Wildlife Warden February Newsletter

Thanks to all wardens for the hard work you have put into the scheme during these difficult times. The scheme is constantly growing and moving in the right direction. We have created a subdomain on the ACT website for the Wildlife Warden Scheme. It is still in development, but it already contains lots of useful information: 

The picture at the top is my most recent wildlife sighting – a barnacle-looking gall found on bramble. It may not be the most beautiful sighting, but I found it fascinating. I believe they were created by Diastrophus rubi, which is a small parasitoid wasp. A gall can contain up to 200 larvae, each in an individual cell.

We have been finding out a lot about seagrass (eelgrass) habitats. There are two species of seagrass (Zostera noltei and Z.marina), which provide an important habitat for a wide range of species, and help to stabilise the seabed, clean surrounding seawater and absorb vast quantities of CO2.

Unfortunately, seagrass is critically endangered. It is threatened by high nutrient levels (mainly from fertilisers and animal waste), damage from anchors and propellers, disease, and destructive fishing practices. There is anecdotal evidence that seagrass probably existed in the Teign Estuary prior to the 1990s, but it is no longer present. Seagrass in the Exe Estuary has expanded in recent years and can be found near Dawlish Warren, Exmouth and Lympstone.

Read more here

Saving our wildlife – Parish by Parish

Our Audrey Compton gives a talk about the benefits of local people becoming more actively involved in local conservation to care for wildlife at a Parish level.

In her talk, for Dartmoor National Park, Audrey describes her own journey in discovering and conserving the benefits nature brings to our lives, culminating in the establishment of the Wildlife Warden Scheme.

TDC debate Ecological Emergency

Teignbridge District council are to debate an Ecological Emergency declaration tomorrow Wednesday 30th September 2020 at 10:00am at the Full Council Meeting.

You can watch it live on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/user/TeignbridgeDC/videos. The video will be posted once the meeting starts.

You can read the full text of the motion here.

Could you be a parish Wildlife Warden?

The ACT Ecology Group is looking for parish-based, volunteer Wildlife Wardens, writes Audrey Compton. They are needed to help support, protect and increase our district’s wildlife and improve its chances of surviving the ecological and climate emergencies we face. Wildlife Wardens need to love wildlife but don’t need specialist knowledge, we will provide training.

Having Wildlife Wardens will help our communities become more involved in the natural world, enhancing their physical health and giving them more joy and happiness.

Our aim is for all 54 Teignbridge parishes and Newton Abbot wards to have one or two Wildlife Wardens by the end of 2021. As our training capacity increases, we will recruit up to 5 wardens for each Parish.

Who can be a Wildlife Warden and what will they do?

Anyone who is interested in or knowledgeable about wildlife/ecology can become a Warden. You will:

  • Commit to giving your parish’s wildlife several hours of your time a month.
  • Look out for opportunities to protect, help and increase the wildlife in your parish.
  • Carry out practical work in your parish that will benefit wildlife.
  • Either work in a team or possibly train to lead local volunteers on practical tasks (or you could call in specialists from ACT Ecology Group).
  • Send ACT and your parish council a brief, monthly account of what you have been doing, so we can all share successes and difficulties.

Wildlife Wardens in neighbouring parishes could work together on joint projects. Wardens with special skills and knowledge might also help train other Wardens.

Unfortunately, we don’t have funds to pay for Wardens’ expenses. However, Wardens who are ACT members will be covered by our insurance.

Some of our existing parish wildlife groups will be Wildlife Wardens, organising work and sharing expertise. If there isn’t a local group, Wildlife Wardens can work together – and maybe even start a group.

Project areas:
A. Surveying and helping to improve and connect habitats.
B. Promoting organic wildlife gardening
C. Monitoring building and development within the parish and alerting ACT of any wildlife damage.

The Ecology Group hopes to provide free training in these areas:

  • Identification of all types of wildlife
  • Habitat management and connectivity: hedges, woodlands, meadows, verges, ponds
  • Farming and wildlife
  • Writing risk assessments – and working with them!
  • Wildlife gardening
  • Creating pesticide-free zones
  • Carrying out desktop surveys
  • Monitoring planning applications and developments.

We will stay in close contact with the Council’s Green Spaces Team, and collaborate wherever we can, but we are aware their resources are limited. We have support from Teignbridge District Council, RSPB, the Woodland Trust and Devon Biodiversity Record Centre.

We have been granted funding by Teign Energy Communities, Councillor Jackie Hook’s DCC Locality Fund and Dartmoor National Park Authority, and extend our thanks to them for this vital help. Among other things it has enabled us to appoint a coordinator for a few hours a week, who will ensure good communication and record keeping.

If you are interested in becoming a parish Wildlife Warden, please get in touch with our coordinator, Flavio Winkler Ford: flavio@actionclimateteignbridge.org