News archive

November 2015

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Children birdwatching

Volunteers wanted -School Outreach Project

Hello there,

I'm Rose the new Schools Outreach Officer for the Brighton and Hove region. Over the next three years I will be working on a new Schools Outreach Programme across the South East. This is a really exciting project that aims to connect primary school children to nature through exploring the wildlife that is within their school grounds. The sessions are fun and interactive, allowing plenty of opportunities for first-hand experiences of nature whether it be bug hunting, birdwatching or finding daisies.

We are looking for volunteers with a passion for the environment, to help engage and excite children's curiosity in the natural world. The role will entail going into schools and running one of three free sessions that are designed to help children explore the habitats as well as to spot and identify all that creeps, crawls, grows and flies in their school grounds. We've got a lot to do! We are aiming to connect hundreds of children throughout the South East with the nature around them! We hope that for many children the sessions we run will be the first step to enjoying and valuing the natural world as much as we do.

How can you get involved?

Volunteer: If you are interested in volunteering as an education officer to run sessions in schools, please do get in touch as I would be delighted to hear from you!

Promote the project to schools: If you have children or grandchildren in a primary school, have links with teachers or teaching assistants, maybe you could let them know about the outreach offer?

Spread the word: If you have a local newsletter or forum maybe we could put a small article in about the outreach project?

Things to know

The project is funded by Aldi through the sale of plastic bags.

The outreach sessions are completely free to schools.

All sessions are thoroughly planned and materials and resources are provided.

Volunteers receive training and support to assist them in their role.

Volunteers are not required to have a DBS certificate, as they will always be accompanied by a class teacher.

If you'd like to find out more about the Schools Outreach programme or the opportunities available please contact me at I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Volunteer working on tree roots

Pull a pine at Farnham

Pull a pine at Farnham
Not a pub spelling mistake, an opportunity to bag a Christmas tree!

An invitation to "pull a pine" has been issued by staff and volunteers at the RSPB's Farnham Heath nature reserve in Surrey.
"What do we mean by pulling a pine? Literally that. We're inviting people to help maintain heathland at Farnham while having physical fun and helping themselves to a free Christmas tree pulled fresh from the soil." Says Assistant Warden Sam Richardson.

"The pine trees which spring up on the heath come from dormant seeds of the vast conifer plantation which covered this reserve. Before that it was all heathland for hundreds of years and we're restoring it to that state. We now know heathland supports rare and diverse birds, reptiles and bugs and is one of the most threatened habitats worldwide."

The Farnham Heath project has been running for more than ten years, with the aim of maintaining the beautiful heathland which once covered the Surrey Hills. If left unattended the land will be quickly colonised by birch and pine saplings and eventually the whole area will become forest.
Although we promote woodland habitat on site, the pressing need to maintain heathland is greater. The rarest and most endangered species living at Farnham heavily depend on a healthy heath habitat. Nightjars need wide areas of short vegetation for nesting; sand lizards will lay eggs in patches of bare sandy ground; and short heather turf provides hunting areas for woodlark and ideal egg laying conditions for silver studded blue butterflies.

Every year our dedicated group of volunteers help prevent the heathland from becoming lost and now we are inviting the wider community to lend a helping hand too.

"The event is open to anyone and everyone and relies solely on enthusiasm! Not only are there benefits for the local wildlife, but it's also great exercise and very satisfying when the pines pop out the ground. It saves you money and helps us out, so it's a win-win situation!" Added Sam.

As a token of our appreciation for any amount of time you can give on the day, we're offering a free Christmas tree as a 'thank you' for taking part. We provide all necessary tools, so all that's required is for enthusiastic people to wrap up warm, come on down to Farnham and have some fun.

Further Info:
Sam Richardson, RSPB Farnham and Hazeley Heaths Assistant Warden, on 01252 795 632, 07834 617 865 or

1. Event details:

Where RSPB Farnham Heath
Date Saturday 5th December 2015
Time 10am - 3pm
Parking The Rural Life Centre car park off The Reeds Road, Tilford
On the day Bring stout footwear, warm clothes and gloves.

2. The RSPB is the country's largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We also play a leading role in a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations. Visit for more information

3. Farnham Heath nature reserve is located just outside Tilford village off the B3001 south of Farnham. The number 19 Farnham to Hindhead bus runs closest, stopping in Millbridge village, outside the entrance to Pierrepont House. From there, the reserve is a mile (1.5 km) walk away, along Reeds Road (follow signs to the Rural Life Centre).
There are cycle racks and parking bays at the Rural Life Centre. For directions to the reserve and for more information visit:

4. The reserve is open at all times. The Rural Life Centre car park opens at 9.30 am weekdays and 10.30 am weekends. There are parking lay-bys on adjacent roads outside those hours.

5. The Rural Life Centre café is open to reserve visitors 11 am to 4 pm, Wednesday - Sunday, between April and September (inclusive), Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, October to March.

6. We are extremely grateful to Biffaward through the Landfill Communities Fund, Defra and Natural England who are supporting the heathland restoration work on-site.

7. Thanks to help on the reserve from employees of Goldman Sachs, the Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Earthwatch, Vodafone, Barclays, Allianz, SAP Business Objects, Lombard, Prupim and players from the Rugby Football Union, we have been able to deliver more for conservation at Farnham Heath.

The RSPB is a registered charity in England & Wales 207076, in Scotland SC037654

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Heather and scots pine

Defending the Directives - next steps

On the 16 December, UK Environment Minister Rory Stewart will be meeting his counterparts from across Europe to talk about what needs to be done to halt and reverse the loss of our wildlife by 2020. We want him to know he's got support from across the UK to help him to defend the Nature Directives - legislation vital to the protection of vulnerable habitats and species. Together we can show Rory Stewart that we're behind him.

What can people do?


Write an email, from your to your MP before 9 December, asking them to contact Rory Stewart so he defends the Nature Directives on behalf of the UK public on 16 December. You can find the blank form here by clicking on 'Ask Rory to defend nature'.

If you use twitter please:

1. Tweet to Rory Stewart. Suggested text: "I'm backing Rory Stewart @DefraGovUK to #DefendNature for <<share the wildlife or place you're defending>>
We're aiming for 15 tweets per day, from early November to 16 December

2. Take a #defendnature selfie - in front of your favourite site or species protected by the Directives(eg. In the south east .Dungeness, The Weald and Heaths, Thames Estuary and Pagham Harbour. We're hoping to use content from this activity (or some of it) to produce a nice book showing public support for the Directives to give to Rory Stewart before he goes to Brussels on 16 Dec.

So let's do everything we can to give nature the best hope for the future. Take action now, and encourage all your friends and colleagues to do so too!

Many thanks in advance for your support

Tuesday, 17 November 2015



Thursday, 5 November 2015

RSPB report on endangered british birds

RSPB report on endangered british birds

Four of the UK's bird species, including Puffin and Turtle Dove, have today [Thursday 29 October 2015] been added to the list of birds considered to be facing the risk of global extinction. The latest annual revision of birds on the IUCN Red List, which has been announced by BirdLife International on behalf of the IUCN, doubles the number of UK bird species considered to be facing the risk of extinction to eight.

The IUCN Red List assesses the threat of extinction for each bird species. Those with no immediate threat of extinction are listed as Least Concern. Those species considered to be facing a threat of global extinction are listed in three levels of descending threat: Critically Endangered; Endangered; and Vulnerable.

Shockingly, a further 14 UK species are considered to be Near Threatened, meaning that any further deterioration in their status could see them added to the Red List too.

Martin Harper, RSPB's Conservation Director, said: "Today's announcement means that the global wave of extinction is now lapping at our shores. The number of species facing extinction has always been highest in the tropics, particularly on small islands. But now the crisis is beginning to exact an increasingly heavy toll on temperate regions too, such as Europe.

"The erosion of the UK's wildlife is staggering and this is reinforced when you talk about Puffin and Turtle Dove now facing the same level of extinction threat as African elephant and lion, and being more endangered than Humpback Whale."

The global revision also captures the crisis facing other birds around the world, including vultures, where several African species have been listed as Critically Endangered - one step away from facing global extinction. In Africa, vultures are facing persecution and they are regularly poisoned or trapped.

Examining the list of changes among the UK's birds to this year's Red List, several themes emerge, including: deterioration in the fortunes of some seabirds, such as Puffin and Razorbill; an ongoing and increasingly intense threat to wading birds, such as godwits, Eurasian Curlew, Oystercatcher, Knot and Lapwing; and an increasing deterioration in the status of marine ducks, such as Eider, joining Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed

The four species added to the Red List are as follows:

Turtle Dove: Declines across Europe exceeding 30 per cent over the past 16 years have seen its threat status rise from Least Concern to Vulnerable. Scientists from the RSPB and other BirdLife International partners are trying to establish the reasons for the decline in the UK and Europe. The decline in the UK has been particularly high, with more than nine out of every ten birds being lost since the 1970s.

Puffin: Globally, this seabird is concentrated in Europe. Although its global population remains in the millions, breeding failures at some key colonies over recent years have been worryingly high, with many fewer young birds being recruited into the breeding population. These declines mean the species has been assessed as Vulnerable. Large declines have been reported in Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Norway, which together hold 80 per cent of the European population. In the UK, there have been significant losses on Fair Isle and the Shetland Islands, but elsewhere in the UK this seabird seems to be doing well.

Slavonian Grebe: this species occurs across North America, northern Europe and northern Asia. The bulk of its population occurs in North America where it has undergone a large and significant decrease. This decline has triggered the inclusion of the Slavonian grebe on the list of species evaluated as Vulnerable. However, new information collated from across Europe suggests the Slavonian grebe is declining here too. In the UK, the number of nesting Slavonian Grebes, all in the Scottish Highlands, have declined although those wintering round the UK's coasts have increased.

Pochard: recent information collated from across Europe indicates that this duck has declined significantly in recent years and that this decline is ongoing. Globally, Pochard has been uplisted to Vulnerable. In the UK, the numbers of nesting Pochard and the number of wintering individuals have declined markedly.