Besides managing our habitats we carry out a number of conservation activities and these are outlined below
Homes for Bats and Birds
It is a concern to us all that declining habitats are affecting the bat population. We are fortunate that 6 species of bats have been sighted in Findern. To encourage them to breed, we have put bat boxes in trees. These boxes are made from woodcrete, which is very strong and designed to be long lasting. Each box will accommodate many bats, as they like to live together!
The boxes have to be carefully sited, as the bats do not like flying through other branches to reach the box. The boxes must not face the sun, or they will get too hot! You will notice that the boxes have been numbered. Derby Bat Society will be monitoring each box and keeping records as to how well it is used!
We hope that the bird boxes will similarly encourage a wide variety of birds to nest and breed. We are grateful to Toyota, The Payback Team and the Environment Agency Action Earth project for helping us with this project.
The Group is concerned about the continuing loss of hedgerows. These are a valuable source of food as well as providing a safe haven for many animals and birds. Over the last few years we have planted three new hedgerows. One has been planted behind the wildflower banks in Crow Park Way, two others have been planted along the sides of Stanhope Wood. These will act as a windbreak to protect newly planted trees and shrubs, as well as to provide shelter and food for many species.
The hedges are a mixture of blackthorn, hazel, hawthorn, field maple, dog rose and spindle. This will create a traditional South Derbyshire hedgerow. As they reach a certain size, they will be laid in the traditional manner. This will ensure they grow thickly. This project was funded with the assistance of a Greenwatch Action Grant from Derbyshire County Council.
Wildflower Restoration Project
We are working on a long term project to reintroduce some of the wildflowers back into our countryside. With support from Andrew Laxton, from Derbyshire Countryside Service, we have researched wildflowers that are traditional to South Derbyshire. We have drawn up planting plans for various habitats including wetland, hedgerow, woodland and meadow. The group are maintaining a database which monitors the success of the project. Diverse species of wildflowers encourages bees and insects which are vital to the eco structure.
The community are very appreciative of this project. We believe that by enhancing our rights of way, they become more attractive and people will be encouraged to use them more.
Wetlands Rescued and Revived!
We are removing a large number of willow trees from the wetland site along Crow Park Way. These trees are very thirsty and remove water that the wetland site requires.
We shall shortly also be removing rose bay willow herb and some of the bullrushes. This will create the areas of open water that dragonflies and other insects need.
We are continuing this programme by planting more varieties of plants in this wetland.
Findern Flower Power!
We are working with South Derbyshire District Council and Findern Parish Council to promote biodiversity in Findern. We have reviewed the mowing arrangements in Findern, and identified sites which would benefit from less frequent mowing. This will lead to more wildflowers which we hope will help to halt the decline in butterflies and bees. We intend over the coming years to add further wildflower planting, together with berrying shrubs and trees to these sites.
These sites will all be kept under review over the summer and all wildlife sightings will be recorded.