Family Science Fair 15 March 1pm-5pm

Important information!

IMPORTANT EVENT UPDATE:
Family Science Fair has been postponed until further notice. If you have any questions please contact us directly.

This year, admittance to the Family Science Fair on 15 March will be by ticket only.

Tickets are FREE and can be obtained by going to the Dorchester Tourist Information Centre in person to collect (this is located in the Dorchester Library, Charles Street, DT1 1EE).

There will be 2 time slots available – from 1pm-3pm and from 3pm-5pm.

Tickets will be available from 15 Feb on a first come first served basis – keep an eye on here for updates!

In addition, the bug and exotic animal handling activity with World-Life will also require a ticket – which can be obtained when you collect a ticket for the Family Science Fair.

Due to high demand for this event we sincerely ask that if you collect a ticket but then are unable to go, that you return it to the Tourist Information Centre or pass it onto someone who is able to attend.

You will need your ticket on the day, to be admitted to the Family Science Fair.

We look forward to seeing you on the day – and have some brilliant activities lined up for you!

Resourcing the Future for Wildlife in Dorset

Resourcing the Future for Wildlife in Dorset:
Brian Heppenstall, Senior Ranger at BCP council
Wednesday, 12 February 2020 at 13:00 (GMT)

Bringing together conservation organisations and local business

The interest in the future of our wildlife and related environmental issues is driving a great deal of behavioural changes, for example 72% of miliennials are willing to spend more on products from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact. In the US, those companies whose employees were given time to undertake charitable environmental work, found that 76% of staff felt better about their employers.

It is no wonder then, that businesses are working to adopt green credentials, visible to both their customer base and their employees, in order to drive success.

Through networking and showcasing, delegates at this conference, will explore problems for local wildlife conservation. There will be a focus on local case studies, and opportunities to seek new collaborations and find potential solutions.

This years key speakers, Dr Anjana Khatwa and Ben Hoare, will address one of the most important resources within any sector – the workforce, and principally the issue of societal representation in the conservation sector.

This conference will therefore look at two strands:

  • Encouraging links between conservation organisations and business to encourage partnerships and the provision of support/resources in the mutual interest of preserving the local environment
  • Employability, skills and diversity within the conservation sector (in Dorset)

PROGRAMME

Introduction/welcome

 Refreshments available 

The Importance of Wildlife Conservation in Dorset

Professor Rick Stafford – Bournemouth University

The Future Workforce: The Impact of Work Placements

Julie Gill, Placement Coordinator – Bournemouth University

Frances Jenkins, Placement Coordinator – Kingston Maurward College

Case Study, Short Film: Hengistbury Head Placement Scheme

Does Nature Conservation Represent Society

Key Speaker: Ben Hoare, Editorial Consultant, BBC Wildlife Magazine

Privilege and Permission: Being Brown in a White Landscape

Key Speaker: Dr Anjana Khatwa, Learning and Earth Science Specialist

Go Wild – Collaborate!

Introduction by Luke Rake, Principal and CEO of Kingston Maurward College

Nature Volunteers: Matching opportunities with resources

Rachel James, Wild Paths, Dorset Wildlife Trust

Ali Tuckey, Durlston Country Park

Puff Storey, 3 Sided Cube, Tech For Good

Lottie Forte J.P. Morgan, Volunteering and Community Relations

Guest Speaker Panel Q&A

Networking Opportunity and Buffet


A full programme will be published to attendees nearer the conference

Please arrive at 13:00 for a prompt 13:15 start

Refreshments and a buffet dinner will be provided

Pre-booking of parking is required and once the spaces have been booked, no further parking on campus will be available.

 #rfwDorset


For futher information on this event please contact brian.heppenstall@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

 How to get to BU: Directions, parking & maps

 Accommodation: The University has preferential rates with a number of local hotels, please quote Bournemouth University when booking to access these rates.  (Preferential rates are subject to availability and will be advised by the hotel at the time of booking)

Carlton Hotel
East Cliff Court Hotel
Miramar Hotel
The Green House Hotel

 Please note that before placing an order, you will be asked to agree to Bournemouth University’s terms and conditions (see below). Please read these terms carefully and make sure you understand them before ordering any Products.

Bournemouth University’s Online Event Terms and Conditions

 Photos may be taken at the event. If you do not want to appear in any photos, please notify a member of staff at the event. For further information on the use of photos and videos, please refer to our privacy policyDo you have questions about Resourcing the Future for Wildlife in Dorset? Contact Brian Heppenstall, Senior Ranger at BCP council

Book your place here now:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/resourcing-the-future-for-wildlife-in-dorset-tickets-75832273371

Super news for Snakes in the Heather

Photo credit: ARC

‘Snakes in the Heather’ is a new and exciting ARC project which has been awarded support from the National Lottery. The project aims to conserve Britain’s rarest reptile, the smooth snake, by bringing together key partners including Amphibian and Reptile Groups, Wildlife Trusts and other non-governmental and governmental organisations.

Over the past two centuries there has been an extensive decline in the smooth snake’s primary habitat, lowland heathland. The species is now only found on the heaths of Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex, with a special introduction site in Devon. It is a very secretive creature, choosing to bask within heather vegetation and burrowing out of sight. For this reason, its ecology, behaviour and distribution have been difficult to study and therefore its status and conservation needs are poorly understood.

The £412,000 National Lottery Heritage Fund grant will develop partnerships between organisations and community volunteers, and harmonize conservation efforts across southern England.

The project will raise awareness and “ownership” of reptiles among local communities through the media and events, greater community awareness of smooth snakes as a unique component of our biological heritage. We will use a “citizen science” approach to help us conserve the smooth snake by training new and existing volunteers to carry out targeted reptile surveys. This will provide valuable data to better understand the smooth snake’s needs in order to support and inform conservation decisions. Volunteers will also carry out practical tasks to improve the species’ heathland habitats across Southern England.

The project’s legacy will ensure better managed, more resilient smooth snake populations through a greater, shared understanding of the conservation needs of the species.

The project will build on the strong local partnerships that are already in place and runs until 2023.

For more information on Snakes in the Heather contact:

smooth.snakes@arc-trust.org

Article source: https://www.arc-trust.org/snakes-in-the-heather

Saving Europe’s Crickets and Grasshoppers From Extinction

A recent assessment of cricket and grasshopper species in Europe has shown that up to 25% are facing extinction. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the group Orthoptera, which includes Grasshoppers, Crickets and Bush Crickets, is the most threatened group assessed so far. An estimated 1000 species of Crickets and Grasshoppers are found in Europe. They play a vital role in grassland ecosystems; many species of birds and reptiles feed on them. The main factor contributing to decline is habitat loss due to wildfires, tourism and intensive farming. Many species are confined to small areas due to the break up of their natural habitats; for example the Crau Plain Grasshopper has been confined to the steppes on Southern France.

So what can be done in order to protect these insects? According to research from the IUCN Global Species Programme, more effort must be put into restoring the habitats of these insects in order to increase population size. This can be achieved using sustainable grassland management by employing traditional agricultural practices. It is imperative that these insects are saved from extinction, not only because they are very important biodiversity indicators, but also they are an integral part of grassland ecosystems.

Image Credit: Axel Hochkirch

Bittern Numbers Booming In The UK

The Common Bittern, Botaurus stellaris, a shy, secretive relative of the heron, was once extinct in the UK, however the bird has made a massive comeback over the years. Bittern numbers are now at their highest recorded numbers in the UK.

The bittern lives mostly in reed beds and is rarely seen due to the superbly camouflaged streaked plumage, which blends perfectly with the environment. However, the male’s booming call can be used to identify the presence of bitterns, and so researchers have been able to count these birds.

This year, the breeding population has been at it’s highest since the 1800s, with 140 singing males seen, compared to 11 in 1997. Somerset has the largest bittern population, with 20 males located at Ham Wall nature reserve,

According to the RSPB, one factor contributing to UK population increase in bitterns is due to restoration of quarries, which has helped bitterns to thrive. The bittern is still on the RSPB’s red list, but the development of these restored quarries is expected to increase the UK’S bittern population in the future.

Image credit: Helen Briggs

Restoration of Native Flora Encourages Bird and Insect Pollinators

Scientists investigating the effect of exotic plant species on native plant biodiversity on the island of Mahe in the Seychelles have found that ecosystem restoration by removal of exotic plant species is linked to an increase number of pollinating species such as bees, butterflies and birds and an increase in flowering of native flora.

Eight study sites on Mahe’s mountains were monitored for a period of eight months, with non-native plant species being removed from four sites. Native plant species were found to be flowering more frequently and attracting more pollinators. An increase in the number of pollinator species was also observed 6-12 months after the removal of exotic species, including bees, wasps, flies, beetles, moths, birds and lizards.

The research from Mahe mountaintops gives us a clear demonstration of the role of ecosystem restoration in pollination and interaction between plants and animals, and that ecosystem degradation is, at least partially, a reversible process.

Picture credit: C. KAISER-BUNBURY

SOUTH AFRICA WILDLIFE CONSERVATION INTERNSHIP

My research at Bournemouth University has focused on the impacts of human and wildlife conflicts, with response to how these could be mitigated and appropriately managed. As part of my post graduate studies, I carried out an 8-week wildlife research conservation internship with GVI South Africa, Limpopo. This is a charitable organisation that focuses largely on conservation within a game reserve. This opportunity allowed me to broaden my horizons within the conservation sector and enable me to develop direct research experience within the field.

Working closely with a team of dedicated conservationists within the South African bushveld, I partook in conducting valuable research on the wildlife dynamics of a relatively small game reserve. This involved developing tracking skills, where dominant predators were tracked using radio telemetry, to develop a better understanding of the movement patterns of the animals and in turn aiding with the management of the area. Vital behavioural data was collected daily with emphasis on predator and herbivore species presence and interactions, so that a better understanding of the animals could be achieved. Additionally, there was focus on reserve management to ensure that the reserve is maintained to the best standard.

This internship utilised established training methods, where predominant telemetry skills were initially developed, and a subsequent focus on tracking and signing within the bushveld was explored. These significant skills were established so that a holistic approach to conservation can be achieved, with a sustainable and long term emphasis. Scats and tracks were identified, where we were tested on various parameters, including individual and group species movements, when they were last seen in the area, and any prominent indications of directions. Furthermore, key bird identification skills were practised on a regular basis

There was also a strong focus on community engagement projects, with the aim of encouraging and teaching local school children about the significance of conservation within the community and local area. By doing this, we aimed to encourage local people to have a better understanding of the value and importance of biodiversity within their country.

This experience has enabled me to develop key skills that are applicable to my academic studies, encouraging me to further explore the research skills and aid with professional development, emphasising on scientific output. Working as an intern, I have been exposed to broader global research working with industry professionals and an insight to the vital ongoing conservation work within this region.

You can find out more about this program by following this link, and get involved with this unforgettable experience.