Canterbury CygNatures

Autumn/Winter 2002

Sebastian

Welcome to our Autumn/Winter newsletter, reporting on what has been going on at Broad Oak Nature Reserve and plans for the future.
Click on the items below to find out more.

Current staff at the centre
Increase of staff numbers
Conservation Officer

New Education Centre Building
Recycling and Sustainability
Sustainability Trail
Sustainability Website
Eco-Centre award scheme
Minibus
New bridge and boardwalk
Adult Education


Otter holt
Dormice on the reserve
Tree felling on the reserve
DNA sculpture
New pond in sensory garden
Wildlife garden
Puppet show by DICE students
Duke of Edinburgh students
New bird hide
'In Search of the Broad Oak' play
Bird mist netting
Restoration of ancient pond at Hales Place

Newsletter 2000-2001
Newsletter 2001-2002
Current staff at the Centre-

David Horne - Head of Centre
Joyce Harvey - Centre Administrator
Dave Edgar - Reserve Manager
Alex Ewing - Conservation Officer (BTCV)
Rebecca Morgan - Environmental Assistant (National Grid)
Ivan Godden - Reserve Assistant
Dave Pritchard - Reserve Assistant
Jo Leech - Teacher/Web Designer
Sue Parsons - Teacher
Tony Roberts - New Deal Placement
Richard Bessant - New Deal Placement
Sean Gisby - New Deal Placement
Rob Douglas - Volunteer
Bryan Taylor - Volunteer
Mark Saich - Volunteer
Tony Harman - Tree Surgeon

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Our staff numbers continue to increase, as we are now able to manage a greater number of New Deal placements. David Pritchard who started at the centre as a New Deal placement has now been retained for a further 6 months to carry out art work on the reserve and to be involved with the Sustainability Trail.

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Alex Ewing has started work as the Conservation Officer for the reserve as a BTCV employee. BTCV will be working closely with us, with Alex funded using Landfill Tax credits. His role will comprise of practical work on the reserve, biological surveying, community involvement and teaching.

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The new Education Centre building will definitely be going ahead next year. A project consultant has been appointed to address our buildings and those planned for other centres. The new building should mark the start of an exciting new chapter in the history of the site. The new building will be sited overlooking the lake next to the sharp bend on the National Grid substation access road.

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Recycling and sustainability
are increasingly important topics. We intend addressing these with new study programs, a sustainability trail and a sustainability web site. We are starting to implement a compulsory recycling session for students. This will encourage them to bring a packed lunch, which produces, as little non-recyclable waste as possible. The children can then sort all their rubbish and weigh it to see how much waste they have produced and how much can be recycled.

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recycling

The sustainability trail will be a series of activities for students around the reserve that can be incorporated into a nature walk. This will eventually be part of a whole day's worth of study covering sustainability issues.

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The sustainability website aims to be an interactive learning resource mainly for Key Stage 2 students. It will cover units from Geography, Citizenship, ICT and Numeracy QCA schemes. It will provide positive information about sustainability issues such as recycling, energy, transport and water.

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compost bins


The centre is now registered as an Eco-Centre, a scheme managed by the Tidy Britain Group. This involves working towards an award, which recognises action the centre takes to tackle environmental issues. It will involve all members of staff and any people visiting the centre. It should particularly be incorporated into the learning experiences of visiting school groups.

 

 

 

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The centres minibus has been decorated with a work of art by Dave Pritchard. The bus has received 1000 of financial support from Pfizer. We are encouraging schools to use it over the winter, free of charge. Ivan Godden will continue to drive the minibus and it will help fund his continued employment.







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minibus


Dave on bridge


Rob Douglas, one of our volunteers assisted Dave Edgar the reserve manager with a new bridge and boardwalk. This is to address the needs of disabled access along a trail taking in the Reedbed Walk. This trail will be known as the Water Rail Trail. Just to make the completion of this project Rob's wife gave birth to a little boy - Oliver!


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We are seeing an increase in adult education courses. BTCV are interested in running more courses at the reserve during weekends, evenings and school holidays. BOFs offers opportunities for talks and conservation days for those interested in the nature reserve.

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The planned artificial otter holt for snake island which Michelle (the former National Grid Placement) and Dave Edgar constructed, is now complete and we await occupation. This may be sooner than expected as otters have recently been reported in the local press, playing in Canterbury.







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otter holt

dormouse

Twenty Dormouse boxes were purchased by BOF's and positioned around the reserve. Alex Ewing, Ken Butler and Shirley Thompson have carried out surveys of the boxes. Seven of the boxes had dormice in them and some others had signs that dormice had been in them. Most of the other boxes had signs of woodmice or bird occupation. Due to this success, 30 more boxes are now being made for the reserve.


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We are continuing our programme of tree felling, especially boundary trees that pose a threat to adjacent property. Further to this is the need to fell a number of unsafe alder and willow trees on the reserve, which pose a threat to visiting children. Further felling is being done for conservation purposes with Norway Maple being the object of our attentions. We will then look to plant more hazel for the benefit of our newly discovered dormouse population.

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sawing tree

DNA Sculpture

A number of additional pieces of art work have been added around the reserve thanks to Paul Goodrick, such as the DNA sculpture made entirely out of woven willow. These make up a trail for school groups to follow.





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A new pond, Fountain pond has been created in the sensory garden area. This is fed by pump and fountain. A waterfall cascades from this pond to a lower one, before returning the water to the main lake. Volunteers Brian Taylor and Rob Douglas, as well as Ivan Godden and Dave Edgar have been key personnel involved in this project.

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An area adjacent to the Centre building has been chosen for creating a wildlife garden. Visiting schools will be able to view the garden, in which we intend to include an educational detective trail. The intention is that they will be encouraged to create wildlife areas in their own school ground. Alex Ewing, the Conservation Officer came up with the idea, he has planned a variety of features for the garden aided by Dave Pritchard that will encourage wildlife. These include planting a mixed species hedge, building a pond and bog-garden, a wildflower and grass bank, providing a bird-table together with nest-boxes for birds and bats, and building a composting box. The wildlife garden is being digitally recorded through the winter as work is undertaken and schools will be able to view its progress by accessing the web-site.



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working on garden

wildlife garden site


puppet show

Four students from DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology) who are studying for a Diploma in Conservation Education at UKC, came to the centre in November. They assisted with a school group for the morning session. In the afternoon they put on an educational puppet show for the children, which portrayed an important environmental message. At the conclusion of their course they returned to their home countries, to improve the local environment. This project is funded by the RARE Trust for Tropical Conservation and cost 45,000 per student.

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During autumn half term four students from QE School Faversham, spent two days on the reserve carrying out practical conservation work to help towards the community section of their Duke of Edinburgh award. They cleared some hawthorn scrub, widened a path on one of the trails and helped to remove an old bird hide on the reserve.







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students at hide

hide construction

Mark Saich, one of our volunteers has built a new bird hide with the help of Richard and Tony, which will be a great stopping point for school groups on the Kingfisher trail.

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bird hide


play


In July this year, pupils from Castle Community School, Deal performed the environmental drama In Search of the Broad Oak. The play is set in a variety of locations so that the audience walk around the reserve. Two matinees for schools and an evening performance for an adult/family audience were organised. It is intended that this will be repeated in 2003.

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Bird mist-nets
, used by trained and experienced field-workers, are being placed at chosen sites around the reserve to obtain information about the species, sex, age, condition and other vital statistics of both resident and migratory birds. The information will be invaluable not only for the reserve's own records and contribute to our reserve management plan; but will also contribute to a national bird monitoring programme. BOFs members will have the opportunity to see bird-ringing at first-hand over the winter. Individually ringed birds can also be identified by visiting school groups so they can see which birds are resident on the reserve.







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blue tit

robin

volunteers

volunteers


Alex Ewing is involved with the restoration of an ancient pond at Hales Place as part of his community involvement and as his role as pond warden. The pond clearance is being organised by The Kentish Stour Project, Hales Place Residents Association and Canterbury City Council. On the 21st November 10 volunteers including two local residents spent a day clearing excess vegetation, alien plant species and silt from the pond. Work will continue, following a five year management plan written by Alex.







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