Wildlife Groundswell November newsletter

As an antidote to the Black Friday madness, we’re sending you a dose of natural goodness this weekend…

It was great to see so many of you at our annual conference, Let’s Get Wild! Air & Fire in September. Read on for new blog posts from the conference and ‘fringe/ events – as well as a host of activities to get stuck into this winter, from tree planting to new bird and bat groups.

Today is the beginning National Tree Week – scroll down to see how you can get involved.

wildlife Groundswell News

NEW: Swifts, Swallows and Martins group

Swifts come to our country for just a few months a year, arriving in April and May and leaving in August. They live virtually the whole time in the air, only coming in to nest, usually choosing taller buildings, such as church towers or farm barns. They feed in the air on aerial insects, and as far as we know they don’t land when they return to the skies above Africa for the rest of the year.
Their numbers are declining, following the decline of insects as vast swathes of land are sterilised and rendered lifeless by pesticides. Out of the conference came the idea of a group forming to help to identify, conserve and protect these birds, as well as swallows and martins.
Ten of us attended our first meeting on 18 October. Plans include investigating what wildlife is supported by our churches and farm buildings, and focussing our efforts where it seems most likely to be fruitful. Some of us will run a workshop to make swift boxes and house martin nests. Please get in touch if you’re interested in joining us:

NEW: Bat group

Another new group to come out of the conference is a local bat group – which will be a sub group of Cornwall Bat Group. We plan to meet to discuss this next Wednesday 29 November at 7pm, so if you’re interested in joining us, please get in touch for more details:

UPDATE: Streams and Rivers Testing

As part of the Westcountry Rivers Trust CSI, Wildlife Groundswell citizen scientists continue to test streams and rivers on the Lizard Peninsula, as well as in the Helford River catchment (both north and south), and the lower River Cober (near Helston). We’re looking for signs of pollution and helping to assess the health of our freshwater channels.
Westcountry Rivers Trust has invited us to join its River Guardians Steering Committee. Our representatives will attend the first meeting this month. Please get in touch if you’d like to get involved with this worthwhile project.

WEBINAR: Equiculture

Healthy land. Healthy water. Healthy horse… Can we help with the promotion of ethical, responsible, sustainable horse ownership/management? Wildlife Groundswell warmly welcomes this initiative from Cornwall Wildlife Trust and its Upstream Thinking Team. Please get in touch if you’d like to help with promoting equiculture on the Lizard, and listen to Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s recent webinar about why they’re embracing equiculture:

Community events and news

Nature Can’t Wait

This campaign has been launched by the RSPB in the wake of the most recent State of Nature Report for England (published this September). Nature is in crisis, and time’s running out for politicians to protect and restore it. They need to put nature at the heart of their decision-making. There are clear solutions that will give nature a chance to recover – as well as helping us breathe clean air, drink clean water, swim in clean rivers, and hear the sound of birdsong in the morning. Find out more and take action:

Despite the recent State of Nature report, our government has just approved continued access for farmers to pesticides, including treated seeds which were going to be unobtainable in the UK from December this year. We know that the seemingly relentless decline in insects and plants is closely linked with pesticide use.

EVENT: National Tree Week

25 November – 3 December

The Forest for Cornwall Tree and Nature Hub is being launched on 1 December, during National Tree Week. The free, interactive exhibition space will be officially opened by Cllr Martyn Alvey, Cornwall’s cabinet member for environment and climate change, and Rosie Walker, regional external affairs officer at the Woodland Trust. 

To mark the occasion volunteers will be planting 122 trees in the grounds of Heartlands in Pool. It will be open to all with no admission charge from 9am to 4.30pm every weekday except bank holidays, starting Thursday 1 December.

What is National Tree Week?

A few years ago, The Tree Council created a ‘National Tree Week’, encouraging everyone to plant trees during that week. But from autumn through to early spring, we can all plant trees – the right tree in the right place.

GET INVOLVED: Nansloe Woodland Creation Project

Community tree planting, several dates in December and January

The National Trust has set up some community planting days for its Nansloe Woodland Creation Project. There are dates both in the week and weekends, to encourage as many people as possible to join in.

New blog post

Air & Fire

Puddle gangs, rolling back the clock, reimagining fire, reflowing rivers, listening to our insects, getting stuck in elevators, mulching and community – this year’s conference took in a wide range of themes that set our minds ablaze with ideas for the positive actions we can all take to make a difference. Here’s a brief taster…

Gillian Burke’s fire ‘playlist’

BBC Springwatch presenter Gillian Burke’s talk at the conference encouraged us to look at fire, and perceptions of wildfire, afresh. Here are three short films she shared to help us do just that.

From wild in the woods to Windmill Farm…

Baking cakes over the fire, looking out for bats at twilight, spotting adders and rare damselflies on a walk between deep and shallow ponds… Three more new blogs take in our busy ‘fringe’ events the week before the conference, with the Beyond the Wave Wildlife Groundswell Adventurers, Windmill Farm guided walk with its warden Dougy Wright, and Goonhilly nightime wanderings with bat experts Paul Diamond and Tony Atkinson.

Book recommendations

Swifts and Us by Sarah Gibson

Swifts and Us by Sarah Gibson Want to know more about this fabulous bird that sleeps in the sky? This is the book for you. It also tells us how people throughout the world are working to help it survive and thrive, and what steps we can take here in the UK to do the same. Watch this interview with David Lindo talking with Sarah Gibson: 

Rewilding by Paul Jepson and Cain Blythe

For anyone interested in whether nature can lead the way to wildlife recovery, this relatively short book is a helpful analysis of where and how this is happening.

Next edition: January 2024. Any blogs, photos, articles and book recommendations most welcome – please email us by 3 January.