Today Surrey Wildlife Trust’s new Citizen Science Project ‘Hedgerow Heroes’ took a step closer to realisation as I delivered a taster session for our People and Wildlife Department directed by the awesome Aimee Clarke
As regular followers of this blog will know hedgerows are a passion of mine having created and steered the Hedgerows for Dormice Project for Peoples Trust for Endangered Species from 2009-2011 thanks to a Countdown 2010 Grant from Natural England to improve the status of Dormice in the UK.
Thanks to the incredible physical endurance of James Herd from the SWT Commercial Development Team and Ranger Ben Hapgood who recently completed a gruelling Triathlon , and the generosity of Chessington World of Adventures, “Hedgerow Heroes” will commence in 2017. In the first instance we will be training volunteers to help us update the status of hedgerows in Surrey- their extent and condition, In future years we hope to engage in hedgerow management and perhaps explore some novel ideas around community ownership of hedgerows as part of neighbourhood planning and green infrastructure networks.
Surrey Wildlife Trust has a Vision for a Living Landscapes for People and Wildlife which depends on Citizen Science programs like RiverSearch and the upcoming Hedgerow Heroes. Hedgerows are a magnificent example of a semi-natural habitat that requires human intervention to maintain (blog post on anthropogenic habitats forthcoming), which 130 Species of Principal Importance for Nature Conservation rely on and ecosystem services such as natural flood management, natural pest control and soil erosion control depend on.
Our day today was light-hearted but with serious overtones. Guffaws about hedgerow bottoms were met with serious concerns about well-managed hedges with enough shrubby growth at the base for refuges for hedgehogs, which are one mammal species, as well as dormice, that can trace an evidence base for their own decline back to hedgerow loss and poor management
Oh dear I seem to have brought my Canadian Doughnut & Hedgerows fetish back to the UK as well.