Archive | Charities And Organizations

07 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

A Visit To The Sussex Wildlife Trust

The Sussex Wildlife Trust is based at Woods Mill Nature Trail which hosts not just the SWT offices but also a considerable amount of carefully-managed reserve. Whilst small in size, the reserve offers ample parking and a huge diversity of habitats including deciduous woodland, open pasture and aquatic and semi-aquatic environments thanks to the river running through the site and the man-made pools and ponds.

Apparently originally privately-owned, the site hosts a fascinating range of old masonry lying around close to the office buildings which give the site a strange, almost monastic feel, and at least for nerds like me provide a lot of added interest as you try to figure out what you’re looking at and what it was going to be used for.

I visited the Woods Mill Nature Trail in late April/early May but thanks for work commitments I have only now had the time to write up this little piece about the site. When I visited earlier on in the year there were signs of plants and animals everywhere.

A (private) deciduous wood on the site was simply dripping with wild flowers like Stitchwort and Bluebells and you could well imagine deer and foxes bounding around in the woods. Incidentally I was also lucky enough a few weeks ago to get a decent photo of some Bluebell seed pods now that the flowering season has come to an end and the seeds are ready to disperse.

The open pasture, with a stream running through it, was alive with a variety of grasses and wild flowers including Lady’s Smock which was attracting Orange Tip butterflies in droves. This area is also apparently excellent for swallows and swifts hunting insects and also for birds of prey flowing low looking for small mammals to catch.

Indeed, the Trust hosts several nest boxes specifically for birds of prey – kestrels and owls for example – which are used on a regular basis and so visitors have an excellent potential of getting great views of these animals going about their normal everyday lives.

Lastly in the evening a number of species of bat may be seen flying low over the pasture hunting for insects after the swallows have gone to roost for the evening.

Education is an integral element of the site and so school parties and professional training courses are invited in on a regular basis. One interesting element of this are the dipping pools and lake which allow children to find and identify a host of aquatic animals. On the day I visited the pools were literally alive with newts and every few seconds another would swim elegantly to the top for a breath of air before disappearing beneath the surface to continue with their mating.

All these various habitats also encourage a wide range of plants and personally I was particularly taken by the sweetly-scented Yellow Archangel with it’s crown of buttery-yellow flowers which the bees couldn’t stay away from. The simple yet elegant Garlic Mustard was also growing strongly in the shade of the trees near the dipping pond attracting numerous hover flies.

Yellow Archangel

Yellow Archangel

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Lastly, as a self-confessed bug fanatic, I happily spent quite some time watching a number of wolf spiders hunting amongst the nettles near the entrance to the site and these nettle-beds themselves provide food and homes for a range of our British butterfly species such as Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshell.

In many ways Woods Mill is a perfect day out. Certainly the site is reasonably small but with excellent parking and toilets available, together with a huge variety of species there really is something here for every nature lover. Take the time to just sit yourself down on one of the many benches scattered around the site and just sit back and watch as the wildlife goes about it’s normal business.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Sussex Wildlife Trust for their hospitality during our visit and I would also strongly recommend that if you are based in or near Sussex that you seriously consider joining the SWT. They do some amazing work – about which I hope to bring you more information over the next few weeks – and are a passionate group working tirelessly to protect our native wildlife. More information on the Sussex Wildlife Trust is available from their website which can be found at http://www.sussexwt.org.uk

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06 April 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Butterfly Conservation Needs Your Help

Heath Fritillary
Creative Commons License photo credit: Darius Baužys

I just received a flyer from Butterfly Conservation (of which I am a member) with some pretty stark news. Butterfly Conservation runs the largest butterfly recording scheme in the world – a project that is essential for conservation monitoring.

Unfortunately it seems that Butterfly Conservation, like so many other charities, has been severely hit by the recession and they are finding a potential shortfall of £75,000 from their financies this year.

Clearly, this is pretty serious and I’m sure as a reader of this website you’d want to know about this. Luckily, helping Butterfly Conservation is easy.

Please take just 2 minutes to click on the following link and make a donation of whatever you can afford, no matter how small. You can donate as little as £1 and as much as you like. So go on, make a difference today.

Click here to support Butterfly Conservation.

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05 April 2010 ~ 0 Comments

How To Take Part In UK Wildlife Surveys

Happy Furry Friday Everybody...:O)))
Creative Commons License photo credit: law_keven

If you’re a wildlife fanatic and spend some of your time in the great outdoors enjoying all the plants and animals it has to offer, were you aware that your activities could be put to excellent use by a range of scientists? Many biologists rely on the observations of people like you and me to help them understand the conservation of Britains nature.

The following list, while not exhaustive, lists a huge number of wildlife surveys you can get involved with if you have the interest. Please feel free to add any that we have omitted in the comments section at the end. Lastly, as always I have tried to link to the specific page that relates to the survey rather than the homepage of the various organizations to try and make your research just that little bit more speedy.

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27 February 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Forthcoming UK Wildlife Events For 2010

Moth Caterpillar - Cerura vinula
Creative Commons License photo credit: Lukjonis

If you’re anything like me then actually getting outside with likeminded individuals is just about the best way to spend the day. Whether you’re going out with an expert learning to identify birds or you’re doing your bit with a wildlife survey these events can be some of the most rewarding days out possible.

So I thought with this in mind I would mention a few forthcoming wildlife and nature events for 2010 so you can find out more about them and get involved wherever possible.

27th March 2010 – Earth Hour

WWF are once again asking us all to illustrate just how important we feel climate change is to help put pressure on politicians to make a difference. At 8.30pm GMT on March 27th WWF are hoping for a billion people to switch off their lights for an hour. Click here to find out more.

15th May 2010 – National Moth Night

A celebration of moths in which you are invited to carry out a moth count of your own or join an organized event where you can learn more about moths and help to further out understanding of their distribution across the UK. Click here to find out more.

21st-27th June 2010 – National Insect Week 

Organized by the Royal Entomological Society, this is a national celebration of insects and their importance in the web of life. Click here to find out more.

28th-29th August 2010 – European Bat Weekend

Get closer to bats with this special annual event organized by the Bat Conservation Trust. Click here to learn more.

Lastly, please be aware that the British Wildlife Trusts arrange a huge number of events throughout the year and across the country. You can find their detailed listings of events here.

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27 February 2010 ~ 4 Comments

16 Environmental And Conservation Charities You Should Join

Maternal instinct
Creative Commons License photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar

If you’re like me and you don’t just want to enjoy wildlife passively but you actually want to “do your bit” and donate some money to environmental and conservation causes then you can do a lot worse than to join one or more charities.

Many of these charities do amazing work from managing habitats to lobbying governments and so you will really be making an impact by joining. A membership to one of these societies can also be an excellent gift idea for the passionate conservationist or naturalist.

Please note that the links will take you straight to their respective membership pages to find out more.

The following list are well-known charities within the UK but please feel free to make additions by leaving a comment at the bottom of this article.

Bug Life

Dedicated to maintaining sustainable populations of insects, spiders and earthworms. Click here to join.

Butterfly Conservation

Dedicated to saving wild butterflies, moths and their habitats throughout the UK. Click here to join.

Centre For Alternative Technology (CAT)

Aims to ‘inspire, inform, and enable’ people to live more sustainably. Click here to join.

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Saving endangered animals from extinction worldwide. Click here to join.

English Heritage

Exists to protect and promote England’s spectacular historic environment and ensure that its past is researched and understood. Click here to join.

Friends Of The Earth

Making life better for people by inspiring solutions to environmental problems. Click here to join.

Greenpeace

Defends the natural world and promote peace by investigating, exposing and confronting environmental abuse, and championing environmentally responsible solutions. Click here to join.

Marine Conservation Society

Dedicated to the protection of the marine environment and its wildlife. Click here to join.

National Trust

Protects special places in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, for ever, for everyone. Click here to join.

People’s Trust For Endangered Species

Helps to ensure a future for many endangered species throughout the world. Click here to join.

Royal Society For The Protection Of Birds (RSPB)

Works to secure a healthy environment for birds and all wildlife, helping to create a better world for everyone. Click here to join.

Wildfowl And Wetlands Trust

A leading UK conservation organisation saving wetlands with nine UK wetland visitor centres, consulting and conservation teams working worldwide. Click here to join.

Woodland Trust

Working towards a country rich in native woods and trees enjoyed and valued by everyone. Click here to join.

World Land Trust

 A wildlife conservation charity with a 20 year track record of successful rainforest projects. Click here to join.

Worldwide Fund For Nature (WWF)

Protects endangered wildlife and environments, tackles climate change and promotes sustainable use of resources. Click here to join.

Zoological Society Of London (ZSL)

Devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. Click here to join.

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