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Friday, August 31, 2012

Bat enquiries, questions, conservation.

When I check the stats provided for my Blog the subject of Bats comes up as a top ten reason for visits,
Especially people searching with Google. I'm not well informed on the subject so a good way to help local residents in Somerset is to suggest they visit the specialist Group shown below.

Use this link to visit:   

I recommend anyone interested in Bats to join their Bat Group
Lou is also the Chair of the SWT Yeovil Area Group

Somerset Bat Group was formed in 1985 to help protect bats in Somerset
We are affiliated to the Bat Conservation Trust (the national organisation for bat protection) and Somerset Wildlife Trust
Somerset has 15 of the 16 species of British Bats and we still haven’t given up on the 16th. Some species are more common than others and some are endangered. The Bat Group is actively engaged in varied activities to help preserve these fascinating creatures.
Several of our members run Bat Walks in the Summer. We give talks to local groups, install and check bat boxes and during the Winter hold workshops and courses in Bat Care, Analysing Bat Sound, and Bat Identification.
If you are interested in joining us the please contact secretary 
phone 01935 862468, or send £5 subs to Lou at 3 Odcombe Hollow, East Chinnock, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 9DW.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wildlife Friendly Gardening

I've just managed to find all six parts of the RHS series, published in their magazine called The Garden, which they call Living Gardens. Published every month since April 2012. The RHS is part of a group of organisations with a common interest in wild life but covering a wide range of interests.  The leading group is Natural England and you can find out more by using the link below.

Natural England - Getting involved

The key words are :   getting involved.  In Somerset the Wildlife Trust will help you.

Wildlife Gardening Forum

Natural England is a leading member of the forum, which includes over 150 conservation organisations, agencies, horticultural organisations and media with an interest in wildlife gardening. Individual gardeners are welcome to join too.
Hummingbird Hawk-moth
Hummingbird Hawk-moth
The forum’s objectives are to:
  • Cultivate a responsible attitude to the natural environment among gardeners and the garden industry.
  • Gather evidence about the benefits to people and biodiversity of wildlife gardening.
  • Pass on information helping people make well-informed choices about their gardening activities.
  • Help link people and nature through gardens, to encourage a deeper appreciation of biodiversity and sustainability.
The Forum Manifesto: (2.1mb)pdf document sets out the main issues for wildlife gardening we are tackling. Organisations joining are asked to sign up to the manifesto.
We have produced Bringing your Garden to Life: (5.35mb)pdf document which sets out ten simple gardening practises to make your garden alive with wildlife.
Members of the forum have worked to produce The Big Wildlife Gardenexternal link, a fantastic resource for everything you need to know about wildlife gardening and join friends doing it too.
You could help in one of the forum’s working groups. These include research needs, developers and planning, human health and well being, and training and education. The Plants for Bugs Project at RHS Wisleyexternal link, is a forum research project looking at the importance of native and non-native garden plants for supporting biodiversity.
We hold conferences and produces newsletters about new findings, case studies and member’s work and events. Visit the how to join page if you would like to be a forum member as an individual or as an organisation. There is no charge to be a member.

The Heat of the Moment

The Heat of the Moment

Another Block Buster from George!

When I have read it again I'll try to comment. Just thinking about its subject is challenging enough right now.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Woodlands and Forests

Lets hope that all are relevant nature conservation organisations keep up their pressure on the Government because without clear pressure we will see woodlands being neglected or allowed to wither under the pressure of commercial timber production.  Here are two statements which might help.

The Woodland Trust commented in July  on Government thinking about Forests.

04 Jul 2012 08:12

"England's forests... SAFE! Woodland Trust reaction to Independent Panel on Forestry final report

Woodland Trust reaction to Independent Panel on Forestry's final report, published today
Hilary Allison, Woodland Trust Policy Director said:
"Following the publication of the Independent Panel on Forestry's final report today, we are delighted that Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has confirmed that the public forest estate is safe. It is vital that the Government now works towards ensuring the estate is effectively resourced and developed to deliver more benefits for more people."

They went on to say:

Hilary continued: "In its report, the Panel has clearly documented the enormous potential of forests, woods and trees. It has presented a series of ambitious and positive recommendations to drive England's woodland policy forward, including a challenging target for tree planting to ensure new woods are created for people and wildlife.
However, there is still work to be done and issues on which the Woodland Trust urges the Government to go further. It is important to reiterate the need to restore and protect the ancient woodland we already have.
The Government must show leadership and take forestry seriously, focusing on creating the right framework to ensure our woodland resource is expanded, protected, restored and used to deliver the many and varied benefits it is so clearly capable of.
The Woodland Trust will actively engage with the Government and will also work alongside other organisations to ensure a plan for the sustainable management of our forests is delivered as soon as possible."

and the Somerset Wildlife Trust said before publication of the report:

"Ahead of the publication of the Independent Panel on Forestry’s final report on the future of forestry in England (4 July), Somerset Wildlife Trust sets out seven criteria it wants to see included to ensure nature’s recovery is secured.

Simon Nash, CEO, Somerset Wildlife Trust, said: 

“We will judge the Panel’s report against our ‘criteria for success’.  We want to see integration, better protection, reconnection and restoration of woodlands and a new remit for the Forestry Commission. 
“There should be a Public Forest Estate with a new purpose, focused on nature, people’s connection to nature and the delivery of other public benefits. 
“We intend to engage with the Government to ensure any positive recommendations are acted upon, and to strengthen those which may not go far enough for wildlife.”

Somerset Wildlife Trust’s seven criteria

1. A new remit for the Forestry Commission
Somerset Wildlife Trust wants to see a shift in the Forestry Commission so that its primary focus is on nature and the provision of other public benefits.  The Public Forest Estate should be an exemplar of sustainable management.  This will require a change in the Forestry Commission’s statutory remit. 
2. Integration
Forestry should be part of a coherent strategy for the natural environment: woods being one part of a resilient ecological network.  Forestry policy and grants should be integrated with other land use and management policies and incentives.
3. Better protection
We want to see better protection for existing woods, especially ancient woodlands.
4. Reconnection of people with the natural environment
People’s access to the Public Forest Estate (PFE) should be protected.  Government should also create more opportunities for people to enjoy and be inspired by woodlands and forests outside the Public Forest Estate.
5. Reconnection of woodlands at a landscape-scale
Natural regeneration and tree planting should be encouraged to buffer, extend and link existing woodlands.  In all cases, a ‘right tree in the right place’ principle should be adopted.
6. Restoration of existing woodlands
Existing woodlands that could be richer in wildlife should be brought to life by appropriate, sustainable woodland management.  This can increase habitat quality and help to reverse declines in woodland wildlife.
7. Restoration of open habitats under plantation forestry
Areas of lowland heathland, meadow and other internationally important open habitats planted with conifers must be restored with urgency. 
Simon Nash added:  “The Public Forest Estate represents the single biggest opportunity to implement the recommendations made in last year’s Natural Environment White Paper, including the Lawton Review.  It is critical that this opportunity is taken.”"

Friday, August 24, 2012

Full On Sport - Events

You will no doubt be pleased to know that the event took place in good weather and was a great success.


Full On Sport - Events Click on the link for details.

The link with nature is a bit stretched with this one. Despite running round lovely country lanes with wild flowers, dragonflies and lots more to stop and have a closer look at, if you do it wont give you a PB! If your like me and you like to stop and look then you would be better off doing the 2.5km Fun Run! I'll be marshalling!!


Limited day entries available

Once again the organisers of the Battle of Sedgemoor 10k Race look forward to welcoming everyone to our annual events.

The 10k Road Race will be a mainly flat but potentially fast race around the villages of Drayton and Muchelney and back to Langport, passing through some extremely scenic rural countryside.

The course is a measured 10,000 metres marked in Km. for pace judgement with one drinks station at about 6Km, and a sponge station at about 4Km. Course

Male 29.41 Nick Comerford (Cardiff) 2000
Female 34.26 Vicky Pincombe (Bideford) 2001

There will be Prizes and Trophies in all categories including teams.

Whatever category you enter under, we are sure there will be something for you.

As always the course will be well marked and marshalled. 

The Start and Finish will be at the Langport Arms Hotel, as will the prize giving, as soon as possible after the event. Free public parking is available next to the Langport Arms and changing facilities will be in the Hotel. Please be aware if you park in the public car park at the race start there will be no exit until after the
race completes. 

Alternative parking will be displayed on race day.

Bar snacks, teas and coffees will be available from 10.30a.m.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Barcroft Hall- The Field of Dreams

The publicity given to the wild flowers sown on the Olympic Park is mirrored by the large numbers of people visiting Barcroft Hall. The Royal Horticultural Society provides some pictures showing parts of the  Olympic Park. Click here for the RHS web site:     or use this URL.

You can also see a list of plants sown in the Field of Dreams on the Barcroft Hall web site.

It was a bit cloudy this afternoon and some of the brightness of the flowers left the photographs.  The display was spectacular as last year. It appeared that the flowers were not so tall and maybe the planting density was a bit lower. That such a display should survive the earlier wet conditions is a tribute to the resilience of nature. There is much food for thought from the use of wild flower seed from around the world. I was pleased to see bees and other insects, on for instance the sunflowers, but not many butterflies but then the lack of the sunshine must have reduced the number flying as it does on our own native flower meadow.  

The separate field of sun flowers is perhaps the most visually dramatic image for me.

I was pleased to revist this year, almost on the same date as 2011. I certainly think if you are interested in wild flowers regardless of their normal habitat then a visit to see the display for yourself is recommended.
I hope the experiment continues next year and I will give some thought to making comment as Brian and Denise  Herrick have invited.  

Here are a few of my photos.

The first shows a child with a large collection of balloons running on a path through the field for the benefit of a professional photographer!  

The others show various views through the field.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Economic Growth, Wildlife and the New Economic Forum.

Before getting on my soap box about Economic Growth and Wildlife I'd like to show you a few more photos from our own small wildlife garden area which has an equally small pond!

An insect on Wild Carrot

Bumble Bee on a Spear Thistle flower head.

I was really pleased to find this Dragonfly apparently laying eggs on an old log at the side of our small pond. I thought they laid their eggs in or on aquatic plants.

But here is the subject of this post.

Statements in the news bulletins today and speeches by the Governor of the Bank of England managed to relate the UK economy with the sporting performances in the Olympic Games. If only we could all work together with a common goal of reestablishing economic growth we will all be OK.
Surely everyone who has been around for a few years must know that continuous economic growth year in and year out can only end in disaster for our beautiful Somerset and our planet.
That's why I have become interested in the work of the New Economic Forum. 
Below is an extract from their web site:

"Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist" - Kenneth Boulding
There is nothing ‘natural’ about our current economic arrangements. They have been consciously designed to achieve a simple objective: growth. But growth is not making us happier, it is creating dysfunctional and unequal societies, and if it continues will make large parts of the planet unfit for human habitation.

We need to do things differently, and soon.

This means starting from first principles and building a new model for how the economy functions. Right now every one of us is dependent on growth. The way our economy is structured means that unless there is growth people lose their jobs, the tax base shrinks and politicians struggle to fund the public services we all rely on every day.

At nef, we want to break that vicious cycle by building a new macro-economic model that is geared not towards growth, but towards achieving the outcomes that are important to society and that can be sustained by the planet's finite carrying capacity. 

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Heart of the Levels Group "change of management".

The Somerset Wildlife Trust July e newsletter to volunteers carried this news item!

"Change of Area Group Chair

David German has decided to step down from the position of Area Chair for Heart of The Levels Area Group.  The Trust would like to thank David for all he has achieved for SWT during his time as an Area Group Chair.  We would like to welcome Rosemary Webber as the new Chair of the group.  Rosemary has been a committee member for many years and is a Wildlife Watch leader too. "