Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Theft leaves wildlife charity short for winter

Thieves have left a local wildlife charity struggling with a hole in their roof and a deeper hole in their pockets after they struck at one of its nature reserves.
Staff at Devon Wildlife Trust’s Meeth Quarry nature reserve, near Hatherleigh, arrived at work last week to find that thieves had smashed their way through the roof of their workshop and then proceeded to loot its contents.
The burglars stole a quad bike belonging to the charity along with three chainsaws and other equipment. They then escaped using the quad bike, driving it along the Tarka Trail, which runs through the reserve, to Petrockstowe.
In all Devon Wildlife Trust estimates that around £7,000 of equipment was taken, while the cost of repairing the roof of its building could run to many thousands of pounds.
Speaking for the charity which cares for 50 nature reserves in Devon, Stuart Hodgkiss said:
“It was an upsetting day for our staff. In the short term the lengthy clean-up and repair operation has been disruptive taking them away from their work for wildlife. 
However, more troubling is the longer term theft of equipment. Our nature reserves are entering their busiest period, when vital autumn and winter works are scheduled. The loss of a quad bike and chainsaws means that this work will suffer both at Meeth Quarry and at the other North Devon reserves staff cover.”
Meeth Quarry was once a massive clay extraction quarry with open pits and even its own railway. But production at the quarry ceased in the 1990s. In 2012 its 150 hectares were made a nature haven by Devon Wildlife Trust. In the years since it has become a popular local place to visit by people eager to explore its network of paths and cycle tracks. The reserve is also home to some special wildlife including species such as the rare wood white butterfly, strawberry spider and hundreds of migrating birds.   
Anyone with information on the theft which took place on the night of Wednesday 12  
September should contact the police by calling 101 quo ting crime reference number CR084233/18.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

New film shows off city's 'wild' children

A new film is being launched this week which features the success of a local charity in its efforts to get Exeter’s school children out of the classroom and into a very different, wilder place to learn.
‘Wildlife Champions’ is a short film, but in its five minutes it packs a lot in. It features children, teachers, parents and classroom assistants from the city who have all been helped by Devon Wildlife Trust to take their learning beyond the confines of the classroom and into the great outdoors.
The film explores the work the charity has done since 2016 with over 5,000 children in 26 of the city’s schools. It follows Devon Wildlife Trust’s Emily Bacon and Paul Martin as they inspire a generation of Exeter pupils through school assemblies, wildlife gardening sessions, outdoor craft activities, lessons in wildlife exploration and  all round fun. The project has been generously supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.   
The film shows the positive difference being made to local wildlife. However its main focus is the transforming influence wildlife and ‘wildness’ has had on the children and adults involved in the project. This story is told through a series of uplifting interviews with the people who have taken part.
Devon Wildlife Trust’s Paul Martin, said:
“Classrooms are great, but all children come alive outdoors. The Wildlife Champions project is about showing children and teachers that there is another way to learn. We have loved introducing this wilder, outdoor element into tbhe lives of the schoomls we’ve worked with and I hope this comes across in the film.”
Sharran Singh, classroom assistant at Stoke Hill Infant School, Exeter, said: 
“I work with children who don’t have English as their first language and that have never had much outdoor learning. [through the Wildlife Champions project] They’ve come out of themselves. That’s the part I love the most. Devon Wildlife Trust have just brought a whole world alive for them, it’s just been amazing.”
Gary Speiss, Deputy Science Lead at Isca Academy, Exeter said:
“I found a woodland area at the back of the school. It was overgrown and unused. As a science teacher I wanted to use it as a resource for our students. I needed help so I contacted Devon Wildlife Trust and they encouraged me to join Wildlife Champions. I recruited a team of students and over the course of a year we opened up a woodland area, established a nature trail, we also established wildlife habitats. As the time has gone on the students have become increasingly independent, they are starting to make their own decisions and making progress, clearing paths, picking up litter. Week on week we’re making progress.”
Sarah Mackay, Headteacher at Stoke Hill Infants School, said:
“They [Devon Wildlife Trust] have been amazing, absolutely inspirational. They’ve come in to support the curriculum and what started as a small partnership has really grown and grown. I’ve noticed a huge difference in children’s attitudes, behaviour and learning, and the children’s sheer enjoyment at coming to school. We were described as a bit ‘outdoorsy’ once and I thought that was one of the biggbest compliments we’ve had about our school!”  
Earlier this year it was announced that Wildlife Champions has received a further two years of support from Players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. This good news means that the project will continue to inspire, bringing wildlife and wild places into the lives of hundreds of Exeter’s school children until 2020.
To watch the Wildlife Champions film go to or search on YouTube under Wildlife Champions Exeter

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Changing the ring TONE of the iconic RED telephone box

Ringing the changes for the iconic RED telephone box aka Kiosk No 2 and K6 are as British as cream teas and the royal family. Now in decline due to mobile phones they are being converted to house defibrillators and to charge those mobile phones which is great but do you think changing the ring TONE is a step too far! 

Shot of the recently painted box at Horns Cross between #bideford and #clovelly on the A39. If you know if this one contains a defibrillator or mobile phone charger leave a comment.

Photo copyright Pat Adams.North Devon Focus (All Rights Reserved)
Photo copyright Pat Adams.North Devon Focus (All Rights Reserved)