|40 years of saving butterflies, moths and our environment|
SITUATION VACANT - Treasurer
Kathryn Dawson has done an excelent job as our Treasurer for the last two years. She has new responsibilities and needs to stand down as our treasurer. The Branch would very much appreciate anyone who thinks that they might be able to get involved in looking after the Branch finances to get in touch with Kathryn or any other committee member.
Over Cutting - Safety advice on access
Over Cutting, whilst technically not a public site at the moment, has the now-functioning guided busway and a public bridleway along the length of it. Whilst we are not encouraging visitors to the site, anyone can walk the bridlepath, and should anyone choose to cross the busway lines to see the cutting slopes, they should use caution and should be aware that in this section, the buses are guided (not driven), they travel fast and quietly and will not stop. People have been hurt on the busway by failing to get out of their way. Please take care if visiting this site
Natural England Grant Cuts - CALL FOR HELPMartin Warren, Chief Executive of Butterfly Conservation, has issued the following memo to all Branches:
Dear Branch Chairman (cc Branch contacts in England)
I am writing to ask for the help of you and your Branch in fighting the severe cuts we have had to our Species Recovery Grant from Natural England. I am sorry that we feel we have to take this action, but having discussed it with senior staff and key Council members, we feel that it is vital to make our voice heard.
For the last 16 years we have received a grant from NE (and its predecessor) for work to save our most threatened butterflies and moths. Under these grants we wrote our first Species Action Plans and Regional Action Plans which have guided BCs conservation effort for the last 15 years, in harmony with government priorities of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). We have also employed some wonderful expert staff who have conducted vital research on species, given advice to landowners of hundreds of key sites, written species accounts and management guidelines, developed landscape projects, raised millions of pounds for conservation, and supported our volunteer network in a myriad of ways.
For reasons that have not been properly explained, NE have decided this year to greatly reduce their grant to BC from £300K pa to £40K, the latter just to work on a small number of very rare moths. This amounts to a cut of 85% to our core work, which is part of the 30% cuts that NE are facing over the next 3 years, they made around 400 people redundant this April and another 400 will have to go next year. However, they have made disproportionate cuts to our grant and a big cut of at least 50% to their Species Recovery Programme.
At least one of the factors driving this is the new England Biodiversity Strategy (EBS) which puts much less emphasis on species conservation and more on habitat conservation and landscape/ecosystem. We have pointed out in the strongest possible terms that such initiatives will not work for threatened species without specialist input of our staff and volunteers, but so far this has fallen on deaf ears.
The cuts have put BC in a very difficult position and we had to make 2 conservation staff redundant earlier this year. We are using our financial reserves to retain as many staff as possible this year, but may have to make more redundancies next year if we cannot replace this c.250K of lost income. Although membership has increased well this year, to around 17,000, much of this has been for half price offers and does not bring us in a great net income in the short term.
We are working with other species NGOs to raise our concerns at Ministerial level (eg RSPB, Plantlife, Buglife, Amphibean and Reptile Conservation) but feel we need to express the same concern at local, grassroots level. The new EBS says that it wants to work in partnership with NGOs, and increase the engagement of local groups (the Big Society), but the cuts seem to be sending out a completely opposite message.
Hence we are asking you to write to your local MPs expressing your concern about these cuts and how they will risk further decline of threatened species and disempower local volunteers such as yourselves. I am attaching a template letter that you can use and adapt as you wish.
We are still having talks with NE and have some strong support from senior conservationists who have written on our behalf. However, your action will be extremely helpful to underline the strength of feeling from our volunteer community.
Thanks you in advance of any help you can give to help this dire situation.
With kind regards
Download MP Template Letter here
Find Your MP here
(Posted Sept 2011)
Branch Issues Press Release on Mill Road Cemetery in CambridgeNick Ballard, Publicity Officer for the Cambs & Essex Branch of Butterfly Conservation, has issued a Press Release regarding Mill Road Cemetery in Cambridge.
(Posted Sept 2011)
Orwell Clunch Pit Transect Help RequiredWe are seeking a volunteer to walk an existing butterfly transect at Orwell Clunch Pit. The route takes about 30 minutes to walk and all of the pre-existing transect set up can be provided.
Plesae contact Vince Lea if you think you may be able to help:
Tel: 01223 2639624
(Posted March 2011)
Ingrebourne Valley Transect Help RequiredHelp is required with the new Lottery-funded Ingrebourne Valley Project to monitor butterflies and other wildlife. In conjunction with Essex Wildlife Trust, Havering Borough Council is seeking volunteers to walk a regular butterfly transect. There are several possible walks earmarked from Hacton Parkway, throughout Hornchurch Country Park to Albyns Farm and Berwick Ponds, with another at Parklands, Corbets Tey.
The routes range from only half a mile to one and a half miles in length.
If anyone is interested in helping out, with butterflies or other wildlife then please contact the Ingrebourne Valley Project Manager:
Tel: 01708 432874
or alternatively, Rob Smith, the Essex county recorder at for more details.
(Posted December 2010)
Essex Wildlife Trust has Saved Tile Wood ForeverEssex Wildlife Trust has raised £50,000 from over 1,400 generous supporters and this has enabled Essex Wildlife Trust to buy Tile Wood. A massive thank you goes to all of those people who have donated. Tile Wood is over 1,000 years old - one of the earliest woodlands to be recorded in Essex. It is nestled between Pound Wood and Little Haven, both Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserves in Castle Point.
It is vital that we save really important wildlife areas such as this ancient woodland to ensure that our children and our children's children experience these fantastic wild spaces and we conserve our Essex wildlife for the future. Ancient woodland is an irreplaceable habitat and once lost it is lost forever.
Tile Wood has good access for the public with a network of permissive paths, which not only take visitors to all parts of the reserve but also lead through to the neighbouring reserve of Little Haven. In the spring time Tile Wood displays a carpet of ground flora including Bluebells, Wood Anemone and Wood-sorrel. These spring flowers are a major attraction for visitors. Species benefiting from ancient woodland include Dormice, already present in Pound Wood and the very localised Heath Fritillary Butterfly, thriving colonies are already established in Pound Wood and Little Haven.
(Posted February 2010)
Monks Wood Transect Help RequestedThis request is provided by Nick Greatorex-Davies, ex-Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, to find one or more people willing to help keep the longest-running transects in the country going.
With the recent closure of CEH Monks Wood (last day of science 31st December 2008), there is no-one available at CEH to walk the three long-running Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (now UKBMS) transects in Monks Wood NNR, Bevills Wood (over the road from Monks Wood) and nearby Woodwalton Farm. CEH are keen to keep the three transects going (which have been running since 1974- before the scheme was officially launched in 1976) and I have been asked to try and find someone or several people who would be willing to help walk the transects from April 2009. The Monks Wood and Woodwalton Farm transects are considered priority over Bevills Wood.
Walking a transect requires the commitment to walk the transect weekly from the beginning of April to the end of September but only when weather conditions meet certain simple criteria, so occasionally there is no period of suitable weather during a particular week. Each transect takes between half an hour (Bevills Wood and Woodwalton Farm at the beginning and end of season when there is little on the wing) to an hour and a half (occasionally up to two hours) for Monks Wood at the height of the season. The Monks Wood transect is the longest (2.9km/1.8 miles).
I have been operating all three transects since 1995 but have now passed the responsibility to Peter Brown for one year; he is willing to show anyone interested the transect route(s) and provide any training and information necessary. Anyone interested can take on one or more transects, or offer occasional help as part of a team. Doing all three transects takes up half to two-thirds of a working day, depending on the time of year. Expenses will be offered which will include payment for peoples time as well as for car fuel, so I imagine this would most suit someone who has retired or has flexible working hours.
Best wishes, Nick
(Posted February 2009)
Branch Newsletter Archive - Your Help NeededThe Branch obviously has a huge resource of information and data in its published newsletters and we realise that a single box file is a very vulnerable way of keeping this for posterity.
Following a suggestion at the AGM (Nov 2008), the Branch committee has decided to make a back-up archive and are planning to have our ENTIRE NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE professionally digitally archived with a searchable index facility.
To make this as valuable as possible, we need a full set of newsletters. The archive box appears to be missing 2 newsletters, so if anyone is willing to loan the following issues for the purposes of archiving, please e-mail or or phone on 01223 263962.
Formation of informal Moth Group for South East EssexI hope to do some further moth recording here in South East Essex this year, mostly not too far from my home in Rayleigh. The idea is to get more people involved in coming along to the recording, but preferably not too many as this is often counter-productive (ideally 4 - 8 people is plently).
They have a moth group in north Essex centre around Colchester, organised by Joe Firmin, but there is nothing that I know of in my part of the world. Don Down and myself usually manage a few trips each year, and I am keen to involve others.
I'm thinking of using 2 - 3 traps each session using a generator (kindly loaned to me by Sharon Hearle, East of England Project Officer for BC) with trips to EWT Langdon Reserve, Canvey Island, Hockley Woods, Thorndon Park, Foulness Island and hopefully a number of other sites in the area that presently have minimal moth survey data. Ideally these trips would start in March for the early spring species, and progress to October at least.
People keen to be involved should contact Graham Bailey either by or phone on 01268 780736. I'm not able to give any definite dates at present as that is dependent upon my work, but they would most likely to be on a Friday or Saturday once or twice a month if all goes well.
Graham Bailey February 2009
Essex Moth Group - New website and NewsletterClick here to visit the new The Essex Moth Group website which is now hosted by the Essex Field Club.
The Essex Moth recorder, David Allen (contact details here), has also recently published a newsletter with:
Branch Birthday Celebrations!At the Branch Members' Day held on Saturday 15th November 2008 at Cambourne, near Cambridge, we were delighted that many members were able to enjoy some birthday cake, in honour of the Branch's 25th anniversary:
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