30 June 2014


1.   Summer Swifts Photo Competition
Wildlife Photographer of the Year comes to the Museum of Natural History this summer, on display 16 July – 22 September.
To mark the occasion we’re launching a photo competition of our own…
Send us your best photograph of this summer’s swifts on the wing, either around the Museum tower or near you.
The best image will be printed and displayed alongside the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in the Museum!
Competition closes 15 August. Email entries to: communications@oum.ox.ac.uk

2.   Count Mammals On Roads Survey
Around one million mammals are killed on UK roads each year, but we turn these deaths into a positive, by using recorded sightings of road kill to help monitor the changing state of Britain’s wildlife populations, all with the help of the Mammals On Roads survey starting this July.
We need you to record any sightings of mammals, dead or healthy, you spot on your car journeys. This can be done via your phones or tablets with our free app.
With close to half a million miles of road covered in Britain since the first survey 13 years ago, we hope that this year’s survey, with the help of the app, will build on data first collected in 2001 to further understand long-term population growths and declines, and to determine how best to protect Britain’s endangered mammals.
Previous results have seen PTES initiate a campaign to protect hedgehogs after discovering the species populations had declined by around a third since 2001.
Take part with your family between 1st July and 30th September, as you set off on your summer holidays and wildlife’s young animals may be leaving the parental home.
– See more at: http://www.ptes.org/index.php?news=266#sthash.A9NPyM6f.dpuf

3.   Come And See The Colourful Wild Flowers And Butterflies At Meadow Farm
Family fun days, talks and walks for community groups and conservation taster events are all happening in July at Meadow Farm, Blackthorn near Bicester.
Meadow Farm project officer Cathie Hasler is looking forward to meeting people who want to know more about the wildlife of this very special group of meadows. “The first two weeks of July will be a great time to see butterflies flitting through the colourful wild flowers. We’re welcoming representatives of groups who are interested in discovering the meadows for arts or heritage projects, wildlife conservation activities and nature discovery for children.”
BBOWT now owns and manages Meadow Farm after a successful fundraising appeal last summer, and a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
“Our three year project will involve lots of people from Bicester and the surrounding villages,” says Cathie. “We’re looking forward to working with local volunteers who are keen to help us manage the meadows and hedgerows, and meeting families who would like to discover wildlife of the meadows.”
The Meadow Farm events in July are:
·         8 July from 10am to 3pm: Conservation Taster Day for Volunteers
·         10 July from 7pm to 9pm: Community Groups evening walk around the meadows for representatives of local community groups
·         12 July from 2pm to 4.30pm: Marvellous Meadows for all the family, enjoy the butterflies, grasshoppers and moths among the wildflower meadows.
Book your place at these events by calling the Meadow Farm office on 01869 245864 or email: meadowfarm@bbowt.org.uk

4.   Cherwell Habitats Mapping
TVERC are currently working on a project for Cherwell District Council to map habitats and land-use in their area.
Mapping of habitats and other land uses within Oxfordshire has been carried out by TVERC since 2003 but there are gaps in the dataset. Previous habitat mapping concentrated on the most important designated sites (primarily Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Local Wildlife Sites) as well as the landscape-scale areas of wildlife importance (Conservation Target Areas). In addition, some types of habitat have been mapped across all of Oxfordshire as part of updates to national priority habitat inventory updates (funded by Natural England).
Before we started this project, only about 16% of Cherwell was covered by phase 1 mapping (9,372 hectares) and within this, 3,381 hectares of NERC Act S41 habitats of Principal Importance (previously called UK BAP priority habitats) have been mapped. Cherwell DC needs to know where the highest quality natural environment is so that they can make sound decisions on the location and design of sustainable development and where to direct wildlife conservation work. The improved dataset will allow Cherwell DC to better meet its obligations under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 and other legislation and policy to protect and enhance the natural environment.
We hope that other local authorities in Oxfordshire will fund similar work in their areas, when they see how useful the information is to Cherwell DC.
(TVERC, Summer Newsletter 2014)

5.   Swift Watchers Update
Young Swifts will be starting to fledge in under a month’s time and our Swifts will then begin to start their long migration.
Meantime this warm weather is providing some excellent opportunities for Swift watching and the chance to check whether nest sites are still in use and to find some new ones.
It would be so good if you can find time to check on the Swifts near where you are and let me have any news.
Chris Mason (mason@cando.eclipse.co.uk)

6.   Best Use Of UK Agricultural Land – Report Launch Follow Up
Thank you to everyone who attended the CISL Best Use of Agricultural Land event on 25 June 2014 at the British Academy. With over 40 people in attendance representing over 30 different organisations this was a fantastic event to launch our final report. It stimulated and inspired significant debate in the room and also in the media.
A quick reflection on the presentations and discussions:
Sir Jim Paice, MP, gave the key note address on the challenges the UK faces to meet the future demands on UK agricultural land and he was very supportive of this report as an important first step in understanding these collective demands. CISL then summarized the work of its collaboration with business and other stakeholders to develop a picture aggregating all of the additional demands on UK agricultural land and comparing this with some key supply initiatives that could “release” land for other uses. This demonstrated that there could be a very significant shortfall of up to two million hectares by 2030.
Volac provided the first industry response highlighting the need for Government and industry to work together to develop a powerful vision and set of overarching objectives that could guide land use, as well as offering some principles that could be used to develop a decision-making framework. Volac also emphasized the need for Government departments (Defra, DECC, BIS amongst others) to work much more closely together to align policies, initiatives and research that impact land use decisions. This was followed by ASDA providing a retailer’s perspective on the importance of optimising the use of land, especially given the pressures of an increasing population coupled with the impacts of climate change.
Defra welcomed the report. They felt it provided important “food for thought”, rightly identified some of the difficult choices and recognized the need for joined-up action and further research which they would be happy to discuss further.
Access the report – The full report and its press release are accessible via the Natural Capital Leaders Platform Homepage.

Vacancies/Voluntary Work

7.   Projects Manager for TVERC
(Ref: XPM078S)
Based at Signal Court, Eynsham, OX29 4TL
Temporary maternity cover for one year
Full time – 37 hours per week. £28,409
Would you like to join the small team of ecologists and information specialists who run TVERC? Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre collects, analyses and shares geodiversity and biodiversity information in Berkshire and Oxfordshire in order to help people make sound decisions about how to develop and manage land sustainably, where to direct wildlife conservation work and for scientific education and research. Your main responsibilities will be negotiating and securing finance and support from local authority partners and securing finance for project work. You will manage projects and work for local authority partners. You will have excellent communication and negotiation skills and the ability to complete competing workloads to a high standard and to deadline.
Closing Date: 8 July 2014. Interviews: 31 July 2014
For further information go to www.tverc.org, and to apply go to:www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/jobs or e-mail: jobs@oxfordshire.gov.uk

8.   Working For Local Wildlife 
Location: Your Local Area
Do you have an interest in your local wildlife and environment? Do you enjoy meeting people? Then we would love to hear from you.
The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust is looking for outgoing people to promote our work and raise support through membership recruitment at people’s homes. The role offers significant flexibility on a part-time basis (typically 3 – 5 days per week). No hard selling is required and full training is provided.
The role offers the potential to earn between £250 and £450 a week on a commission-based package, with minimum wage guaranteed.
Contact us for further information
Email: membershipjobs@bbowt.org.uk
Telephone: 01865 775476.

9.   Chilterns Duke of Burgundy Project officer
Butterfly Conservation http://butterfly-conservation.org/56/jobs.html

10.  Two New Project Officer Positions At The Wandle Trust/SERT
One to lead our pollution monitoring and ‘silt ‘n’ SuDS’ (i.e. urban diffuse pollution) programme and one to support volunteers deliver river restoration.
Further details at:

Training Courses

11.  Running Better, Shorter, More Effective Meetings!
July 8th 2014    9.30am – 4.30pm  £65/£85
An OCVA course.
This course is for anyone one involved in running or attending meetings. We ALL attend meetings…many of us conduct them…and we have ALL had the experience of feeling that our valuable time is being “wasted” by bad and ineffective meetings. Hopefully, you have also had the opposite experience of carefully prepared, fully executed and completely motivating or productive meetings too. But let’s face it, which is MOST common? • Professionals lose 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings (roughly four work days) • Most professionals attend a total of 61.8 meetings per month and… • Research indicates that over 50 percent of this meeting time is wasted.
Book now

12.  Small Mammal Trapping At Besselsleigh Wood, Wootton
8th – 11th July Brush up your trapping techniques and small-mammal recognition skills, led by Dr Amanda Lloyd.
Any of the following sessions may be booked:
Tuesday 8th July: morning (8.00am) / evening (7.00pm)
Wednesday 9th July: morning (8.00am) / evening (7.00pm)
Thursday 10th July: morning (8.00am) / evening (7.00pm)
Friday 11th July: morning (8.00am)
Location is near Appleton (West Oxfordshire) – details supplied on booking. Numbers limited, booking required: http://www.oxonmammals.org.uk/

13.  Chilterns Chalk Habitats Day
17th July 2014, 10.00 –  16.00
At College Lake Nature Reserve nr Tring
Chilterns Conservation Board (CCB) chalk grassland managers network
Delegate fee £15.00 – lunch included
Site visit focusing on early succession and mosaic habitats at this former chalk quarry and geological SSSI. Topics to include chalk grassland/ scrub mosaics, arable flora, chalk quarry restoration with a particular focus on invertebrates. Update on Duke of Burgundy project (Butterfly Conservation) .
Aimed at land managers/ naturalists/ advisors.
In field speakers to include Graham Bellamy, Dr Jill Eyers (Chiltern Archaeology), Martin Harvey (Entomologist), Dr  Dan Hoare (Butterfly Conservation), Dr Simon Mortimer (Reading University/CCB),  Mark Vallance and Owain Hegarty (BBOWT).
For more information and booking form see  http://www.chilternsaonb.org/about-chilterns/chalk-grassland.html or contact Kath Daly at kdaly@chilternsaonb.org

14.  Dry Stone Walling 
Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 July                                 9 am – 4 pm
…training weekend for those involved in managing burial grounds
Churchill and Sarsden Heritage Centre, 1 Hastings Hill, Churchill, Oxfordshire
During this practical weekend learn how to dismantle walls, sort stone, lay foundations, build up the wall, add through stones and copping stones, dress the stone, what tools to use and much more!
No prior experience required.
Walling Instructor:  Cotswolds Conservation Board
Places are limited to ensure proper tuition can be given during the weekend.
FREE to participants, only available to those involved in managing burial grounds.
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Limited numbers
Booking essential – Andrea on 01588 673041, andrea@cfga.org.uk


15.  TOE2 Update June 2014
A. General Grant Scheme: TOE2 is inviting applications to its next grant panel meeting, deadline Thursday 17th July.  We can provide grants of up to £10,000 for projects which:

  • Promote and improve biodiversity (eg; wildlife surveys, practical habitat management, and habitat creation).We would welcome more biodiversity applications, particularly from local community groups.
  • Encourage and develop energy efficiency and the sustainable use of renewable resources in community facilities (eg; making community buildings more energy and water efficient, encouraging more sustainable use of transport)
  • Improve access to green spaces (eg; replacing stiles with gates, surface improvements, creating new links and encouraging safe routes to schools and other local facilities)

Visit the TOE2 website or call us on 01865 883488 to check if your project is eligible

B. Enrich Project (Energy Reduction In Community Halls): Grants towards energy audits
TOE2 continues to offer grants of £500 towards the cost of an energy audit.  EIE staff will make a site visit and write a report with bespoke recommendations.  TOE2 has now provided about 70 energy audits to village halls and other community buildings across Oxfordshire.

For further advice and information: Contact admin@trustforoxfordshire.org.uk for an application form.


16.  Saturday 5 July                          10.00 am – 12.30 pm
Free Guided Walk – Wendover Woods, between Tring and Wendover
As featured on BBC Countryfile on 1st June 2014, Wendover Woods has recently been identified as one of the largest areas of box in the country. Join us on this walk through attractive woodland to see box trees of all shapes, sizes and ages. See how the Forestry Commission and volunteers are trialling different techniques in managing box trees. You can also look forward to discovering the rich cultural heritage associated with the box tree, from woodwind instruments to printing to topiary.
Meet at 10am outside the café near the main car park in Wendover Woods. Allow time to park and get your parking ticket. Please see full details here –http://www.chilternsaonb.org/calendar/27/1225-Discover-box-tree-heritage-at-Wendover-Woods.html
Booking is essential. Please book your place(s) by contacting office@chilternsaonb.org