7 July 2011

A Second Life for Ponds

As well as the exciting education projects covered by recent Croaks, Froglife is also undertaking valuable research work to provide a scientific basis for our conservation work. Our Second Life for Ponds project looked at the effects of different pond restoration techniques on a whole range of species, including the great crested newt.

Ponds are constantly changing. Each year dead plants and animals slowly build up and this changes how the pond behaves, which in turn impacts on the species which can be expected to thrive. Some species, such as the very rare bearded stonewort (in the UK found exclusively in Peterborough and one Scottish loch), are very sensitive to this organic build-up and will quickly die out if new ponds aren’t dug or existing ponds restored. However, other species are adapted to these later succession ponds and could be harmed by restoration works.
A digger completing mechanical pond restoration
Our results show that complete restoration is the most effective management technique for restoring bearded stonewort to ponds, but even partial restoration may have an effect. However, this technique also radically altered the invertebrate assemblage and made those ponds unsuitable for water voles. Curiously the effect on great crested newts was unclear, but we are continuing to monitor these ponds to provide a third year of data.

“This was the perfect project for Hampton Nature Reserve,” said Paul Furnborough, Conservation Officer at Froglife “With over 300 ponds on site we were able to research not only the effects of five different techniques but to have replicates as well – an essential element of experimental studies. This is an important addition to the growing discipline of evidence-based conservation.”

We are confident that findings from this study will inform land managers across the country.

Volunteers helping with manual pond clearance
We'd like to thank the the SITA Trust and all the experts involved in making Second Life for Ponds such an interesting project with a really thorough report.
You can support our work conserving reptiles and amphibians like toads for as little as £1.50 a month. Sign up as a Froglife Friend and help save species and habitats here.

5 July 2011

Wildlife Ambassador Graham celebrates after win at Green Awards

On Monday 4th July, the Peterborough Evening Telegraph Green Awards took place at the Marriott Hotel here in the city. Froglife was there with Wildlife Ambassador Graham Patton, who was a finalist for the Green Volunteer Award.  Competition was stiff between the three finalists, and we are proud to announce that Graham won!
Graham with his certificate and award
Project Officer Laura Brady, who nominated Graham, went along and could see how much this award meant to Graham and kept her fingers crossed!  Graham was accompanied by girlfriend Donna and friend Cat as well as another Wildlife Ambassador, Ash Jarvis.  The ladies cheered him on as part of the large supportive crowed for all the finalists to celebrate their hard work.

The event was sponsored by a number of local organisations representing green and renewable ethics, including headline sponsor AB Agri, prize sponsor Van Hage and judging was assisted by The Peterborough Environmental City Trust. There were 11 awards, with the Green Volunteer Award sponsored by Opportunity Peterborough.

This award was first in the line-up so Graham's supporters sat quietly as the presenter spoke about all the hard work Graham had done. When his name was called Graham had to make the big walk up to the stage as everyone in the room gave him a loud round of applause.

‘I was so nervous before the event and didn’t know what to expect,’ said Graham. ‘It felt like I was walking for miles before I reached the stage, I was so excited I didn’t know what to do!’

Hugs were shared as the messages from other Froglife staff came flooding in.  We are all so delighted and proud of
Graham, who has volunteered for over 180 hours on the Wildlife Ambassador Project. The project is funded by Access to Nature to give people looking for work or employment new opportunities.  On top of a promotion in his new role as a care assistant, this award is a well deserved pat on the back for this enthusiastic and caring young man.

Graham won a fantastic glass award and framed certificate as well as a tomato plant, blueberry bush and teddy bear, which he is looking forward to planting in his new garden.

Graham with his winnings!

Photos and information of all the winners on the night will be featured in the Peterborough E.T. on Wednesday 6th July.
You can find out more about Froglife's Wildlife Ambassador project:
You can support our work conserving reptiles and amphibians like toads for as little as £1.50 a month. Sign up as a Froglife Friend and help save species and habitats here.

Photos by Laura Brady

4 July 2011

Wildlife Ambassador Short Listed for Green Award

Wildlife Ambassador Graham Patton is a finalist in the Evening Telegraphs Green Awards for Green Volunteer of the Year, after completing over 180 hours on Froglife’s Wildlife Ambassador project in just 6 months. The ceremony is on Monday 4th July at the Marriot Hotel in Peterborough and we’ve all got our fingers crossed!

Graham meets a newt
Graham is an incredible young man – he has spent many years as a young carer, and overcome depression and a period of homelessness to now work as a care assistant. Graham became involved with Froglife through the Lincoln Road NHS Drop-in Centre where he was a volunteer. A bright, enthusiastic person, he joined the first group of Wildlife Ambassadors for training at the beginning of the year, and has since stayed on. He also undertook Great crested newt training on Hampton Nature Reserve and video training to enable him to help in a variety of roles. Graham is so dedicated to Froglife he even dressed up like a giant toad for our exhibition at the Peterborough Green Festival!

“I’m so proud of all the great work Graham has done on the project; he is an amazing Ambassador for Froglife and for wildlife generally, and is now an intrinsic part of the team,” says Laura Brady, Project Officer. “It’s been amazing to see his progression in such a short time. Graham’s self-belief has grown throughout and he is now helping so many other people, not only other Wildlife Ambassadors but also in his new job as a carer.”

The Wildilfe Ambassadors project is funded by Access to Nature, and aims to give new opportunities and experiences to people going through difficult times, such as periods out of employment or training.

“I’m over the moon to be nominated for this award,” said Graham when he found out he was a finalist. “I’ve loved everything I’ve done with Wildlife Ambassadors so much, I’ve learnt loads about reptiles and amphibians and made tons of friends. Without the project and my volunteering experience I wouldn’t have got my new job. I’m on cloud nine right now after receiving a promotion at work as well!”

Everyone here at Froglife has their fingers crossed for Graham at the awards tonight and would like to thank him for all his hard work and dedication to the project.

You can find out more about Froglife's Wildlife Ambassador project

You can support our work conserving reptiles and amphibians like toads for as little as £1.50 a month. Sign up as a Froglife Friend and help save species and habitats here.

Photo by Jodie Coomber