A version of this article appeared in the April 2018 issue of the Countryside Management Association’s East of England regional newsletter. You can find out more about membership of the CMA on their website.
We have been managing habitats with dormice in mind for quite some time at Belhus Woods Country Park. The site straddles the border between Essex and London, and includes ancient woodland, coppice, gravel lakes, meadows and rough grassland. We’ve not found any dormice yet through surveying but we hope they will eventually be a presence on site. With this in mind, we are also trying to increase our skills and knowledge when it comes to this interesting mammal, so it was with great pleasure that we hosted two Countryside Management Association training days in March led by the South East region’s Phil Bolton as part of the dormouse training programme. Both days were a hit, being fully booked out with a great group of people interested in learning more about dormice.
Some of the training resources used on a dormouse training day.
Checking dormouse boxes – one of the methods to survey for dormice.
We are hoping to hold more protected species training at Belhus Woods Country Park, including a possible Dormouse training day in Autumn to look at habitat management for dormice. We would also like to hear from other sites that are willing to host protected species training days run by Phil/CMA. Do you own or manage a site in the East region with dormice for example? If so please get in touch.
On Friday 23rd Feb I went on the Countryside Management Association SE Region’s training day “Ecology & Conservation Workshop for Dormice” at Bluewater in Kent. The day covered a lot of information about Dormouse habitat requirements, legislation, handling techniques and more.
The CMA’s East region are teaming up with the SE region to offer some of their protected species training days here in Essex: we have dates for Dormouse training to take place at Belhus Woods Country Park on 13th March and 27th March.
13 Mar 2018: CMA Training “Erecting dormice nest boxes and tubes; maintenance of existing boxes”
Belhus Woods Country Park, Essex.
10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Part of the Dormice training programme. This workshop focusses on the practical side of things. Ideal for Rangers working in or managing woodlands or would like to work towards their class 1 dormice licence. (more info & tickets)
27 Mar 2018: CMA Training “Ecology and Conservation of Dormice”
Belhus Woods Country Park, Essex.
10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Part of the Dormice training programme. This covers the theory side of things, including: Current legislation relevant to dormice; Survey techniques and field signs; dormice ecology; and Dormice habitat and Management. Ideal for Rangers working in or managing woodlands or would like to work towards their class 1 dormice licence. (more info & tickets)
We are also hoping to hold further training days later in the year, looking at Great Crested Newts and Bats, and there may be additional training days at other sites in the future too. If you’re a CMA member, watch your inboxes for more information. If you’re not a member yet, you can keep an eye on the CMA website…. or why not join? Then you hear about all of the training days, and can attend most of them for free!
As you may know, I am a region coordinator for the Countryside Management Association. The CMA run a number of events in the East of England and across the UK – including study days, training events and conferences. If you aren’t a CMA member but would like to find out about our events, you can sign up for our non-member updates. We’ll only email you about our events (no spam!) and you can unsubscribe at any time.
We are hoping to start a free yearly conference in the East of England region to bring together rangers, wardens, project officers, ecologists, contractors and other professionals working in parks and greenspace management – as well as students and volunteers! The East of England committee would like to find contacts in different organisations through the region who would be interested in attending or getting involved in the conference. If you would be happy to go on our contacts list please get in touch.
On Monday (16th October) I travelled over the river to attend a CMA study day in the South East region. The setting was an unusual one, based at Bluewater Shopping centre in Kent, and it promised to be a really interesting day looking at how the “environmental asset” of the site is managed to enhance biodiversity.
The aim at Bluewater is to balance needs of the wildlife and the expectations of guests to access the habitats for recreation. We started off the day with an introduction to the site, its history and its wildlife. Phil Bolton of Wildthing wildlife consultants explained how the Biodiversity Management Strategy is used to manage and enhance the biodiversity of the site. This system was a factor in the shopping centre winning a Green Apple Environment Award in 2009, and the site has also won the Green Flag award in 2016 and 2017.
Formed in 1966 the CMA is the largest organisation supporting the work of conservation, access and recreation professionals in the natural greenspace and countryside sector throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
This article appeared in the Countryside Management Association’s East of England regional newsletter that was sent out to members in March 2017. You can find out more about membership of the CMA on their website.
Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park in London hosted a CMA study day on 12th December 2016 looking at urban wildlife sites. The Ecology Park is managed by TCV – The Conservation Volunteers (formerly known as BTCV) in partnership with The Land Trust.
Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park has played a crucial role in the regeneration of the Greenwich Peninsula and is part of a huge government regeneration scheme put into place in 1998. The Park opened to the public in 2002 and has become an established and remarkably diverse urban wetland. The area is still developing rapidly however, which makes things challenging.
We had a great mix of CMA members and non-members at the event, including a number of TCV volunteers from other sites who took the opportunity to learn more about Greenwich Ecology Park from the staff who have managed it for 15 years.
So two weeks ago, the European Ranger Congress brought together staff and volunteers from across Europe (and beyond) to talk about the future of nature conservation. If you think that would be an inspirational event to attend, you’re not wrong!
The 4th European Ranger Congress took place 9-13th May in Litomerice, near the Bohemian Central Uplands of the Czech Republic. People from 26 countries attended, people who are working or volunteering as Rangers (and allied professions) in their own countries.
The Countryside Management Association (CMA) are holding a study day on Monday 12th December at Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park, near the O2 in London! The study day is titled “Wildlife sites in urban areas – challenges and benefits for people and wildlife” and it looks to be an interesting one.
Not only is this a great site, but the day will coversome big topics like: the impact of nature sites on health & wellbeing, community involvement (and successful volunteering schemes), and the effects and pressures of development. Phew!