Annual Report 2014

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Friends of Sharphill Wood Annual Report 2014

There were 10 meetings of the Friends of Sharphill Wood in the year to 13 May 2014. The Annual General Meeting on 14 May 2013 elected Phil Miller (Chair), Mike Rivett (Vice Chair), Chrissie Wells (Treasurer) and Bill Logan (Secretary). Jo Miller was also appointed Publicity Officer and John Elwell Work Party Coordinator.

There were 96 Friends on the circulation list in May 2014.

Management developments

A revised Management Plan was agreed with Rushcliffe Borough Council and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust for the next 5 years to 2018. The objectives from the previous 5 year plan of defining footpaths, installing gates and bird boxes and encouraging management and surveying by the Friends Group had been achieved. The new plan includes objectives to continue removing sycamore coppicing wych elm, elder and hawthorne, maintaining bird boxes, supplementary planting, encouraging community participation and installing interpretation panels.

Publicity

A monthly article continues to be written by Jo Miller for the West Bridgford News. The articles outlined the work the group has been doing as part of our management plan, where and why the work was carried out.  Another part of the Publicity Officer role is to maintain and update the website and facebook page , adding articles, keeping them both up to date,  alive and active, encouraging interest in the group and working towards increasing the number of volunteers. This has also involved writing articles to be added to national volunteer data bases / websites to increase volunteer numbers for the future. Jo also receives all emails from the contact form on the website and from the Group email account, which she forwarded to the relevant officer for response.

Rushcliffe Community Award

A highlight of the year was undoubtedly Phil Miller receiving the award for Protecting and enhancing our environment from Rushcliffe Borough Council Mayor, Councillor Brian Buschman. Our thanks go to Councillor Angela Dickinson and Gaynor Jones-Jenkins of the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust for nominating us.

Nature surveys

We undertook two butterfly surveys late in the summer, after two of the Friends had received butterfly identification training from Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. It is hoped to continue these throughout spring and summer 2014.

As usual, bird surveys were conducted at intervals during spring and early summer. In addition, nest inspections were carried out on our newer nest boxes during the breeding season, and results were submitted to the British Trust for Ornithology nest record scheme. Of the 24 boxes inspected, only three had evidence of fledged young, but this has to be considered in the context of the very cold spring in 2013. During the winter, some of the older nest boxes were “upgraded” to make inspections feasible without undue disturbance.

 

Thursday 17th October was the date chosen by the Notts Fungi Group to very kindly carry out a survey of species present on a snapshot basis in Sharphill Wood on that day. John Elwell and Chrissie Wells volunteered to go along to learn about how this is done. During two hours some 52 species had been found, although not all could be identified on the spot, some having to be collected and looked at under the microscope, they were so minute. We are now in possession of a list of these species, their Latin names, their common English names, the location in which they were growing and where possible the growing medium plus tree name. See list on the  website

Work Parties

During the period May 2013 to April 2014 we held 9 scheduled Sunday work parties (January was cancelled owing to bad weather) and 3 additional sessions on other days of the week (in August, October and December). In addition there were visits to remove nest boxes for upgrading and to re-install them afterwards. We clocked up an impressive 311 volunteer-hours with an average of 8 people on the main work parties. In May we were joined by a number of 4th West Bridgford scouts.

Perhaps the biggest task during the winter was the planting of further whips, donated by the Woodland Trust, in various parts of the wood and its boundary. Other work during the year included inspecting and tending whips planted in previous winters, continuing the fight against sycamore, maintaining the official paths, blocking unauthorized paths, dealing with fallen or unsafe branches, and the usual litter picking. For the additional work party in October we had the use of a 4-wheel drive buggy for transporting some of the wood chip up to the northern end, for easier distribution on the paths in that area.

Thanks to all who helped during year, particularly when the weather was not so kind and when conditions were very muddy.

Community participation

During the year we organised 3 well attended walks on 22 May 2013, 26 December 2013 and 30 March 2014. We loaned our bat detector to the Repton Road Neighbourhood Watch and on 25/26 March facilitated den building by the local Brownies.

Finance

Annual Financial Report 1st April 2013 – 31st March 2014

This year we managed again to meet our modest requirements thanks to our regular donors.  Rushcliffe Borough Council funded us via Councillor Khan for publicity material and for our annual T.C.V. (Trust for Conservation Volunteers) insurance and membership package and also for leaflets. This money is showed in the accounts as Restricted funds, as they have not yet been spent.  Councillor Robinson provided us with funds to purchase a brush cutter to help us with managing the understory to make it a more effective habitat.

The County Councillors Divisional Fund also gave us a grant to fund guards and canes for planting boundary whips plus a drill for work in sycamore clearance. This work is still ongoing, hence it is showing as restricted funds.  Su Collins continued to provide funding in kind by offering her home for our regular meetings. These donors are thanked profusely for their support. It is also worth mentioning that as well as their time, many volunteers pay out of their own pockets for computer paper, printing ink and other small items required for the administration support required.

Thanks also to our auditor, Gordon Dyne.

Year-end asset balance was £1,458.62

Acknowledgements

The Group would once again like to thank Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, especially Gaynor Jones-Jenkins, and Gary Cragg , Paul Phillips of Rushcliffe Borough Council and Gordon Dyne of the South Notts Group for their continued advice and support.

We would also thank Simon Jackson for modifying some of the nest boxes, and the Chief Ranger from Rushcliffe Country Park for the kind loan of a buggy.

 

Phil Miller (Chair), Mike Rivett (Vice Chair), Chrissie Wells (Treasurer), Jo Miller (Press Officer), John Elwell (Work Party Coordinator) and Bill Logan (Secretary).

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