8 Jun 2017

Being badgered in a good way

Bruce Langridge

“I’ve got some more badger cubs”

I found nothing sinister in this statement because it came from John, one of the Garden’s volunteer conservation group. He’s been a stalwart of the group since it was set up by Colin Miles in 2014 and is our Mr Gadget, someone with a device for all kinds of nature conservation needs – cameras, drills, things to measure things, magnifiers, phone apps and in this case, night-time motion triggered film.

The conservation group, under the steady guidance of Colin,  have really found their feet now. There are up to twenty active members who meet up every Tuesday morning to carry out surveys of the Garden’s wildlife and to share their knowledge with each other, and increasingly, with visitors.

Group members sometimes come with specialist knowledge or have developed their identification skills here. I’m regularly presented with weird fungi, soil encrusted animal bones, motionless moths and bizarre bugs that have been discovered on their walks – one of the perks of my job.

Jan and Keith are our mammal experts, Marigold examines the moth trap every fortnight with her apprentice Gilly, Peter and Colin Jones do fungi, Chris is now our birdman, Howard knows his wildflowers, whilst Michael, well he seems to know about every aspect of wildlife. And the rest of the group know such a lot too, especially the comings and goings on often overlooked nooks and crannies of the Garden.

In just the past month, the group have carried out their regular survey of pollinating insects for our scientists, wildflower surveys for our Regency Restoration team and dormice surveys to help us conserve the increasingly rare, and very cute, sleepy rodent. They’ve also put out identification markers, giving the English and Welsh name of the wildflowers in our  Cae Trawscoed hay meadow, Michael has given a series of wildflower walks for visitors, and this Saturday, Marie has volunteered to lead her first Welsh language wildflower walk – da iawn Marie.

The group’s boat has also been paddled around the Garden’s LlynUchaf (Upper Lake) in search of water creatures.

But the group has also had the sad duty to say goodbye to one of our most fun members of the group, Anne Causley. We hope to mark her death with a  small commemoration in Anne’s Wood, our unofficial name of the alder copse next to the Circle of Decision. Anne loved that small snowdrop-rich patch of the Garden.

Marie’s talk in Cymraeg is on this Saturday 10th June at 2pm, whilst Michael’s English language wildflower walk is the next day at 2pm. Meet at the western entrance of the Great Glasshouse.

If you’d be interested in joining the conservation group, contact Jane Down on 01558 667118.

And don’t miss John’s film of badgers as well as the occasional fox, mouse, otter and pheasant, in this 7 minute compilation.