This February and March the Farmland Ecology Unit collected 1,200 soil samples as part of the healthy soil, healthy food, and healthy people (H3) project. H3 is part of a large interdisciplinary project aiming to transform UK food systems by putting the health of people and the environment at the forefront of UK food production.
The Owl Box Initiative project carries out a range of monitoring activities to understand more about local barn owl populations and their use of habitat.
According to the Curlew Recovery Partnership, around two thirds of all curlew pairs breeding in the English lowlands occupy agricultural grassland habitats affected by seasonal grass-cutting. Clearly, this presents a major hazard to ground-nesting birds, with vulnerable nests and chicks hiding in hay and silage crops exposed to the whirring blades of mechanical mowers.
Solitary bees are often overlooked in the world of bees, with bumblebees and honeybees being much more familiar to most people. In fact, 90% of the UK’s bee species are actually solitary bees, with around 250 solitary bee species, only 24 bumblebee species, and just one honeybee species.
The GWCT is calling for volunteers to count ‘roding’ woodcock this spring. Potential surveyors are required to conduct two to four dusk surveys between now and 1 July, then enter their count data online.
Bird-ringing still presents a very valuable tool for ornithologists, particularly for the study of survival and population dynamics. The GWCT’s Wetland research team runs two long-term woodcock ringing studies, one in Hampshire and one in Cornwall, where we ring a sample of woodcock each winter and record re-encounters with ringed individuals over subsequent years.
As a conversation organisation, it’s easy focus on our own successes, whether its policy changes, research breakthroughs and backbreaking fieldwork seasons that keep our vital datasets running. What makes us even more excited is when people put that work into practice.
Barn owls in Sparsholt near Winchester can look forward to snug new homes in which to raise their owlets, as a result of the efforts of a group of students and the GWCT.
With the UK government setting an ambitious target of creating 30,000 hectares of new woodland every year by 2025 (involving a trebling of planting rates in England), there is will be an unavoidable impact on the countryside.
As food consumers we are bombarded by meal deals (for our lunchtime sandwich or for that special 3 course evening meal) and multi-buy deals (e.g. BOGOFs or 3 for £5 etc). The focus on the cost of sustaining ourselves is very real given recent food price inflation – and for many a costly monthly outgoing.