3 June 2011

Froglife at the Green Heart Community Environment Awards 2011

We are proud to announce that one of our projects and a young Froglife volunteer have been listed as finalists for the Green Heart Community Environment Awards in Huntingdon.

Froglife's Green Pathways Scheme has been shortlisted for the Best Environmental Project Award and one of the scheme's volunteers, Amy Hamlett, has been shortlisted in the Young Green Achiever Award category.

The Green Heart Community Environment Awards recognise community groups and individuals who are making a real difference by reducing their environmental footprint and boosting local green projects. The awards are organised by Huntingdonshire District Council in association with The Hunts Post.

Councillor Jonathan Gray, whose executive responsibilities include environment, said of the awards: “We want to find out more about the excellent environmental community projects in the district. We certainly came across many inspirational people and projects at the awards in 2010.”

Froglife’s Green Pathways scheme entered its National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW) exhibition with specific reference to the input 1st Yaxley Brownies had in making items for the exhibition. Their involvement also went towards their Wildlife Explorer badges. The “Toads on Roads” exhibition obtained ‘Highly Commended’ for the Outstanding Achievement Award from The British Science Association. In the application Froglife highlighted how the exhibit successfully communicated the plight of toads on British roads to over 430 members of the general public of Huntingdonshire and Peterborough – a wonderful and unique way of raising environmental awareness.

Amy Hamlett was entered for her incredible seven year commitment to Froglife as a volunteer. Starting her service at just five years old she has developed into an enthusiastic and thoughtful young person who has taken the lead on many environmental projects and fundraising initiatives, whilst continually spreading Froglife’s environmental message to her peers and the general public. 

Amy with Willie Thorne and Mike Dilger
 Earlier this year Amy swam an incredible 3000 metres in aid of our Tuppence a Toad campaign (raising around £300).  She has also taken part in the Great Eastern Fun Run, and regularly attended all sorts of events as a Froglife representative, including Bird Fair, NSEW and local school fetes. Several years ago Amy also became a founder of the Eco Club at Farcet School and took the lead on the Secret Garden project that was undertaken by Froglife. This project was integral in the school receiving their Green Flag Award and even inspired Froglife to develop new environmental education projects.

The Green Heart Community Environment Awards ceremony takes place at The Corn Exchange, St Ives on Saturday 4th June as part of celebrations for World Environment Day. Places are invitation only so we will let you know the outcome of our two categories as soon as we can.

Fingers crossed…..

You can find out more about Froglife's education projects here

You can donate to support our work here

You can find out more about becoming part of the Froglife team of volunteers here

Photo by Duane Hamlett

1 June 2011

Green Pathways for Hundreds of Young People

Froglife is celebrating the achievements of our Green Pathways project as it comes to an end this summer. Funded by BBC Children in Need for the past three years, Green Pathways has helped 2630 vulnerable young people learn more about wildlife and enjoy the great outdoors.

Young people exploring a pond they helped create
Results have been remarkable, finding that those labelled as difficult, aggressive or withdrawn can transform themselves into willing learners if they are given opportunities beyond the classroom.

Funding for Green Pathways comes to an end this summer, and we are busily applying for money to develop the project further and to roll it out into other areas. We have worked with 34 referral agencies in Peterborough over the past three years all of which are keen to continue working with us and feel that the service will be missed:

“To have this facility in the local area has been something which has been lacking in recent years and considering the benefits to Peterborough and our students it will be sorely missed”.

Referral agencies have reported an increase in participant’s confidence, self-esteem and a development in social and physical skills:

“We have witnessed an increase in children’s determination, concentration and respect for the natural world”.

Oversubscription to Green Pathways throughout its three years illustrates how valuable a project that helps young people re-engage with learning can be. The disappointment expressed from referral agencies regarding the closure of Green Pathways provision has been astounding :

Getting creative and messy outdoors
“This facility has improved the children’s confidence and determination …. Disengaged children have reintegrated themselves with social groups and formal learning through …. Green Pathways sessions. It is such a shame that it must come to an end”.

Both soft and hard outcomes have been generated through the project, ranging from reintegration into formal learning to completion of Silver Youth Achievement Awards and Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Highlighting Froglife’s creative and practical approach to science teaching, Green Pathways has taken part in the British Science Association’s National Science and Engineering Week. Our ‘Under the Surface’ event won Best Science Event in 2010 and we came Highly Commended this year in the Outstanding Contribution category for our display featuring a giant toad lollipop lady.

The project has also received a lot of publicity appearing regularly in Peterborough Evening Telegraph and also on BBC 1’s breakfast news and ‘The One Show ‘. Visitors to the scheme have included Julia Bradbury from Country File and Mike Dilger, natural historian and wildlife presenter.

Our unique emphasis on wildlife conservation has enabled us to offer something inspiring and exciting to young people that is often outside their normal sphere of experience.

Froglife would like to thank everyone who has supported and participated in the Green Pathways Scheme. We hope that the project will obtain funding for the future so that we can continue progress and develop the good work that we have carried out over the past three years. It has been a real pleasure to work with so many fantastic young people and engage the conservationists of the future

Watch this space for future updates!

You can find out more about Froglife’s education work here

You can donate to support our education and conservation work here

Photos by Laura Brady

31 May 2011

Hop down to Robroyston near Glasgow this Saturday

On Saturday 4th of June Froglife will host our first Froglife Friends walk in Scotland on the wonderful Robroyston Local Nature Reserve. This wildlife haven on the outskirts of Glasgow is home to four species of amphibians and provides an exciting variety of habitats to explore. We’re looking forward to showing some of the Friends who support our work for £18 a year around the site.

Robroyston Local Nature Reserve
Froglife have been working in Robroyston since the start of the Glasgow Living Water Project in 2009. Robroyston LNR was historically used as both a colliery and a sandstone quarry. However, the site today is very different and has developed into an inner-city wildlife haven! To date, two areas of the main wetland have been enhanced to minimise the spread of bull rushes. Already the new pools created have attracted smooth and palmate newts.

“This is a great site close to the city centre that is often overlooked by Glaswegians,” says Living Water Project Officer Eilidh Spence. “It’s a very important area for amphibians and probably one of the best for smooth newts and common toads. I really enjoy visiting this site as there is always something new to catch your eye.”

The walk is part of a “C in the park” - a conservation themed day in the Nature Reserve organised by Glasgow City Council and a local community group, offering a range of activities. The Reserve is also home to Skylark, Willow Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Grey Heron and Northern Marsh orchids.

Froglife Friends will be able to have a go at pond dipping to try and catch a glimpse of some of the animals they help to protect. Froglets and toadlets will possibly be emerging, so there is likely to be lots of activity around the edges of ponds. Adult newts and efts may also be spotted.

The walk will start at 2pm in the south of the Nature Reserve, off Quarrywood Road, Barmulloch. A member of Froglife staff will be present in the biodiversity marquee opposite the south entrance to the Reserve to meet and greet Friends. The walk will finish back at the south of the site at 4pm.

If you would like to attend, please book your place by emailing info@froglife.org or phoning the office on 01733 558844.

You can find out more about Robroyston Local Nature Reserve here

 You can find out more about our work in Scotland here.

Photos by Eilidh Spence