Updated: Jun 5
By Louise Barnetson
We kicked off 2023 with a busy January/early-February for the Wittering Area Community Conservation Project:
5 volunteer work parties across West Wittering, East Wittering, Birdham, Earnley and West Itchenor improving habitat for wildlife.
4 separate sessions with the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts of 1st Birdham & Witterings Scout Group (photo above), and with the Brownies of 1st East Wittering Girl Guide Group.
4 after-school 'Wildlife Warriors Club' sessions at Birdham Primary School.
A whole day at Birdham Primary School for the Big Garden Birdwatch, making bird feeders with every child in the school.
Above: Volunteers coppicing willow at a wetland site in West Wittering. It was very wet!
Our brilliant volunteers have come out in the frost and rain (and occasional nice, dry day) to look after and improve wildlife habitats across West Wittering, East Wittering, Birdham, Earnley and West Itchenor. This has included working on our pollinator-friendly flower bed, attending to newly-planted trees, cutting back willow and bramble from pond sites, and looking after hedgerows.
Above: Volunteers taking a moment to enjoy the many birds we saw around Hedgehog Hall Pond in Earnley on an icy but dry and bright morning in January.
Above: Apparently getting stuck in the mud is a laughing matter! Our volunteers were working at West Itchenor Pond where we saw signs of endangered Water Voles (see nibbled vegetation below).
With the young people of 1st Birdham & Witterings Scout Group and 1st East Wittering Girl Guide Group we've been getting messy making bird feeders, mini bug hotels, and also looking at owl pellets to find out what owls eat.
With the children of Birdham Primary School we've also been making bird feeders, mini bug hotels, looking at owl pellets, and pond dipping (above and below left).
Below: Cubs with their bug hotels and bird feeders.
By doing these fun activities with young children we aim to engage them with the natural world around them, and hope that they gain an understanding of what wildlife lives locally, from the birds in the trees to the bugs on the ground. We try to get the message across that all wildlife is important we should all be doing our bit to look after it.
Below: It got a bit messy!
We will be continuing this work in the months ahead, and we are looking forward to enjoying the first signs of Spring with local children. Our regular volunteer sessions will continue through out February and March - why not join us next time?