Tracking the Impact, a summary of the event:
The event starts with an introduction from Andy Clements (recently retired CEO of The British Trust for Ornithology), who sets the scene with the bigger picture – giving examples of how volunteer data has influenced government decisions to fund research and conservation projects that have made a huge difference.
Nick Marriner, from the Chilterns Conservation Board and Chalk Cherries and Chairs Project talks about how the surveys were set up to fill a gap in local data for the Chilterns. He shows how the project will help build an accurate picture of the health of wildlife and habitats locally, to inform and back up local conservation decisions.
You can hear a discussion between members of the Central Chilterns Farmer Cluster, who talk about how welcoming volunteers onto their farms has broken down barriers, and how a farmers’ WhatsApp group has been a friendly competitive motivator for the 18 farms in the cluster to be the best at creating the right conditions to attract more species and wildlife to their farms!
You can hear from two young people from Chilterns New Shoots, and Steph Rodgers from Chilterns Rangers who runs this project that is giving a group of 15 – 20 year olds their first taste of conservation work, bird surveying and plant monitoring. The young people also had access to high quality binoculars, expert advice and training, careers advice and work experience.
You can also hear from conservation groups who’ve been partners in the project, including:
Norman Shepherd from the Bucks Owl & Raptor Group, talking about the placement of Owl boxes on farms in the Chilterns, and the monitoring findings – if you’d like to volunteer with this group, visit: Give a Hoot
Pete Edwards from the Hughenden Ringing Group talking about their bird surveying & bird ringing work.
Kristin Thompson from the Buckinghamshire Mammal Group talking about the small mammal survey project.
And Steve Jeanes, a volunteer from the Bucks & Milton Keynes Environmental Records Centre talking about a reptile survey project.
Other Volunteering Opportunities locally:
Looking for a New Year’s Resolution and love nature and wildlife, or heritage and history? Here are some a ways to get involved and make a difference locally.
Contact Nick from Chalk Cherries and Chairs for more information on how to get involved in the surveying projects featured in the video. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chiltern New Shoots:
To get involved in the next cohort of 15 – 20 year olds, read more and find the sign up form here.
Chilterns Archaeology and Lidar – Beacons of the Past Project:
Help with fieldwork, or lean help analyse lidar maps from the comfort of your armchair and laptop! Beacons from the Past is all about discovering the unmapped archaeology of Chilterns Hillforts. Learn more about how LiDAR data is collected and processed, and how you can ‘read’ it to discover archaeology hidden in the landscape. Or when COVID safety allows you can take part in an excavation or a workshop. Join the e-mailing list here to express an interest and hear about the latest opportunities.
Chalk Streams Protection and Monitoring:
Volunteers have long played an essential role in protecting and enhancing these rare and special Chilterns habitats, and here are some of the groups you can get involved with. You can help remove invasive species from the river, learn how to monitor river flies as a marker of river health, and keep a regular watch for pollution and blockages. If you don’t like getting muddy, help organise and recruit, or simply make a cuppa for the workers!
Learn more and get involved via these groups’ websites:
Revive the Wye
The Ver Valley Society
River Chess Association
The Chiltern Society Rivers and Wetland Group
Benson Nature Group volunteers (who help look after Ewelme Brook)
The Chiltern Society
Fantastic conservation groups, footpath maintenance groups and river and wetland groups just waiting for you to get involved. Find out more here.
BBOWT: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust has fantastic opportunities for conservation volunteering, or even helping out in their visitor centres and offices, with relevant training given before you start. Also try Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust & Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust.
The National Trust
Care for the special places and buildings you love by volunteering for the National Trust. Find out more here.
Company Team Building:
Chiltern Rangers offer a ‘Be a Ranger’ Day for companies – a great way to work together, have fun and get outdoors for a day. Get hands-on with tasks such as creating homes for birds, butterflies and wildflowers. Or building a bench in a countryside area, improving steps or clearing paths!