Summer Holiday Fun

Do you have, or know of, any children aged 3 years old or above? Are you already a nervous wreck, seeing the Summer Holidays stretching out in front of you, wondering how are you going to entertain them for more than 6 weeks?!

Never fear, Sutton Ecology Centre has a fun-packed programme of events throughout the summer holidays to reduce your burden, just a  little! And we all know that a good dose of fresh air always tires them out!

kingfisher

Will you spot a kingfisher on the Wandle Wildlife Fun Day?

The fun kicks off with a Wandle Wildlife Fun Day on 1st August.  There will be a trail of hidden pictures and information about the animals you could find along the River Wandle, as well as a chance to get up-close with some of the creatures that live in and along the River, including dragonfly nymphs, water boatmen and moths.  You may even be lucky enough to spot a gorgeous kingfisher!

There’ll be a craft activity and lots of information from the experts to entertain and educate you and the little ones, so why come along and dip your toes in?
This is a drop in activity, so no need to book, just turn up any time between 11am and 2pm.

The cost is £4 per child, 3 years and up.

 

 

bee on flower

A bee, being busy!

You’ll need to book onto the Go Wild for Bees day on 8th August to avoid disappointment.  Your little ones will learn all about why bees are so busy, through playing fun games, tasting honey and making and decorating a bee hotel to take home (plus we’ll throw some free wild flower seeds in too, so you can promote bees at home)!

Only £5 per child, ages 3 years an up. Book here: http://37.188.117.158/suttonecology/

Hazel-Nut-Flower-FairyLastly, come and join in with the Flower Fairies Adventure on either the 14th or 15th August.  Find the fairies with their flowers, plants and trees, listen to fairy stories on the lawn, make fairy gates and gardens and make your own natural flower fairy or elf to take home.  This is also a drop-in activity ,so no need to book, just turn up any time between 11am and 2pm on either day.

Again, only £4 per child, ages 3 and up.

With all of this, plus lots of fun Wildlings Forest School activities such as mallet making and a 3-day camp, you need look no further to make this Summer Holiday a huge success!

For more information and booking, visit our Event page: https://suttonnature.wordpress.com/events/.

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Latest Task Programme – Now Out !

The new task programme is now out

March – June 2017

As the weather starts to show signs of improving, so habitat improvement activities are set to exploit the warmer temperatures and increasing day light hours.

With hundreds of plants, seeds and trees set to grace the lighter conditions at Queen Mary’s Woodland, created over the last twelve months or so, now is a great time to help improve this local nature site.

With a number of  mid week and weekend Task Days planned for the next couple of months come and join fellow SNCV volunteers as they continue to celebrate 30 years of ‘Helping Wildlife on Sutton’s Doorstep’.

warren

Tough decisions : The cost of cuts

Some of you may have seen the post that we shared on Facebook earlier today regarding the funding arrangement between Surrey County Council and Surrey Wildlife Trust. Whilst we have removed the post, as we have been made aware that there were some inaccuracies in the information we shared, the case does raise cause for concern.

Surrey Wildlife Trust announced last week the restructuring of its countryside management team, following budget cuts by Surrey County Council. Government cuts mean the council can no longer afford to pay for its countryside estate and SCC wants it to become self-financing by 2021.

With many local authorities facing unprecedented budget cuts, local councillors are making difficult decisions about where money should be spent. As there are many services which councils have a statutory obligation to provide, cuts and reductions are invariably being felt in services which are not mandatory. Regrettably such cuts are most likely to be felt by silent services which may not have a large number of users but which we probably all enjoy and cherish, either directly or indirectly.

In the case that was highlighted it is clear that Surrey Wildlife Trust is having to take tough decisions about how it continues to manage the natural habitats it looks after, in face of the reduced budget it is receiving.

As wildlife doesn’t respect administrative boundaries what happens in Surrey could have an impact in Sutton or other neighbouring areas. Where Sutton’s nature sites enjoy the benefit of proximity to populations of species in Surrey’s habitat, any changes over the border could have an impact on Sutton’s sites.

As budget cuts have the potential to impact upon areas of everyday life far beyond the frequency of bin collections, the need to know what decisions are being taken is vital. Petitions are one way of being made aware and recording your opinion, but it is important that all the information is considered. There are other ways of finding out about local issues and changes that may be planned. Charities and other interest groups will often highlight things that are expected to impact their area of activity, but councils and other authorities will also have a way of briefing local people as well as enabling them to share views and opinions.

Whilst there may be no way of avoiding the need for cuts to services, engaging with decision makers at an early stage of the process will provide the best chance for the public’s views and opinions to influence the final decisions.

Sutton has not been immune from it’s own budget cuts and for the last few years Sutton Council has been embarking on changes which will shape Sutton’s Future. You may not have given much thought to the services that the Council provides, and the impact of changes to the way they are funded or how the Local Plan may affect the green spaces and places we enjoy.

In order to ensure that the things we cherish and value are given the utmost consideration by those who influence their future we urge you to investigate how to get your opinions known.

Suttons Future Consultation – Sutton’s Future

Draft Local Plan consultation – Sutton 2031

My Sutton online community – Have YOUR say ! My Sutton

 

Job advert for a Biodiversity Education Assistant

Biodiversity Education Assistant

Description

Sutton Nature Conservation Volunteers are looking for an enthusiastic volunteer to help run both formal, and informal, environmental education sessions for children aged 3-18 years at Sutton Ecology Centre as well as other green spaces and nature reserves around the London Borough of Sutton.

This role is suitable for candidates who are looking to improve their career opportunities in environmental education or gain experience of working with children, as well as experienced candidates who are looking for a rewarding long term volunteering opportunity.

The successful candidate will be supporting the Biodiversity Education Officer in all aspects of running the London Borough of Sutton’s Biodiversity Education Service.  This includes bookings, promotion and resource preparation and delivery of education sessions.  Full training will be provided.

We are looking to fill this post with someone who can commit to two days a week starting in February/March 2017 until end August 2017.  However, if you are only able to commit to one day, please do still apply.

Main duties and tasks:

  • Assisting the Education Officer with planning, preparation and running holiday activities for children, school sessions and weekend events.
  • Full on the job training provided to be able to teach and lead education sessions.
  • Helping to supervise and support other volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds, including those with special needs.
  • Development of our education programmes and educational resources.
  • Occasional creative projects to get involved in, depending on special interests or skills & talents.
  • Assisting with school and event bookings and other administration and general office-based tasks.

Hours required:

  • The candidate will be asked to commit to two days per week, Monday and Tuesday from February/March 2017 through to end August 2017.
  • Minimum hours on days of volunteering 9am to 3pm.

Person Specification

  • Previous experience of working with children/ young people & volunteers
  • Reliable with good time keeping skills
  • Excellent interpersonal & communication skills
  • Good IT skills, and a working knowledge of Microsoft Office
  • Willing to work outdoors in all weathers and sometimes get mucky!
  • Interest in the environment/education/nature conservation
  • Teaching qualification (desirable)
  • Experience of working with whole class KS1 or KS2 pupils (desirable)

Why volunteer with us:

  • Free in-house training and access to free workshops/talks/events
  • Gain proven experience in Environmental Education
  • Full on the job training & support provided
  • Travel expenses provided
  • Learn new skills and meet new people

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Sutton Nature Conservation Volunteers are the main nature conservation organisation operating within Sutton.  For background, visit www.sncv.org.uk.

Biodiversity Education Service is part of the London Borough of Sutton’s Biodiversity Team.  During term time we provide formal education sessions to schools at Sutton Ecology Centre and other nature reserves around the Borough as well as outreach to schools. During school holidays, we provide informal education to children and families through fun and innovative holiday activities both at Sutton Ecology Centre and other nature reserves and green spaces. At other times during the year we provide weekend events such as fairs and open days to promote biodiversity within the borough.  Our aim is that, through education, we will help raise awareness of Sutton’s biodiversity, and therefore ensure its preservation in the future. Visit www.sutton.gov.uk/biodiversity or find us on facebook.

TO APPLY

Please send your C.V. and a personal statement to biodiversity@sutton.gov.uk by end Sunday 12th February 2017, giving clear examples of how you meet the person specification.

Interviews: Tuesday 21st February

Anticipated start date: as soon after interview as possible.

Only candidates who are able to commit for 6 or more months need apply. Unfortunately, no living costs or accommodation can be financed through the project so applicants must be able to self-fund or commute to Carshalton. Please note applicants will be required to undergo a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check.

For an informal chat, please contact Mary Buckton (Biodiversity Education Officer) on 020 8770 5820 or email mary.buckton@sutton.gov.uk.  If you prefer, you can write to us at: Biodiversity Team, 24 Denmark Road, Carshalton, Surrey, SM5 2JG

 

 

Latest Task Programme – Out Now

The new task programme is now out: November 16 – February 17

With the addition of colour coding it hasn’t been easier to see what regular SNCV volunteers and Sutton’s Biodiversity Team will be getting up to and what seasonal nature events are on offer.

As the winter approaches our attention turns to the control of trees and scrub as well as the seasonal maintenance of ponds and wetlands around the borough. And with more work planned to continue the improvements at Queen Mary’s Woodland, there are plenty of opportunities to ‘Help Wildlife on Sutton’s Doorstep’.

adam-sec-pond

A summer pick of ragwort

What a magical day.

I could never have imagined that tugging up ragwort could be such a wonderful experience.

Let me start by explaining I am a volunteer for Sutton Nature Conservation and I am part of a team that assists with habitat management work on a number of wildlife sites in the London borough of Sutton.

I volunteer on a Thursday and have turned my hand to many tasks since I started volunteering a year or so ago, such as raking, cutting down trees, pruning hedgerows, coppicing and pulling weeds! But nothing has compared to the lovely day I had pulling ragwort.

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Roundshaw Downs

The team’s task for the day was to remove ragwort on Roundshaw Downs, Sutton’s largest wildlife site. Ragwort is a biennial plant which is common in grazing paddocks and areas of unimproved pasture. Although a number of myths circulate about ragwort, the chemicals it contains can lead to liver damage if consumed. As Roundshaw Downs, is grazed, ragwort is pulled annually to minimise the risks associate with eating the living plant or dried pieces, which may find their way into hay that is cut as part of site management.

Imagine walking through a meadow full of beautiful wild flowers – names I have been told many times, but still cannot remember – and seeing a glorious array of colours. Yellow, white, blue, pink. The sun was shining and I was watching the butterflies, blue, brown, golden (again an identification memory loss) fluttering from flower to flower resting for a moment to enjoy the heat of the sun.  Imagine too hearing the bees as they work their magic collecting the pollen.

I was lost in the beauty of the meadow. I could have been Shirley Valentine (without the sand, sea and glass of wine) or Julie Andrews in the sound of music (without the singing, thank goodness). For me it was a magical experience, completely lost in my thoughts and day dreams, only realizing, from time to time, that I need to keep up with the rest of the team to complete the task in hand!

What a wonderful day – one of the best.

For more information about ragwort visit – http://www.ragwort.org.uk