28 September 2012

Highly Commended for Pond Project

Froglife was delighted to hear that our LivingWater project in Glasgow was highly commended at the 2012 Biffa Awards ceremony, in the Rebuilding Biodiversity category. CEO Kathy Wormald went to the ceremony at the Historic Dockyard in Chatham along with other nominees undertaking brilliant projects including Bristol Zoo, The Woodland Trust and the RSPB. 
One of our favourite pictures - happy volunteers at work on pond creation with Froglife in Glasgow
Biffa Award uses landfill tax credits to fund a wide range of community and environmental projects across the UK.  Each year, the people transforming their communities and improving the environment through Biffa Award projects are recognised at the Biffa Awards ceremony.  This year more than 200 recently completed projects competed to win a prize in five different categories, and a short list of 25 was whittled down to attend the ceremony.  Froglife competed in the Rebuilding Biodiversity category for our creation of 22 new ponds and restoration of a further 23 ponds at 14 sites across Glasgow. 

“I’m so proud of the team that manages Glasgow LivingWater, our first project north of the border,” said Kathy.  “As well as creating and improving the landscape for wildlife, they also led training and volunteering days to involve the local community in protecting these vital habitats.  It was fantastic to be recognised in the shortlist from so many excellent projects, and great to come highly commended.”

The winner of the category and of the Awards as a whole was the Flitton Moor Action for Biodiversity project in Bedfordshire.  Entirely run by volunteers, this project also improved the habitat and raised awareness amongst locals about a Local Nature Reserve.

“Going to the Awards really reminded me that there is a lot of great work being done across the UK to improve biodiversity and empower people to get involved in conservation,” added Kathy.  “I’d like to say a big thank you to Biffa Award for supporting Froglife, and congratulations to everyone else who was shortlisted.”

27 September 2012

Dragon of the Month: Western Green Lizard

Every month in 2012, Froglife is celebrating a different reptile that can be spotted in and around the UK.  This month, Sam Taylor has been finding out about another of the more exotic species, the Western green lizard.

"Some lizards are more dragon-esque than others, with the Western green lizard definitely just missing a pair of wings to compete with our favourite mystical beasts! 

These bright green and black lizards are native to the Channel Islands and found in Jersey, with introduced colonies breeding successfully in Bournemouth and Guernsey.  I have never seen one of these beautiful creatures in the wild, and they can be hard to spot even if they are on your doorstep being shy and, like all lizards, very fast moving. 

These beautiful, large lizards lay eggs which are buried and hatch in August to September, with the tiny newly hatched lizards a well camouflaged brown.  Being larger, these lizards can also take bigger prey, adding nestling birds, eggs and fruit to the general UK lizard menu of invertebrates.   Although currently a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of species,* the Western green lizard is thought to be declining due to habitat loss and increasing intensification of farming."

Dragon Fact File: Western Green Lizard
Lacerta bilineata

·     These are large lizards with long tails, growing up to 40cm long.
·     They prefer dense, bushy vegetation with good exposure to sun.
·     On the Channel Islands their habitat is in dunes and coastal heath and grasslands.
·     In the south of England, they are found in scrubby grass and heath along a cliff.
·    They are also found throughout Europe in hedgerows, open woodland and embankments.

·    Males are bright green and stippled all over with black
·    Males’ heads are often larger and darker, with a blue-turquoise colour on the throat
·    Females are a paler shade of green and more slight in build. They sometimes possess  2 white or cream dorso lateral lines along each side of their body, which is where their scientific name ‘bilineata’ comes from
·    In addition to being brown, Juveniles also have the pale dorso lateral lines and may also have a greenish throat

*Valentin PĂ©rez-Mellado, Marc Cheylan, Philippe Geniez, Hans Konrad Nettmann, Benedikt Schmidt, Richard Podloucky, Roberto Sindaco, Antonio Romano 2009. Lacerta bilineata. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. www.iucnredlist.org

 Photo:Silviu Petrovan