Celebrating the fantastic pledges that have taken place during November, thank you to every one who has made a pledge, winter is an especially important time to help nature. There's lots of activities to keep you busy in December from online events, volunteer and citizen science opportunities and our Nature Friendly Christmas Challenge.
Pledges during November
A big thank you to everyone who has made a pledge during November we have had some fantastic ones come in!!:
- Rose in Bideford has pledged to build and install four swift nest boxes in a suitable location on her house.
- Paul the National Trust ranger at Croyde has pledged to create a community orchard
- Maisie in Black Torrington has pledged to put up a bat box in their garden.
- Philippa in Ilfracombe has pledged to restore their Victorian terraced garden. Restoring the ponds including a bog garden, planting native trees along the hedge line some grown from local seed, planting the garden for diverse wild life on a coastal edge. Bird and bat boxes.
- Multiple farmers have contacted us interested in our Kestrel nest box scheme. See our Facebook post or send us an email to find out more information.
- Marilyn in Bideford pledges to install a bird box and create a wildflower patch.
- Sue in Abbotsham has pledged to help hedgehogs and convert grassland to wildflower maritime meadow.
- Steve in Chittlehamholt has pledged to create a community orchard as part of our community orchard scheme, we're excited to see how it comes along!
- Mary Rose in Chulmleigh has pledged to plant 50 bare root Rhamnus (Buckthorn) in very sparse hawthorn hedge.
- Chloe in Braunton has pledged to plant a tree "In our family garden, we already have a wild corner which has housed a few hedgehog family’s. We will continue with this and want to plant other trees and plants."
- Lydia scattered yellow rattle seeds on areas of pasture.
- Elizabeth in Hatherleigh pledges to create a wildflower patch on her lawn, flower bed and hedge bank.
- Pete and Jane have an exciting reqilding project where they have approx 20 acres of previously neglected Pasture, Culm & Woodland near Yarnscombe. "We're complete novices but leaning fast! Planning to 'rewild' the land, restore the Culm, create wild flower meadows and plant lots of trees starting soon so volunteers will always be welcome!
- The Swimbridge Community Orchards project is coming along well, with the first large crab apple being planted as well as daffofil bulbs ready for spring, they are hoping the order of trees will arrive soon.
- Southmead Primary School have input some AMAZING pledges: Putting up a bat box in the school garden near a wild hedgerow. Their EYFS children made a paper poppy on Remembrance Day with real seeds pasted in the centre to plant at home (such as great idea!) and finally they have sent out the Christmas Nature Challenge out as homework and hope that as a school they can complete the 12 Christmas Challenges!
Thank you everyone! We look forward to seeing your photos on the Pledge for Nature Facebook Group.
See our website page here with all the information.12 actions for the 12 days of Christmas.
6 present ideas
- Wildflower seeds
- Join a nature conservation charity
- A Nature ID book or App
- A bird feeder or bird or bat box
- Food or hamper from your local friendly farm
- Go Plastic Free in your gifts and gift wrapping and Christmas tree
and 6 activities to help you have a nature friendly Christmas!
- Watch David Attenborough's: A life on Our Planet
- Make a log pile in your garden.
- Plant a native tree or shrub or seeds.
- Visit a reserve or nature spot and count how many species you can see.
- Build or Install a bat or bird box
- Share your best photo of Christmas Wildlife
Events and Volunteering during December
Devon’s Hedgehogs led by DWTs Jasmine Atkinson, on 1st December at 3pm
Exploring the lives of our spiky garden friends; find out how we can help hedgehogs, and why they need our help!
Hedgehogs are our mostrecognisable garden visitor, but how much do you know about their lives?Discover the night-time worlds of these spiky creatures, find out why they arein decline and how we can help them in our gardens. (Photo: Tom Marshall)
Book here for a place on the Devon’s Hedgehog talk.
Who’s been here? Tracks and Signs led by DBRCs Jess Smallcombe on 14th December at 7.30pm
Bring out your inner detective! Find out how we can identify wildlife by using their tracks and signs. Many of our wild animal species are shy and elusive. Direct sightings of them are often only for a lucky few. This talk takes you through a few of the common species and the tracks and signs they leave behind them. Learn how to identify these signs and see what wildlife you have in your area by taking a look next time you go for a walk.
Book here for a place on the Who’s been here? Tracks and Signs talk
Conservation Communities project is teaming up with the Devon Harvest Mouse Project
We are looking to train volunteers who are willing and able to carry out a harvest mouse survey in one of the project’s 11 parishes (between Great Torrington and Hatherleigh). Britain’s smallest mouse used to be widespread across the county but today’s records of them are few and far between.
During the training session you will learn how to;
- recognise likely habitat.
- search for their beautiful spherical breeding nests.
- make a meaningful record of your findings.
Surveys take place during the autumn and winter months when the mice will not be disturbed by us (we are very unlikely to see the mice themselves). All training will take place outdoors, over a half-day session (note: you will be required to spend some time bent over and walk in rough meadows).
Two dates are available (depending on Covid-19 restrictions at the time), places will be limited, we ask you to book onto one of the following:-
Friday 18th December, 1pm – Meeth
Friday 8th January, 1pm – Dolton
For more details and to book a place email Jo Pullin at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more about the Devon Harvest Mouse Project by visiting the Devon Mammal Society website.
Saturday 5th December Chulmleigh- Contact Nick Withers on the Sustainable Chulmleigh Facebook Group
Other Dates tbc but we will be organising tree planting events in Braunton and Combe Martin
Brown Hairstreak butterfly recording
It's a key time of year to spot brown hairstreak eggs on young blackthorn. A Devon Special Species found in hedges, scrub and woodland edge, the eggs are laid (over the winter months) on the young growth of blackthorn, the foodplant of the caterpillars. Brown hairstreak butterflies are declining nationally and under recorded so it would be brilliant if more people could be trained to recognise and record them across Devon. Watch the recording and contact Jess at DWT to get involved.
Rapid Woodland Indicator Assessment:
A training opportunity hascome through from Plantlife on Rapid Woodland Assessment, they've had 190 woods surveyed across Devon and Somerset but not many in North Devon.
If enough people (~10) are interested, Kate from Plantlife will put on an online training event to cover the following:
- What the rapid woodland assessment is and how we are using the data collected
- Results we have had so far
- Overview of how to do the survey
- Trouble shoot common questions
Please email us at the Biosphere if you are interested.
FUNDING AND INCENTIVE SCHEMES
It's our last month of promoting the Community Orchards Grant Scheme supported by our brilliant local Councillors.
Please get in touch if you have a project in mind for your local community space, village hall, church yard or school.
Please contact us if you are interested in helping kestrel in North Devon, either helping to put together nestboxes or installing them on your land.
🌟End of Year Awards Scheme
Every one who has made a pledge before 31st December and has ticked the box saying 'enter the awards scheme' is eligible to win. We will have several categories including a school award, a community champion award and a farmer/landowner award. Winners will be announced at the end of January.
Nature to Look out for in Devon in December
Once you’ve donned your wellies, waterproof and warm clothes and taken a stroll to your local park or along a footpath you’ll soon see that nature has plenty of gifts to offer, even in the depths of December.
The Taw Torridge estuary is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which means it has national importance for its wintering waders and wildfowl. Top things to keep an ear and an eye out for in the next few months are the distinct call of the curlew or the bright orange bill of an oystercatcher. If you’re walking at dusk near Bideford you may lucky enough to see a starling murmuration; where large numbers of them swoop through the sky together in mesmerising patterns before settling down to roost for the night (Roost sighting Dec 2019, starlingsintheuk). In our local nature reserves such as Kenwith Valley and Ford Woods the bare trees will also make it easier to spot woodpeckers, robins, wrens and other woodland birds.
At home in our gardens the ground during winter may be too hard for birds to dig for worms or beetles so they will appreciate a well-stocked bird feeder more than ever. In particular, black sunflower seeds which are rich in protein and unsaturated fats may tempt tits and greenfinches, nyjer seeds, again rich in fat and oil, are a favourite of goldfinches and siskins and fruit such as apples and pears make great bird food due to their water content and energy-rich simple sugars. A fun Christmas holiday activity is to make your own feeder by covering a pinecone in lard mixed with a seed mixture, set in a fridge and then hang in a tree.
It may be tempting to use this time of year to tidy up the garden, but those dead flower stems could actually be a winter safe house for garden friendly insects such as lacewings and ladybirds. And the easily recognisable brown, oval, and spiky seed heads of the teasel will often be visited by goldfinches. Keeping a messy, undisturbed area of your garden with long grasses and log piles can be beneficial for a wide range of species but especially for newts, toads and frogs to hide.
2020 Award Winners Lottery Players
Jan 27, 2021
Biosphere 2020 Nature Award Winners Lottery Players. In 2020, more than 200 people made a Pledge for Nature on the North Devon Biosphere Pledge Map. To recognise and celebrate some of these fantastic actions for nature the Pledge for Nature steering committee have chosen some of their favourite pledges to be nominated for an award. As this project is supported by the NLHF we wanted to choose the top 3 lottery players pledges. Header Image: Trudi's garden
2020 Award Winners Businesses
Jan 26, 2021
Biosphere 2020 Nature Award Winners Businessses. In 2020, more than 200 people made a Pledge for Nature on the North Devon Biosphere Pledge Map. To recognise and celebrate some of these fantastic actions for nature the Pledge for Nature steering committee have chosen some of their favourite pledges to be nominated for an award. This blog cover the top 3 business pledges. Header Image: The Chalet in Croyde
2020 Award Winners Gardeners
Jan 25, 2021
Biosphere 2020 Nature Award Winners Gardeners. In 2020, more than 200 people made a Pledge for Nature on the North Devon Biosphere Pledge Map. To recognise and celebrate some of these fantastic actions for nature the Pledge for Nature steering committee have chosen some of their favourite pledges to be nominated for an award. This blog post is about the top 3 gardener's pledges. Header Image: Jay amongst the daisies in Tim and Lindsay Pryor's garden
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