Thanks for calling in.
Having spent the last few days in Town, today we're off to the country for a breath of fresh air.
The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust was formed in 1960 and is one of 47 wildlife trusts throughout the country protecting habitats to help wildlife.
They have 24,500 members, 900 volunteers, who gave 40,000 hours help last year, plus corporate wildlife investors.
97% of chalk grasslands have disappeared and the UK is one of the worst countries for wildlife decline. When the Twyford cutting on the M3 was created in 1992, the wildlife habitats were destroyed and they have only just recovered now.
The Trust has been working on various projects to improve the situation, their vision is to join up all the living landscapes and living seas to enable wildlife to move from area to area. They've been helping Duke of Burgundy butterflies and willow tits to survive, working with farmers showing that ploughing in a different direction in parallel with rivers stops run off into rivers, managing MoD land and working with other companies. They are involved with education and forest schools to make sure youngsters are aware about wildlife from an early age.
Some of their areas worth a visit are:
Royden Woods, great for Blundell,
Blashford Lakes which used to be a WW2 U.S. air base, then became a race track and then a gravel pit. Now bitterns, little auks, ospreys and ring-belled gulls are there in Winter. In the lakes, they have provided tern rafts so they can breed safely and, at sun down, it is well worth watching the birds come in to roost, displaying in murmurations.
Winnall Moors now has sea trout and watervoles in the rivers after they have been managed and although the area was allowed to flood and was under 10-15 foot of water, no harm came to the natural environment, only the paths and benches were damaged and replaced using a grant.
In Victorian times, they straightened all the waterways to make the water flow faster but this is not the natural way, more plants and mammals can establish themselves if the water is slowed down. There are only 200 chalk streams in the world, 95% of which are here and need protecting.
All the rivers in Hampshire now have otters.
Another of their projects is grazing for wildlife where cattle are used to manage their open spaces benefitting other wildlife in the process.
Not forgetting the seas around the UK where there are 44,000 species to be found, their work covers areas where species breed and need protection.
If youd like to read more or help to support their work, here's their website.
|Duke of Burgundy butterfly|
Such an interesting talk.