Kent Nature Partnership – Autumn Newsletter

Newsletter Autumn 2018

In this edition we celebrate the range of work being carried out across the natural environment in Kent and Medway, through our Heritage Lottery Projects, but first some exciting news relating to the 25 Year Environment Plan…

2019 Year of Green Action

Details of this Defra led campaign have recently been announced. This is part of the governments 25 Year Environment Plan and will be based around the following themes: –

Connect:  Improving people’s understanding of the state of the environment, the benefits a healthy environment can bring, and the effect of their actions on the natural world.

Protect: Helping communities and businesses to reduce their impact on the environment through greener decision-making.

Enhance: Inspiring people to enrich the environment, encouraging individuals and organisations to actively improve their local environment.

These areas clearly link to both the work of the KNP as well as the Kent Environment Strategy and the Natural Environment and Coast team at KCC will coordinate a Kent version of this campaign for the county and will shortly be approaching a wide range of organisations to collaborate on this.

For further information on this and other aspects of KNP’s involvement in the 25 Year Environment Plan, please contact: chris.drake@kent.gov.uk

Kent’s Magnificent Moths

The HLF planning stage of the new Kent’s Magnificent Moths project has now started! This three-year project is led by the Butterfly Conservation and will open two new positions in 2020.

Kent is home to some of the most threatened moths in the UK with many species occurring only here and nowhere else. These could be lost from the UK forever unless urgent action is taken. This project aims to safeguard rare moth species in East Kent by working with an array of organisations and landowners across the landscape, providing them with training and advice on sustainable management practices. It will also encourage and inspire local communities and schools to engage with conservation of moths and other wildlife in their local and wider areas.

Eight declining and vulnerable moth species have been selected as the focus of conservation action (Black-veined Moth, Bright Wave, Fiery Clearwing, Fisher’s Estuarine Moth, Four-spotted, Marsh Mallow Moth, Sussex Emerald and White-spotted Sable) with many others benefiting as a result. The project will take place across seven key landscapes in East Kent, working in three broad habitat types: coast, woodlands and downs.

Contact: Lucia Chmurova lchmurova@butterfly-conservation.org

Past Plants, Future Flora

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Environment Agency, this project raises awareness of and an appreciation for our botanical heritage and aims to educate and reconnect people to plants. The project celebrates the historical passion for botanical discovery but also acknowledges, raises awareness of and controls the invasive non-native plants which now threaten natural heritage, habitats and health.

The project looks to restore habitats which have been impoverished back to health by both control of invasive detrimental species and by sowing seed and re-planting with native species. The project supports River Warden volunteers who assist with the surveying for invasive plants as well as assisting with data entry and at educational events.  In addition, the wardens collect litter and report any riverbank issues.  With regards to invasive plants, they are our vital eyes and ears on the ground. Without them we would not always know what issues were where due to the scale of the catchment we focus on.

In return, the volunteers can access some regular training on a variety of topics.  In 2018 we had Pollinator Training lead by Buglife as well as Invasive Plant training.  Some dedicated volunteers have even benefitted from external training in botany and botanical illustration.

Websire https://medwayvalley.org/past-plants-future-flora/

Old Chalk New Downs

Grant funding for landowners

Landowners are being invited to get involved with this HLF project, to add to over 20 initial project sites. Grant funding of up to £10,000 is available to assist with capital work which will help with the sustainability of the project. These projects may be for work such as fencing and installation of a water supply to allow traditional grazing. Scrub clearance and soil inversion for the benefit of wildflowers, pond creation and management and hedge planting are all other ways to help in the development of a sustainable habitat.

For further information visit: http://www.oldchalknewdowns.org.uk/blog/money-for-old-chalk

The project also has 3 places available in the next  Brushcutter course on the 3rd and 4th of December.  This is a Lantra certificated two day course, free or charge but with a £30 refundable deposit to ensure people turn up. Detail: https://tinyurl.com/y8s9aqoz

Our Stour

HLF funded community project – enjoying and improving the rivers of the Stour Valley

The involvement of local people is at the heart of Our Stour. Participants are training to be River Wardens, volunteering their time to clear rubbish from rivers, and taking part in walks and activities. School children are learning about river ecology and young people are making films with environmental messages.

Our Stour is made up of six programmes…

AquaLab – our mobile educational vehicle. So far we have taken it to more than a dozen different schools, delivering activities to over 700 children!

River Wardens – More than 40 local people have signed up to the programme, attended training on topics like riverfly monitoring, and are now looking after their own stretch of river.

Rivers in Focus – Activities in this varied programme have included a walk along ‘Whitstable’s Hidden River’ and a children’s animation workshop. More activities in the spring.

FlowFilm – Young people in Ashford and Canterbury took part in workshops in the summer holidays making short films about their local rivers. Go to the Our Stour YouTube channel to see the films.

River Conservation Tasks – Our tasks so far have included litter picking and rubbish removal at Grove Ferry Picnic Site, the Ashford Green Corridor and riverside sites in Canterbury.

Landowner Workshops – We are providing free training events for landowners in the Stour Catchment, focusing on topics like invasive specie. There will be two more workshops this winter.

https://www.facebook.com/wild.sites.54

Contact: kentishstour@kent.gov.uk

Asian hornet alert

The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) is a species of hornet which is not native to the UK. It is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than other hornets or bees.

However, they do pose a risk to honey bees and pollinating insects. This is why the government are keen to stop this insect establishing in the UK, and why you should report suspected sightings.

Asian Hornets have now been confirmed at a site in Kent.  Please make yourself familiar with their identification and the alerting procedure.

When a sighting is confirmed, experts from the National Bee Unit (NBU) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will work quickly to find and destroy any active nests in the area.

www.gov.uk/government/news/asian-hornet-uk-sightings-in-2018

Sustainable Health and Care Forum, Birmingham 21 November

KNP Chair Caroline Jessel will be attending this event which is the only sector wide conference and exhibition for sustainability in health – bringing together thought leaders, professionals and experts driving the transformation to a sustainable NHS and health sector.

Hear about and discuss how national strategies, new policies, and emerging thinking are delivering benefits for health, whilst saving money and resources.  Understand how meeting environmental targets and implementing best practice will maximise environmental, social and financial value.  The day has a packed agenda of presentations, workshops and case studies as well as exhibition.

If you are intereted in attending or finding out more, the details are here: https://www.sustainablehealthandcare.com/sustainable-health-and-care-awards