We’ve been busy on Brownsea with island operations returning to near normality with the easing of restrictions. It has been wonderful to see our volunteers return to help us prepare the hides and re-start the working parties, with visitors coming to enjoy all the amazing wildlife on show during the summer months on Brownsea.
The main focus of the work parties has been removing the invasive pond weed, Crassula hemsii from areas of the reserve. This non-native highly invasive species will cover entire water bodies if given a chance and shade out native species of flora. Unfortunately, nothing eats it and needs to be removed year on year to reduce the spread. Crassula has been removed from areas of the wet meadow by the Villa, ponds alongside the diagonal path and areas within the reedbed so far by the conservation work party. The fence building outside the Villa has continued with the maintenance team and chestnut railings are almost complete. The tractor has a new exhaust box after the old one had developed a leak. Some new routed tree signs have been produced for the arboretum in Venetia Park.
Schools and Activity Groups
60 children from Archbishop Wake Primary, who completed their Gold, Silver and Bronze Wildlife HERO Award visited Brownsea over two days to enjoy their fully funded ActivityTRIPs. A lovely new workbook accompanies the trip and the children tried their hands at whole host of activities including pond-dipping, bird-watching, sweep-netting and bracken-bashing. A big thank you to everyone who helped Jonny, especially volunteers Mitch Perkins and Catherine Wright, who were as generous with their time as they were brilliant with the children! Looking to Activity Groups, we have some excellent news regarding the launch of the Activity Groups - after a lot of hard work in the planning, we received final sign-off from the National Trust giving the go-ahead for the Youth Marine Wardens to start in August. Thanks to Angela, Liv, Gemma and Rob at National Trust for their help as well as our partners Oceans to Earth and Jurassic Watersports. Thanks also to Anthony Vickery who has offered the use of his boat as a licensed support vessel.
Winchester 12th Scouts came to Brownsea in July for a morning with Jonny learning about Brownsea’s wildlife, conservation careers, the Wild Brownsea newsletter and to help with a bracken-bash in Venetia Park. We have booked two more Explorers’ visits with Dorset Goes Wild, a group run by BCP Council engaging young people to respond to the climate and ecological emergencies. We have also set a launch date for Young Conservationists – this will be a hands-on practical group aimed at people aged 13 to 17 interested in wildlife. They will get involved in practical conservation tasks, surveys and monitoring, as well as blended learning workshops which can lead on to our Introduction to Nature course and AQA qualifications. Thank you to Susanna Holford for helping to promote the groups – anyone who knows a young person who might be interested, please contact Jonny (firstname.lastname@example.org).