4 November 2010

Remember, remember: check your bonfire for amphibians and reptiles!

A big pile of logs, twigs and leaves – a great bonfire, and also a really appealing hiding place for amphibians, reptiles and other creatures looking for somewhere to spend the winter. Frogs and toads will often choose log piles and garden debris to shelter in and a pre-prepared bonfire is the perfect hiding place.

Here are a few tips to make help make your celebrations more wildlife friendly:

• Collect your wood and other bonfire materials in a separate place to where you’ll be having the bonfire, and move them just before you want to light the fire, ideally as late in the day as possible.
• If you’re going to an organised event you could get in touch beforehand and ask if they need any help searching for uninvited guests!
• To be extra safe, ensure the fire is only lit from one side so anything left within has the chance to escape.
• If you do come across any animals, just transfer them to a similar habitat in another part of the garden. They will be a little disorientated but the disturbance won’t do them any harm.
• You could create a permanent log and leaf pile specifically for frogs, toads, newts, lizards, hedgehogs and other creatures to hide in over winter in a quiet corner of the garden.
• Build a compost heap for your other garden waste – as well as helping reduce your rubbish, they are a great place for slow-worms!
• Try to burn only clean, untreated wood on your bonfire, with no nasty varnish, paint or plastics so you don’t release toxic chemicals in the smoke.
• Why not fundraise for our Tuppence a Toad campaign instead of collecting a penny for the guy? More information about the campaign and how you can help us save more toads from death or injury on roads with your small change can be found

So, ‘Remember, remember the 5th of November’… especially what might be buried in your bonfire!

2 November 2010

Froglife on The One Show!

The BBC’s One Show came and visited one of our wildlife friendly allotments in Peterborough on Monday, to find out about our Children in Need funded project Green Pathways. Some young people from the project met One Show wildlife expert Mike Dilger and the camera crew to talk about their experiences.

Green Pathways has been running for two years and enables all sorts of young people from the city to find new ways to shine in wildlife-themed sessions. Vulnerable young people such as young carers, victims of bullying, those at risk of offending, or from disadvantaged backgrounds mingle with peer mentors with a shared interest in being outdoors and learning about nature. The sessions have a positive, inclusive and hands-on approach.

The project has been really successful and oversubscribed, seeing improvements in self-esteem, confidence, knowledge and skills, as well as providing precious opportunities to escape from the pressures of everyday life in the fresh air. Nicole, who was interviewed for the show, has been involved from the beginning and now volunteers to help other young people get their hands dirty! Nicole was given a special thank you for all her hard work by Mike.

Children in Need funding has provided a salary for a project officer, supported by resources from other funders. We are planning to expand Green Pathways and roll it out to new areas so that more young people can benefit from the therapeutic atmosphere and improve biodiversity in their local area.

The short film will be featured on The One Show on BBC 1, 7pm Tuesday 2nd November.

Find out more about the project at www.froglife.org/greenpathways