Good things just keep happening..... / by Jonathan Thomson

About a year ago Jack Sanford starting doing the highest level (Conserver) John Muir Award, at UWNR. In many respects, this is an apprenticeship with a small A. Over this time he has achieved so much - Jack has learnt about the ecology at UWNR and completed practical environmental management tasks – a few examples:

  • Cleared trees from the largest bramble patch to enable more sunlight penetration and grow butterfly feeding habitat

  • Felled and cleared large trees creating a sunny south-facing bug glade with shelter-belts to the north, west and east

  • Brought in Dormouse test tubes - cleaned and sorted, ready for repair.

  • Cleared south-facing adder glades

  • Completed repair of all Dormice test tubes and put these out into the landscape

  • Placed slate & stone slabs into the bug-glade. Prepared the ground by cutting turfs and exposing earth

  • Removed large cut logs from the Barn Owl field to enable grasses to grow and support the field vole population

  • Checked moth traps and identified moths trapped overnight  

Part of the John Muir Award stipulates that Jack act as an advocate. In sum, he has to communicate to others what he has learnt and what he has done at UWNR. To achieve this, Jack guides visitors who come to UWNR. Last week Peter Gulliver visited UWNR – Peter is a very experienced & knowledgeable local naturalist who specializes in Bat ecology. After his visit and guided talk, Peter emailed this feedback to me: 

Clearly Jack is passionate about all of the achievements and I was surprised at his depth of knowledge. He described so many aspects from the breeding and hibernation cycles of the lake, the grass snakes and the mice and vole populations. His understanding of the various methods of coppicing and pollarding associated with the needs of the crowded Oaks demonstrates a broad breadth of knowledge. Then the Bees, the Butterfly areas, the Owls and the Badgers. He was able to confidently answer all of my questions with sound responses and expand when necessary. 
He is a mature young man with acomprehensive knowledge of UWNR & understands the intricacies of managing a Nature Reserve. It was a pleasure to have him guide my tour. 


 And the other bit of good news….the Barn Owls have started to use the new Barn Owl barn – another WOW! 

This image shows both Barn Owl pooh and a downy feather. I found about 6 other chalky, white poohs and downy feathers. So 3 months after completing the new barn, it is being used as it should – a valuable winter hunting habitat for the resident Barn Owls.  ,