General branch news, field trip and work party reports in 2017
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Canal and River Trust Reward for butterflies
After a series of visits and assessments, which saw expert judges travel across the country from Norfolk to Gloucester, and from London to Cheshire, an independent panel of experts, led by Christopher Rodrigues CBE, selected its finalists for the 2016 Living Waterways Awards.
From inspirational visitor centres and vibrant theatrical performances, to innovative education projects and pioneering environmental initiatives, winners are listed under nine award categories with a team of volunteers from the Warwickshire Branch of Butterfly Conservation winning the Natural Environment category for their work to save rare butterflies at Fenny Compton Tunnels.
Volunteers had been maintaining grassland habitats alongside the Oxford Canal at Fenny Compton for many years, but this valuable local wildlife site was suffering increased invasion from scrub.
To help restore the rare calcareous grasslands at Fenny Compton Tunnels Spoil Banks & Meadow, the Canal & River Trust entered into a volunteer adoption agreement with Butterfly Conservation Warwickshire, who were keen to bring back the Grizzled Skipper butterfly to this designated local wildlife site.
Working together with local volunteers from other expert bodies and the Probation Service, Butterfly Conservation Warwickshire has raised 17 work parties, providing nearly 850 hours of volunteer effort and undertaking ecological restoration work across over eight hectares of land. Large areas of scrub have been cleared and a fantastic mosaic of grasslands created for rare orchids and butterflies, with scrubby woodland edges for breeding birds and deadwood habitats for fungi, beetles and invertebrates. A large pond was also restored for amphibians, reptiles and dragonflies and a butterfly identification display board installed.
Photo: Grizzled Skipper butterfly. Copyright Steven Cheshire 2016.
A friends of group has been established, volunteer maintenance work is ongoing, walkers are regularly using the new circular path and early butterfly monitoring work is showing promising results.
Find out more about the 2016 Living Waterways Awards or View the press release.