July Biodiversity Group Update

CHALLENGES AND ACTIVITIES:
As previously reported enriching our soils with organic matter will help their growing power. In these days when many people carefully consider their diet, please include soil enrichment as part of this. See the research done by Ros Edwards in the SFADG, to be found on the CFB website. The health of our planet and your health are important.

28th July – the next owl nest box workshop, at Avonleigh 9-12 noon

Report on the JUNE DAYTIME CFB MEETING on Wildflowers and organic gardening. This illustrated talk provided a chance for input by its attendees. Thanks to Carol Craft and Sheila Blethyn for their expertise.
Essential for all wildlife garden areas is a pond. It is important that if the pond is large enough there should be an area at a depth of at least a metre; this is to allow for an area of submerged liquid water in the event of a frozen upper layer. A place for animals to survive. ‘Beaches’ are also needed for animals to find their way in and out of the pond. Amphibians such as frogs spend part of their life in water and partly on land. Birds and other animals can gain access to its water for drinking purposes. The larger the pond the more likely you are to have damsel and dragonflies. The Field Studies Council (FSC) produce many ID laminated foldable sheets; an example is one to identify pond wildlife.
Wildflower and grassland areas in gardens flourish only if the soil is poor in nutrients. I found that using an area of lawn which had been covered from daylight for a couple of months and then topped with sand (children’s play sand in this case) provides an excellent result when sown with wildflower seeds.
To help with wildflower id go to www.plantlife.org.uk/spottersheets , here you can download a variety of id sheets including one on wildflowers for each month. All those flowers led us onto bees and insects and which flowers attract them. Organic gardening and the use of organic matter along with dig or no dig methods were all discussed over a cup of a favourite beverage.

BIODIVERSITY NEWS
Members of the group sent a letter to Bellways Homes development on the Holt Road with concerns over what they intend to do with the piles of subsoil. There is real concern that if it is just spread on top of the pasture valuable invertebrates, fungi and seed mix will be lost. Concern was also expressed over the unsuccessful replacement of a hedge along the main road.
The Time is Now: a lobby of MPs in London on 26th June. Our MP was asked how to get more farmers to leave areas for wild flowers; these attract insects which can kill many unwanted invertebrates in a crop. The answer seemed to be that it depends whether the farmer will only do this if there is a cash incentive or not.    Liz Stephens