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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wild Plant Conservation

A favourite botanical charity of mine has written to me with a new scheme and I think it could be useful for anyone concerned about the state of wild flowers and plants in their own area. As with any other project it will only be successful if more people get involved. As a small step I'm including details as a post on my Blog. I'll download the parish record form and try to make use of it here in my own Parish. Think about it. Give it a go! You could also sign up for their free newsletter. If you happen to live in Somerset we have our own Botany Groups who carry out identification surveys and they would be pleased to hear from you and you dont need to be an experienced botanist. You can contact me through this Blog.

Dear Parish Pioneer reader

The Wild About Plants team need your help!  We are keen to reach many more people and have prepared the attached article which we would like to ask editors of local parish and village newsletters to consider including in their publications this spring.  Would you be able to approach the relevant person local to you and ask them to do this?  In this way we can all spread the message about the importance of wild plants in our countryside and hopefully recruit lots of new readers for the Parish Pioneer newsletter too.

If you are successful, could you let us know how you've got on and which newsletter has published the article?

Thank you

The Wild About Plants Team.

Attached write up.

Are you Wild About Plants in your parish?

Wild Plant charity, Plantlife, which conserves wild plants on the ground, is interested in your wild plant memories, foraging tales and recipes to find out just how connected our lives still are to wild plants and whether they continue to be important to communities and individuals today. Parishioners can write in to the Wild About Plants team with their memories, poems and photographs which will be added to a plant anthology on the website,

If you have more time available, it would be great if you could complete a parish record form, which as well as asking about how local people use wild plants, also asks you to record whether certain wild plants grow in your parish. A parish record form can be downloaded from :

Plant enthusiasts can also subscribe to a lovely free quarterly newsletter called Pioneer which aims to inspire the amateur botanist and nature lover with useful tips, facts and plant ID help – readers are encouraged to provide content and feedback regularly making for a real hands on friendly and fun newsletter! Email: to sign up!

Great Crane Project

Last Wednesday  our group organised a talk to hear all about this great new project on our local moors. On Friday two of us went on a visit to a secret location organised by the RSPB to see the new flock of cranes in the wild. Here is my write up.

Summary report on HLG public meeting on the Great Crane Project. 22.02.12

Another very good meeting. There were 28 members in the audience for an excellent presentation by Roger Lucken. Roger is a volunteer with the RSPB who has been involved with the project for some time.

The talk included a general description of the project and the history of Cranes in the UK and world wide. Roger explained details of the implementation of the project and the latest news about progress in establishing a new population of Cranes on the Somerset Levels.

Good slides and excellent photographs enlivened the one and half hour talk. We learnt a great deal about these fascinating birds.
Cranes first appeared on Earth around 40 million years ago and were last seen in the wild in the UK around 400 years ago. Loss of habitat due to drainage of the wetlands and their attraction as a source of food for human consumption were to blame.
The reintroduction of the birds in Somerset followed a detail assessment of the available wetland areas.

The project was developed with several partners bringing together experience of rearing animals in captivity so that they do not become humanised was an important requirement. The WWT at Slimbridge were vital for the initial rearing of chicks from eggs imported from Germany.

Looking after the young chicks after they were brought to Somerset involved dressing up in clothing which loosely resembled adult cranes and walking around with a stick with an imitation Cranes head.
The whole talk was filled with such detail and it was very appropriate that two of our committee were able to visit the Aller Moors on Friday 24th Feb to see the young flock for real.
The photo attached was taken during the visit. Further information can be found at the Project web site shown here.
Photo by D. German