Fabulous Community Murals Project

Arts Development East Cambridgeshire (ADeC) are kicking off this exciting project on Bank Holiday Monday 25th August 2014.

Logos

Professional mosaic artist, Carolyn Ash will be working with the community, their pottery/ crockery items, some ‘spare’ museum pieces, found materials and mosaic-ware to create some fabulous permanent murals at Mepal Outdoor Centre, Denver Sluice and WWT Welney.  Postcards, and mini postboxes, will be placed at these sites for ideas for the murals or just turn up on any of the workshop days – it’s all FREE!

ADeC murals workshop poster

Download the poster here

All workshops are from 10 am till 3.30pm – wear clothes you can create in!

Mepal Outdoor Centre (Chatteris Road, Mepal, Ely, CB6 2AZ)

BH Mon 25th – Fri 29th August & Monday 1st September

Denver Sluice (PE38 0EQ/ 9QP follow the signs)

Mon 22nd – Sat 27th September

Whilst at Denver Sluice you may also want to sample the food and drink available at the Jenyns Arms (do check opening times though) and also at the wonderful Denver windmill.  There is also a golf and a sailing/rowing club in the area, a smattering of walking routes and some nice interpretation panels dotted around.  It would make a great day out with lovely lunches and afternoon tea available at the Mill which is only a short walk from the Environment Agency Sluice complex.  Spending a little time at Denver really helps highlight the man-made nature of this landscape.

WWT Welney (Hundred Foot Bank, Welney, Nr. Wisbech, PE14 9TN)

Monday 13th October – Saturday 18th October

The café and interpretation areas at Welney are excellent, with a charge for visiting the reserve proper (over the arching bridge – link to earlier blog post) but lots to see and do in the centre and shop if you have time or come back another day!

These practical, hands-on workshops mark the start of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme’s projects and activities, with the murals made with local people forming a lasting record of this landscape steeped in history and brimming with biodiversity that brings us bang up-to-date!  The murals will be mounted permanently at their making sites with related activities taking place during Festival Fortnight (20 – 31st July 2015 and in 2016 too).  Look out for more information on our activities via this blog.

Murals workshops: contact Nathan.jones@adec.org.uk for further information

See also the mural project’s own Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OWLPCommuntiyMurals

Advertisements

Have a meander along your river

Do you live in or near Welney, Denver, March or Ely? They have something in common… Can you guess what they all have? Rivers! They all have their own character and issues. Would you like to enjoy and learn about your local Fenland rivers?

Logos

This is a chance to enjoy a lovely, informative and sociable walk along some of our local rivers whilst discussing and gaining an understanding of issues and impacts upon these and other Fenland rivers and on the Ouse Washes. It will be a laid-back endeavour with stops to view the scenery and features, or to chat and take photographs.

The Ouse Washes

The Ouse Washes. Image by Bill Blake Heritage Documentation, all rights reserved.

A partnership (The Water Care Partnership) is working to investigate and work towards solutions for the problems these rivers face and which have been pointed out by the Environment Agency. This is where you and your ideas and involvement comes in! It is important to consider local communities’ perspectives and skills in the care and management of these valuable natural resources.

Everyone and anyone are welcome on these ‘Riverside Walks and Talks’ however the walks may not be suitable for some people like wheelchair users. Light refreshments will be provided and you can find out how to get involved with protecting your local environment.

There are four walks around the area, all of which will be approximately 2 miles and may take up to 2.5 hours.

Welney – Sunday 14th September 10am

“A catchment based approach to the Old Bedford and Middle Level catchment”

River at Welney

River Delph at Welney

Riverside Walk and Talk Invitation – Welney

Ely – Sunday 14th September 2pm

“Our part in the bigger picture”

River at Ely

River Great Ouse at Ely

Riverside Walk and Talk Invitation – Ely

Denver – Saturday 20th September 10am

“A catchment based approach to the Old Bedford and Middle Level catchment”

River at Denver

The Tidal River and New Bedford River at Denver

Riverside Walk and Talk Invitation – Denver

March – Saturday 20th September 2pm

“A catchment based approach to the Old Bedford and Middle Level catchment”

River at March

River Nene at March

Riverside Walk and Talk Invitation – March

Bookings are now being taken for the Riverside Walk and Talk events hosted by Cambridgeshire ACRE for the Water Care Partnership. Places are limited and so to book your place(s), please visit: www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/walkandtalk. For more information on the work of the Water Care Partnership please visit www.watercarepartnership.wordpress.com. If you have any questions regarding any of the walks, please contact Jennie Thomas (Jennifer.thomas@cambsacre.org.uk or 01353 865044).

New job for Ouse Washes LP scheme with WWT Welney – apply now

LogosA new job with the Wildlfowl and Wetlands Trust has just been put online!

The post is for a 30 hr/wk position based at the WWT Welney reserve, for 14 months. This position is paid for through the Heritage Lottery Grant funding the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP) scheme.

The Project Officer will be responsible for delivering one of the two WWT’s projects within the OWLP scheme, the ‘Great Ouse Wetland Engagement Project’ which has at its main aim to ‘help develop the Great Ouse Wetland (GOW) as part of the OWLP area, in order to form a unified destination for local and visitor audiences interested in enjoying and engaging with the natural heritage of the area and the human history that created and maintains it’.

This is a key project within the OWLP scheme as it links in with other OWLP projects and the wider OWLP scheme ambitions of promotion of the area’s landscape and significant heritage to a wide audience.

This will be an exciting project as it will contain, amongst others, the installation of new exhibition materials, a Green Screen, the creation of wildlife films together with volunteers and visitors, and working across all nature reserves and other conservation organisations in the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership area. A range of community engagement and outreach work, including working with local schools and community groups, will also be part of this project and position.

Capture

The main purpose of the job is described as such: ‘Working within the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP), supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to run and deliver a wildlife media production project promoting the Great Ouse Wetland and the Ouse Washes LP landscape as a wildlife destination, through showing changing wildlife throughout the year and involving characters from the community as presenters. The role is also responsible for the marketing of the project and the content to media and the tourism industry’.

‘WWT is seeking an enthusiastic videographer to join our team, producing a series of engaging short wildlife videos, depicting the story of a year in the life of a stunning wetland region. Our ideal candidate will be a persuasive and engaging communicator, very interested in wildlife and happy to work around its schedules, and will have good news & media sense’.

How to apply?

To apply for this exciting new job, please go to the WWT’s website, http://jobs.wwt.org.uk/vacancies/388/media_production_officer_great_ouse_wetland_project_fixed_term_contract/ where you can also download the job description and apply online. The closing date for applications is 12 July 2014.

You can also download the job spec here: Media_Production_Officer_Great_Ouse_Project2

 

Related posts:

 

Grants available for Community Projects: now open for applications

Logos

Today we are launching our Community Heritage Fund, our small grants scheme!

 

Grants available for Community Projects

Have you got an idea for a small community heritage project in your local area?  Grants of between £500 and £2,000 are now available to help people look after, learn about, extend the understanding of and to celebrate the unique landscape and hidden heritage of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership (OWLP) area.

 

Who can apply?

Anyone living inside or outside the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership area is eligible to apply, coming from organisations, groups in the voluntary and community sectors or individuals and local companies.

What can we finance?

Projects should have clear public benefits, support the OWLP scheme’s objectives, and provide some input into the partnership’s main events, the Ouse Washes Festival Fortnights planned for July 2015 & 2016.

Project ideas could, for instance, include the creation of a new circular walk/ village information panel, bringing an area’s heritage to life via an oral history project or walks-and-talks, heritage skills training or passing on land-based management skills to others, or perhaps a one-day community event focusing on the culture or natural heritage of your local area.

Many other activities could also certainly qualify for a grant; the above is just indicative of the kind of projects we think people might be interested in carrying out.

 

Do you have a project idea? Why not come and talk to us:

As part of the launch of our Community Heritage Fund scheme we will be touring the area: the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership team will be visiting four characterful pubs spanning the area to discuss your project ideas.

Please come and see us and enjoy a complimentary snack or two!

  •  Lamb & Flag, Welney – Monday 30th June 5.30 – 7. 30 pm
  •  Jenyns Arms, Denver Sluice – Tuesday 1st July 7 – 9 pm
  •  Three Pickerels, Mepal – Wed 2nd July 5.30 – 7.30 pm
  •  Old Ferryboat Inn, Holywell – Thursday 3rd July 5.30 – 7.30 pm

Please find our leaflet here, for the four above events: Community Heritage Fund A5 poster (PDF, 0.5MB) – please hang this up for people to see or pass on to others if you could as well; thanks.

Capture

 

How to apply

The first two application rounds have deadlines of 20 August & 30 November 2014. Application forms and grant guidance can be found here (and also in our Resources):

 

We encourage you to contact us if you would like some feedback on your initial ideas; we are there to advise you on your project ideas and to guide you through the application process.

We are looking forward to your project ideas; hope to see you in the pub for one of our pub info sessions!

 

Things to see, places to go and stuff to do in the Ouse Washes this Bank Holiday weekend

local kids on a bug hunt on a wildlife-friendly farm

Local kids on a bug hunt on a wildlife-friendly farm in the Fens. Copyright: Niki Williamson/ RSPB

LogosSaturday 24th MayWisbech Craft Centre fun day including bouncy castle – check out their Facebook page for some lovely crafty items and join them at Alexandra House, Alexandra Road, Wisbech, PE13 1HQ between 12 and 4 pm.

 

The Stretham Old Engine Museum is open this Sunday 25th May and on the Bank Holiday Monday 26th May from 1.30 to 5 pm (£3 adults, £1 children), further info can be found at www.strethamoldengine.org.uk (also open Sunday 8th June & Sun 22nd June; Sunday 13th July & Sunday 27th July).

The Stretham Old Engine, although just outside of the Ouse Washes LP area, is the last survivor in the southern Fens of over 100 steam-powered pumping stations used to drain the Fens. Erected in 1831, it is also the largest and one of the most complete examples of these.

the-engine-2011

The beautiful, still working and well-kept interior of Stretham Old Engine. Source: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g186226-d213789-Reviews-Stretham_Old_Engine-Ely_Cambridgeshire_England.html

 

For events and activities at WWT Welney reserve in the Ouse Washes, check out their website and click on this week to see more detail, costs and booking requirements; but just to whet your appetite there are beginners bird watching walks (Mondays 11 -12 and Sundays 1 – 2pm) till the 31st May and Fen tales and breeding bird walks (Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays 1 – 2pm till 31st May).

Safaris at WWT Welney
At WWT Welney there is also a ‘Wetland Safari’ on Bank Holiday Monday (26th May) from 10 am till 4pm which includes guides in the bird hides, pond dipping and owl pellet dissection (pellets contain the bones that owls cough up instead of swallowing!) – What’s not to like? Normal admission charges apply and pre-booking is recommended for some of these activities.

 

 

50th Swanniversary!

LogosThe Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) is celebrating its 50th Swanniversary!

This is the celebration of 50 years of successful research on the Bewick’s swans, one of the WWT’s iconic animals.

Sir Peter Scott’s great idea

The study started on 11 February 1964 when the conservationist Sir Peter Scott started painting the swans on the lake outside his window, close to the salt marshes near Slimbridge.

P1000695

Bust of Sir Peter Scott, founder of the WWT, at WWT Welney. Photograph: Cambridgeshire ACRE.

He noticed that the swans can be recognised individually as they each have a unique bill pattern of black and yellow markings. He meticulously recorded each swan that visited.

He appreciated that natural markings could be used as a powerful tool for the study of the migratory Bewick’s swans. Scott’s research has formed the basis for a very unique study which has grown into an important international population study in a collaboration that continues to this day.

As a result of the collaborative studies, the Nenetskiy National Nature Reserve in Russia, an important breeding area for the swans, was also given protected status in the 1990s.

bill-patterns

Unique bill patterns of Bewick’s Swans: original 1960s drawings as recorded by Sir Peter Scott. Source: https://www.wwt.org.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/bill-patterns.jpg

Even though more traditional tagging of the birds and – more recently – GPS tracking are also used in the study of the Bewick’s swans, the bill pattern recognition is still of utmost importance in this study – all down to Peter Scott’s original idea.

P1000696

Unique bill patterns of Bewick’s swans. Information panel at WWT Welney. Photograph: Cambridgeshire ACRE.

Swanniversary celebrations at WWT Welney Reserve

This Wednesday I was invited for a celebratory event at WWT Welney Reserve. Besides the delicious muffins in the WWT Welney café (do try them!) we were also treated with informative presentations from the WWT’s Chairman Sir George Russell; The Centre Manager at WWT Welney, Leigh Marshall; the Head of UK Waterbird Conservation, Eileen Rees; and Dafila Scott, WWT Vice President (who is Sir Peter Scott’s daughter). Dafila explored her personal memories of her childhood at Slimbridge, how she helped to paint and name dozens of swans, and her subsequent life-long interest in swan migrations and family patterns.

Recent changes at the WWT Welney Reserve

Leigh Marshall gave an overview of all the major, positive changes that the WWT Reserve has seen in just the last six years, since the new eco building was erected: two new hides, almost all footpaths having been resurfaced and made more accessible, and a dragonfly pond has been installed. In addition only in the last few years new land has been acquired to the east of the reserve centre: Lady Fen and Bank Farm, together accounting for c 200 ha of new wetland.

Lady%20Fen%20early%20morning%20LM%20(7)

Lady Fen to the east of WWT Wetland reserve centre, hugely important for swans and wader birds. Source: http://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/welney/dont-miss/lady-fen-and-bank-farm/

Currently, works are taking place to convert the adjacent 100 ha of former farmland into wetland; a new hide is also planned. Although still very much developing, these new wetlands have already proven to be vital for such rare wader species as the Black-tailed gotwit of which 45 of the 50 UK breeding pairs breed at the Welney Washes [More about this great story in a separate post to come].

The future of the Bewick’s swans

Bewick’ swans numbers have gradually grown until they peaked in 1995 around 30,000 internationally. since then, there has been a rapid decline in numbers: currently there are only c18,000 Bewick’s swans left in the world.

In order to counteract this decline, international efforts have been stepped up: the last few years saw, for instance, the production of an international Bewick’s swan Action Plan which will be implemented over the next few years. This Action Plan has been drawn up with conservation colleague in numerous countries, including The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Russia, and was adopted by the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement in 2012. It is hoped that, through combined efforts, the population will reach healthy numbers again in the future: the aim is to halt the decline and maintain the population at 23,000 birds or above.

Changing weather patterns: lower numbers of Bewick’s swans at Welney

One of the changes that have been affecting the Bewick’s swans is the rapidly altering weather pattern we have been experiencing lately. With milder winters, fewer birds migrate all the way to the UK to overwinter, from their breeding grounds in Siberia.

As a result, this winter the lowest number of Bewick’s swans have been recorded at Slimbridge since 1965. At the Ouse Washes, where most of the UK Bewick’s swans congregate in the winter, this year has also seen a record-low number of c1,000 only whereas in a ‘normal’ year c5,000 turn up.

As a result of the internationally co-ordinated research we know that this winter many birds did not migrate any further than Germany: also The Netherlands, usually the last ‘stop’ before Bewick’s swans move on to the UK have seen record low numbers: whereas the Netherlands usually is host to 70% of the total Northwest European population they have only counted 4,800 Bewick’s swans this winter, down from the usual c13,000.

All of this may not be as bad as it seems: as the birds do not have to fly as much and do not experience harsh weather this winter, the birds are likely to remain stronger and thus, when back in Siberia in their breeding grounds, may actually turn out an above-average numbers of young. We will find out next year…

Further information

For further information about the Swanniversary, also see the following links:

 Related posts:

6 April: Ouse Washes Experience – Do join in!

LogosAn exciting event is coming your way soon: On Sunday 6 April will see the Ouse Washes Experience.

This is a brand new event, which will be held in the heart of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme area.

The Ouse Washes Experience: a sponsored run or cycle ride

T

The Ouse Washes in flood, May 2012. Kite Aerial Photography by Bill Blake Heritage Documentation, All Rights Reserved.

This event is organised by the Ely Hereward Rotary Club, in close co-operation with the OWLP scheme, Cambridgeshire ACRE, Mepal Outdoor Centre, RSPB, Environment Agency, Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridgeshire Police.

The idea is that all participants will either run or cycle along the Ouse Washes between Mepal and Welney, for either 4 or 9.6 miles (6.4 or 15 km), that is from Mepal until the Welches Dam/RSPB Ouse Washes reserve, or until the end in Welney village.

New Picture (11)

See the Ouse Washes close up – all abilities are welcome

Cyclist and runners of all ages and abilities are invited to join! It is not a race, but should be seen as a great opportunity to enjoy the day in a unique landscape and raise money for charity in the process.

It is a unique opportunity to get to see the Ouse Washes area from a different viewpoint. Participants, whether they go on foot or on bicycle, will all leave together and follow the same 9-foot wide track in between the Old Bedford River and the Counter Drain.

Although a public footpath, this is not normally open for other users: special permission has been given by the owners, the Environment Agency, and its tenant, the RSPB, for use by cyclists and for this event.

map

The route: From Mepal to Welches Dam, or to Welney

Further Details

Full details of the event can be found in the following flier: http://rotaryclubely-hereward.org/IMUpload/OWE%20flier%20V.5.pdf   Or download it here: OWE flier V.5

See also the Ely Hereward Rotary Club’s Twitter account (@Owe2014Ely) for the latest news on the event. Or, see this news item which came out last week.

I like the idea – how do I register for the event?

Do come and join us – it is fairly simple – to register, go to the dedicated Ouse Washes Experience Webpage on Eventbrite, or follow the links on the Ely Hereward Rotary Club website, and follow the instructions.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

RSPB Ouse Washes reserve at Welches Dam. Image: Cambridgeshire ACRE

Sponsorship for Magpas

Whether participating as a family, an individual or perhaps as a group of friends or colleagues, the idea is that everyone brings in money for charity through sponsorship.

MAGPAS was chosen as the headline charity: most of the proceeds of this sponsored event will go to MAGPAS, the emergency medical charity with their noticeable orange helicopter (apparently the only one in this colour nationwide!). See here a picture of the helicopter when I joined the Ely Hereward Rotary Club recently to meet the Magpas team at their base at RAF Wyton:

P1000678

The bright orange helicopter from Magpas , with Emma Nick and Keil from Magpas; and Michael and Gary from Ely Hereward Rotary Club

Magpas provides an enhanced air ambulance and emergency response service. What’s special and unique about Magpas is that each Helimedix team is made up of both a specialist doctor and a paramedic, thus being able to start treatment straight away when needed. Even though all doctors and paramedics give their time for free, the costs for the charity are still high, what with the helicopter, a huge range of equipment and extensive training provided to their doctors and paramedics. Magpas receives no Government or National Lottery funding and relies wholly in donations from the public.

Their work is crucial in saving lives across East Anglia and beyond: Since the charity was founded in 1971, Magpas has attended over 60,000 patients. Many people owe their lives to the heroic works of the Magpas staff! Definitely a worthy cause to raise funds for.

Related events on 6 April

The registration of the event will take place at Mepal Outdoor Centre. There will be stalls with information from various organisations, including ourselves and Magpas. Mepal Outdoor Centre will also have a range of trainers in place if people want to make a full day of adventure out of it – why not combine the run or cycle ride by doing some wall climbing, archery or water sports afterwards?

There are also ongoing conversations with the RSPB Ouse Washes reserve and the pub/restaurants, both in Mepal and Welney, to have further add-on events on the day – watch this space for any updates!

Now why not come and join us!