented activity by all the major environmental groups, all saying much the same thing, all demanding the Government to think again about its planned changes to planning law.
So accepting a risk of boring my readers I am posting on this reference to the CPRE campaign. You might agree that it is of considerable interest to compare the approach adopted by the environmental groups. Its the sort of topic I could easily have come across in my Open University studies!
So here is the CPRE approach:
Click here to visit their web site.
or use this url.

Bill Bryson and friends stand up for the countryside

Led by CPRE President Bill Bryson, 16 major public figures have issued the following joint statement urging the Government to rethink changes to the planning system which threaten the countryside:

"We urge ministers to listen to the deep concerns being expressed by people across the country".

"The NPPF marks a significant relaxation of protection for the majority of our countryside — so-called “ordinary countryside”. It also moves away from a “brownfield first” approach to development that has been in place since 1995."

"In the final stages of the government's public consultation on the draft NPPF, we urge ministers to listen to the deep concerns being expressed by people across the country and make substantial changes that will protect and enhance our extraordinary countryside for generations to come." Bill Bryson President, Campaign to Protect Rural England

I like the reference to the " ordinary countryside"  which happens to fit nicely with views expressed so vividly by Richard Maybe in his books "Nature Cure" and "The Unofficial Countryside" .