Following the £5,000 grant DEF awarded to Action on Climate in Teignbridge to assist with the roll out of their Wildlife Warden scheme, we have received a mini update on their progress so far…
- The scheme was launched on 10th October with an Introductory Training day for 7 Wildlife Wardens.
- Flavio Winkler Ford started work as coordinator.
- BBC Radio Devon and Spotlight coverage.
- Articles in the local newspaper and various Parish Magazines.
- Audrey Compton (Ecology Lead) also talked about the scheme at a Dartmoor National Park ‘Lockdown Lecture’ on Zoom.
INTEREST SO FAR
- 53 people have already applied to be Wildlife Wardens (the original target was 50 in the first year).
- These cover 25 of the 53 Teignbridge Parishes and Newton Abbot Wards.
- Detailed ‘blue-prints’ are being kept so details of the scheme can be easily shared with interested organisations and individuals outside Teignbridge District.
- Audrey met with Devon Local Nature Partnership members. They are keen to provide an ‘umbrella’ website which can support this sort of scheme across Devon and beyond.
- Covid-careful training has included handouts with tasks for Wildlife Wardens to carry out in their Parish, followed by Zoom Meetings.
- This is an introduction to the scheme and encourages Wildlife Wardens to start projects in their local area.
- 41 Wildlife Wardens have received introductory training to date.
- With the support and input of the Ecology Group (which includes 10 extremely proficient ecologists/naturalists), further training in a wide range of areas is planned.
- Several project documents are being developed. These will provide Wildlife Wardens with the information needed to start projects.
- The handouts give advice on creating and maintaining various habitats, including hedgerows, orchards, and meadows.
- There will also be handouts on other topics, such as working effectively with landowners and the state of local seagrass habitats.
AREAS OF FOCUS
Parish Habitats: (whether owned by the Parish or privately-owned land):
- Undertaking Parish Wildlife Surveys – working on the ground and/or using online resources.
- Using existing information to draw up connectivity maps so that key wildlife routes and Nature Recovery Networks can be joined.
- Surveying to find new County Wildlife Sites.
- Giving habitat management advice and/or help to interested landowners.
- Encourage organic gardening, so people can see there are alternatives to chemicals.
- Encourage wildlife gardening with untidy ‘wild’ areas.
Monitoring building and development:
- Checking details of Planning Applications when they are first submitted and informing ACT if any response from the group may be needed.
- Checking developments as they progress for unexpected removal/damage to trees, hedges, and other habitats.
- Checking TDCs Tree Preservation Order details online.
Working with young people in schools, youth clubs and other groups. Helping Schools and clubs to become Wildlife Wardens.
- A Wildlife Warden contacted Teignbridge District Council and they agreed for a section of a TDC-owned cemetery to be managed for wildlife. Plans for this site include a hedgerow, wildflower area, and bench. TDC are keen to use this area for green burials.
- Other wildlife wardens have contacted their parish councils and written articles for their local Parish Magazines, community Facebook groups and community notice boards.
- Other projects include promoting wildlife gardening, litter picks/beach cleans, recording wildlife, reporting invasive species, talking to churches about managing churchyards for wildlife, managing meadows, planting trees, creating wildflower areas, and surveying habitats.
- Involvement in TDC’s ‘Connecting to Nature’ project. This aims to improve sites around Newton Abbot, Kingsteignton and Kingskerswell (which face considerable development in the near future) for people and wildlife, as well as improving habitat connectivity. Wildlife Wardens from these areas are now involved.
- Wildlife Wardens are updated with monthly email newsletters
- They are requested to send brief reports every 1-2 months on what they have been up to.
- There is a Facebook group and email discussion group (Groups.io) for Wildlife Wardens.
- The email group also includes interested people from the South Hams and West Devon districts, where there currently aren’t Wildlife Wardens Schemes.
- A new section of the ACT website is being created which will contain invaluable resources and information for Wildlife Wardens to use.
- Some face-to-face meet-ups with Wildlife Wardens on sites they are caring for, when Covid-restrictions allowed.
- Insurance giving 3rd party cover for Wildlife Wardens and volunteers who are working under their supervision as they carry out risk-assessed work.
- Records of Wildlife Warden skills, training needs, and reports are being kept on Google docs so that the management team can work together on them.
- Working very closely with Teignbridge District Council. ACT members have regular meetings with Council Officers on a range of topics, supporting them as much as possible.
- Liaising with Devon Biodiversity Records Centre to make it as easy as possible for people to provide accurate wildlife records and habitat assessments. This will inform where to focus on improving habitat connectivity. DBRC will also benefit by receiving information from well-trained Wildlife Wardens.
- Working with DNPA, specifically Andy Bailey, who works on community outreach.
- Also collaborating with the Devon Local Nature Partnership, who hope to create a website for people and organisations across Devon who would like to take up Wildlife Warden work.
Find out more here: ww.actionclimateteignbridge.org