The Worcestershire Wildlife Trust has more than 20000 members. It manages more than 77 nature reserves, covering over 2650 acres across the county. The guide to the reserves lists 11 “all season wildlife walks”, 28 “local wildlife treasures” and 18 “delicate wildlife gems”. There are over 500 local wildlife sites which the trust does not manage, but does visit and track. This means that membership of the trust allows access to large sites and small sites, woods, marshes, meadows , fields, dingles, gravel pits and coppices. For people who are travelling around the county, for instance people with narrowboats, membership is well worth considering. Worcestershire Wildlife Trust is based at Lower Smite Farm, Smite Hill, Hindlip, Worcestershire WR3 8SZ, (quite close to the Sixways rugby stadium just outside Worcester ) tel: 01905 754919, enquiries@ worcestershirewildlifetrust.org, www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk.
Based at the same address is the Worcestershire Biological Records Centre.
There are two projects aimed at surveying and monitoring wildlife which members might like to get involved with. It is not necessary to be an expert. If you do not know what species something you see belongs to that is fine. It is a lot like a project the RSPB has been running for some years now, where people are asked to record the bird species they see in their gardens.
The first project is called Wild Walks. The idea here is to monitor wildlife on the nature reserves. It allows users to log wildlife sightings and map records of plants and animals across the trusts landscape scale conservation schemes. Not many of the reserves have a canal running through them; Hanbury Wharf may be an exception. However, quite a few reserves are reasonably close to the canal, for example Droitwich Community woods and Upton Warren wetland reserve. So, to take part you consult the map of a nature reserve in Worcestershire and identify a route through this “living landscape”. You then travel this route and record what you see. The more times the route is travelled the more useful the results will be. The maps can be found on the website. The monitoring form is very simple. It is notebook size. It asks for information on: grid ref/location i.e., which walk, date, recorder, group and then species. All species can be recorded; birds, insects, fungi, plants and fish. If you would like to be involved in this project take a look at the information on the website. The contact person is Michael Liley, tel: 01905 754 919.
The second is run by the Worcestershire Biological Records Centre (www.wbrc.org.uk). The contact person for this project is Simon Wood tel: 01905 759759, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or for biological recording data email email@example.com. The monitoring form is the same and again all species are included. The idea here is to record outside the nature reserves. So for us in the Worcester Canal Group with our focus on the canal from Diglis basin to Perdiswell park this is the project we are interested in. Some parts of the canal are close to local wildlife sites. So for instance the allotments at Lansdowne Road are a nationally important site for slow worms. The whole of the canal network in Worcestershire could be surveyed in this way. All it would take is people willing to do it, an hour a week wherever you happen to be would provide useful information.