The Noak Bridge
Nature Reserve Society
Around the Reserve with the ChairmanHello, a short Newsletter this time, not too much to report really. Things have been moving along nicely in the Reserve. We now have two new sets of steps courtesy of the Basildon Council CIF Grant awarded to us. We have also had notification of a "Fifty Four Thousand Pound Grant Award" from Veolia. This was applied for by Basildon Countryside Services on our behalf. Unfortunately there is a strict time limit on the spending so we are not sure how much of the outstanding project we will be able to complete as different works are best carried out at certain times of the year so as to cause the minimum harm to the habitat and surrounding areas etc.
On the Work Party with the Treasurer
Work Parties - June to September 2014With recent months bringing a mixture of sunshine and rain, the grass, bushes and trees have needed plenty more cutting and trimming which has been the main work of the recent couple of months. We have used our own Brushcutter and Basildon Council Staff have used industrial machinery to cut the main areas with volunteers clearing away the cuttings. Fox Pond has been cleared of much of the weeds and brush that has grown around the edge over the winter and spring when the high water levels made it too dangerous to work on the area.
This last work party also saw our Ranger, myself and a volunteer wading in the stream clearing it of fallen branches and debris which were creating several small dams and causing exceptionally high water levels there.
The usual litter picks continue on and off the work parties, and it was also good to welcome a new volunteer to the August gathering.
This year has seen, I think, a great decline in Butterflies, both in the garden and the reserve, which is a great shame as they are so beautiful to watch as they flutter from plant to plant. Despite their delicate appearance Butterfly species first appeared around 40-50 million years ago. Now unfortunately in these modern time they are under great strain, with many species becoming less common, locally extinct or disappearing completely. The main culprit is habitat loss, modern farming methods and land being given over to urbanisation. Some even say climate change doesn't help, but we can help them in their battle for survival as the answer could be right outside our back doors! Encouraging these butterflies can be as simple as planting suitable plants so they can visit these plants to obtain the nectar for food.
Plants such as these will help: Alyssum. Butterfly Bush. Heather. Lavender. Marigold. Marjoram & Scabious.
All these nectar providing plants will not only look good but with a bit of luck will also help other insect species such as bees (which will be more interested in the plants than us). Planting lots of different plants will mean you attract a wide range of butterfly types and food will be available over a longer flowering period.
Your next Newsletter is due out in December