Every month we like to reflect and celebrate all the brilliant pledges that have taken place. Our Pledge for Nature Coordinator Bryony Paul left the project at the end of May so she has written a few words to reflect on the last 18 months and we look forward to welcoming her successor in June.
Thank you and goodbye for now!
When I started with the North Devon Biosphere team in November 2019 I didn't really know what to expect from the project! I knew that it was well supported by some of the big names in conservation (Devon Wildlife Trust, West Country Rivers Trust, National Trust, Woodland Trust etc.), that it was at a good time to encourage people to take action for nature as public interest grew from the worrying data shown in the State of Nature Report in 2019 and that the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere was a pretty unique and special place to live and work. In those first few months it was a flurry of meeting people, helping to organise and launch this website as well as community events such as tree planting in Woolacombe and Braunton. And then the pandemic lockdown hit. From planning a spring and summer full of attending events and organising activities we quickly had to rethink our strategy! We held a nature photography competition which had some brilliant entries and also recorded the Nature Natters video series where we chatted to interesting organisations and individuals who were doing great things for nature in the Biosphere. Over the summer people continued to pledge their brilliant actions for nature taking place in their gardens or local community spaces and we organised several butterfly walks as part of Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count.
Autumn and Winter brought another round of lockdown restrictions making bird box making and tree planting events difficult to schedule but we were pleased to set up the Community Orchards Challenge Fund scheme (with the majority of financial support by the Devon Country Councillor locality budgets and technical support from Orchards Live). The fund was able to support 14 community orchards throughout the Biosphere which will be fantastic places for both people and wildlife to spend time. Over the winter months two brilliant volunteers (Mike Moser and Tony Collyer in Chulmleigh) put together over 30 kestrel nest boxes which were offered to farmers and landowners to install. I'm pleased to report that at the time of writing 3 of these boxes are thought to be in use by kestrel families but hopefully we will hear of more! An extra thank you to the farmers and landowners who have engaged with this project as well as other Biosphere schemes, as custodians of the land it is evermore evident that working with nature will be more important and sustainable in the long term.
At the end of January we celebrated some of the fantastic pledges that had occurred throughout the year with our Biosphere Nature Awards, I really hope this will be able to take place in person next year - please keep adding your pledges with good descriptions to be eligible to enter the Awards. And finally this Spring we have had a push to install boxes and nest cups for swifts and house martins which are in decline. We have had pledges on the Pledge Map for over 150 bird boxes to be installed (not including the 30 kestrel boxes) which hopefully should be a great help for these birds populations. Although, as well as nesting sites we also need to encourage our land use practices to be 'less tidy' and allow those bushy hedgerows, and scrubby edges to grow for shelter and to increase insect populations on which these birds feed on.
Thank you to all those that supported the initial Crowdfunder at the start of the project as well as the National Lottery Players who help the National Lottery Heritage Fund support such a wide range of brilliant projects including Pledge for Nature. Thank you also to every person who has engaged with the projectso far, whether it's making a pledge for nature on the website or sharing on social media, the more people helping nature the better.
Finally, I would also just like to highlight some of the brilliant nature related groups in the Biosphere who are doing great things for nature and the environment, if you don't have one near you then have you thought about setting one up? The Nature Plan Challenge Fund may help you with any initial start up project costs!:
- Winkleigh Biodiversity Group and Environment Group
- Sustainable Chulmleigh
- Regen Braunton
- South Molton in Bloom (and rewilding project) and Barnstaple in Bloom
- Plastic Free North Devon
- Devon Wildlife Trust Local Groups (Barnstaple, and Chulmleigh)
- Hatherleigh Environment Forum (and Conservation Communities)
- North Devon Natural History Network
Thank you again, it has been a pleasure getting to know the passionate and inspirational people doing great things for nature in northern Devon and I'm sure I'll be down for a 'staycation' some time soon!
(PfN Coordinator Nov 2019-May 2021, the new Coordinator will hopefully start in June, if you have any questions about the project in the meantime please contact the Biosphere Team)
Top Pledges in May
Every month we celebrate the fantastic pledges that have taken place, please continue to share photos of your completed pledges on the Pledge for Nature Facebook Group:
- North Devon Council are taking part in No Mow May with two sites; one in Barnstaple (Rock Park) and one in Ilfracombe (field behind swimming pool).
- Caroline in Ivybridge has also pledged to take part in No Mow May.
- Mike has installed two swift boxes on his house in Chulmleigh.
- Abi has been taking part in no Mow May.
- Shelley in Shirwell has pledged to help hedgehogs by adding a hedgehog highway (hole in the fence) to help hedgehogs to move between gardens.
Please see the events blog for the full list.
- Little Green Town in Bideford are organising regular gardening sessions in the town.
- Plastic Free North Devon are also beginning to organise regular Cleanse and Clean events.
- Moor Meadows have organised a number of Open Meadow Days across Devon where people open up their gardens/land so you can enjoy their work first-hand and ask any questions about creating your owns meadows.
Monday 28th June will be the 'Wild About Devon' launch event with some great speakers from the Devon Local Nature Partnership talking about how we can all help nature in Devon.
Nature to Look out for in June
Trees in full leaf, summer flowers will soon be in bloom, a great time of year to get outside and see what wildlife you can find- keep an eye out for orchids in woodlands and on verges on your walks, and bats flying around at dusk! Butterflies will be busy flitting between nectar-rich flowers, see the Woodland Trust blog on how to attract butterflies to your garden.
Don't forget to let us know what you are doing for nature in your garden, school, business or farm by making a Pledge for Nature.
Apr 30, 2021
Every month we like to review the brilliant pledges tand events that have happened. This month we had Earth Day (theme 'restore our earth'), we visited Braunton to give out house martin nest cup materials and wildflower seeds and we have helped to support a new community rewilding project in South Molton. Barnstaple in Bloom also organised a brilliant 'Tidy the Taw' event. This month we have a special guest writer Bethany Lee (volunteer) who has written a section about how to enjoy the sunshine in an environmental responsible manner which ties in well with the Devon wide Naturally Healthy May campaign!
Apr 4, 2021
A summary of the nature related events happening across the North Devon Biosphere. This page will be updated regularly. Photo: A Bee's View, the Gaia Trust
Apr 1, 2021
Every month we like to review the brilliant pledges that people have made - there's been loads of fantastic pledges this month well done everybody! We also introduce the new April-June seasonal activities and challenge you to hear/see the some of the first signs of Spring.
Mar 1, 2021
Every month we like to review the brilliant pledges that people have made as well as what look wildlife and nature to look out for. This month we have a special guest writer, Sally Vergette a farmer from Highampton has written about the efforts they have made on their farm to make it more wildlife friendly.
To Our Biosphere
Make Space for Nature
More Community Action
Protect North Devon's Future