Wildlife has thrived on Brownsea in one of the warmest Septembers on record – plenty of dragonflies and butterflies around although the wintering bird numbers are building, a reminder that cooler times are just around the corner. Felling works associated with the Countryside Stewardship project have started within the Dorset Wildlife Trust woodlands with the aim of thinning woodland to provide light to the ground and create wooded heath, and margins of heathland habitat. Wooded heath will create more habitat for pollinators and our native reptiles but still provide a source of food for red squirrels. Our practical conservation work parties have been hard at work removing invasive pond weed from wetland areas and the maintenance team have been busy building new fences and keeping on top of smaller jobs around the reserve too.
Youth and community engagement
Preparations are being finalised for the launch of the Marine Wardens group. We are looking for suggestions for a new name that better reflects the remit of a shoreline ranger role. So far ‘Coast Rangers’ is the front runner, but all ideas welcome please. We are very grateful for all the support from the community – the John Lewis Partnership have donated funds which will help to pay for vital resources for the group including safety equipment. Thank you to our support boat skipper, Anthony, who kindly took Jonny and Ben out on the boat for some familiarisation.
Young Conservationists launched in October. Interest in the group has been phenomenal with three young people applying for each place. More thank yous: Amelia Cantell has been recruited to support Jonny with activity groups as our Volunteer Youth Coordinator and has already helped to review group literature! Thanks also to Kara Guppy from Tesco Branksome who kindly agreed to sponsor the group this month with very generous donations of refreshments and equipment. This will make all the difference – or perhaps I should say ‘Every little helps!’
Plans for the Cameron Bespolka Memorial lecture at Winchester College are now finalised which we will be giving to 500 primary school children, as well as helping to run a competition for all the schools involved and providing an Activity Trip to Brownsea for the winning class.