FPS, Rio and Fleet Carnival 2016

July 24, 2016

Carnival 2016 6

A good shot of the FPS Rio float travelling along Fleet Road (click to enlarge)

David Pottinger writes:

Fleet Pond Society (FPS) is well-known for the activities it carries out at the Pond and major projects include the Lions’ View platform and the new pond dipping jetty.

However FPS interacts with the local community in many other ways, including giving talks and presentations to increase awareness, and also participating in the famous Fleet Carnival.

Each year ideas are discussed by the FPS Committee and a team and approach are chosen. Then all the hard work starts in actually bringing the ideas to life!

From the Carnival web site:

This years Carnival theme is Rio.

The ideas for floats are endless, you can choose to base your entry on the Olympics as a whole, or one of the 42 sports that will be featured or the Rio Carnival.  The choice is yours!

Here are some photos from the FPS entry (special thanks to Terry Austin and Mandy Saxby for the float design and costumes respectively):

Carnival 2016 2s

Some of the FPS team at the start of the procession

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Introducing the very athletic Meercat members of the team…

Carnival 2016 3

Michelle Salter, FPS Secretary, just about visible under the hat!

Carnival 2016 8s

Another shot of the colourful FPS float

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FPS Chairman, Colin Gray, in South American mode!

 


The Big Butterfly Count 2016

July 16, 2016

ButterflyPoster2016

From the Big Butterfly Count web site:

“The big butterfly count is a nationwide survey aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment. It was launched in 2010 and has rapidly become the world’s biggest survey of butterflies. Over 52,000 people took part in 2015, counting over 580,000 individual butterflies and day-flying moths across the UK (see the 2015 results).  

Join in with big butterfly count 2016 from 15 July – 7 August.

Why count butterflies?

Butterflies react very quickly to change in their environment which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators. Butterfly declines are an early warning for other wildlife losses.

That’s why counting butterflies can be described as taking the pulse of nature.

The count will also assist us in identifying trends in species that will help us plan how to protect butterflies from extinction, as well as understand the effect of climate change on wildlife.

How to take part

Simply count butterflies for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather during the big butterfly count. We have chosen this time of year because most butterflies are at the adult stage of their lifecycle, so more likely to be seen. Records are welcome from anywhere: from parks, school grounds and gardens, to fields and forests.”

Why not give it a go?

Here are some interesting and informative articles on butterflies that can be seen at Fleet Pond:


The Birth of the New Pond Dipping Platform

July 11, 2016

Holly and Colin

Holly Reeves (TAG Farnborough) and Colin Gray (FPS)

Cathy Holden writes:

The brand new dipping platform at Fleet Pond’s Hemelite Bay proved to be one of the highlights of the recent Wildlife Day event. From its official opening it was packed with families the whole day.

The Fleet Pond Society ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ team of volunteers carried out the construction led by Terry Austin, Vice Chairman of Fleet Pond Society (FPS).

Terry said: ‘This was not an easy task but a very satisfying one as it was built to commemorate forty years of volunteering at the Pond. The frame of the old jetty proved very difficult to remove having sunk deep into the mud and involved us spending a lot of time in our waders, chest deep in the water.’

A grant organised through the Rushmoor Environment Fund, from the Farnborough Airport Community Environment Fund enabled the Society to buy the necessary materials and have the jetty framework constructed. From their site:

For every take-off or landing at Farnborough airport, the community environmental fund receives money to help support local projects. The airport pays a levy of £2 for every take-off or landing or £5 if the aircraft is a Boeing business jet or an Airbus A310 corporate jet. This money goes into the community environmental fund, which we manage.

The Society were delighted to welcome Holly Reeves, the Environment Management Assistant for TAG Farnborough Airport to cut the swan decorated tape and declare the jetty open (see pictures above and below).

Holly and Colin 2

Colin Gray, Chairman of FPS, said: ‘We are very grateful to Rushmoor Environment Fund for sponsoring this project. It is a fitting memorial to the Society’s 40th year.’

Wildlife Day Platform 2016

Adults and children enjoying the new platform on Wildlife Day 2016

Ed. Here’s a series of photos that gives an idea of all the hard work and planning that went into constructing the new jetty. It also provides an impressive example of how FPS provides substantial and long lasting benefits to visitors to Fleet Pond.

We are a registered charity and your financial support would be greatly appreciated. If you would like to contribute you can make an online donation (see tab above) or you can join the Society to also receive a very attractive and informative newsletter (see tab above).

We hope you enjoy the new jetty in your walks around the Pond!

2016-05-13_jetty 02s

Planning the construction on the ground

2016-05-15_jetty 05s

Getting the foundations right

2016-05-19_jetty 07s

Putting in the planking

2016-05-30_jetty 09s

The impressive finished product


Theft From Vehicles – Fleet Pond

July 1, 2016

Fleet Neighbourhood Policing Team issued this message on 30/06/2016:

Dear Residents,

We have had two reports today (30th June) of separate vehicles being broken into in the car park at Fleet Pond. In one incident, a window has been smashed and glove box searched, and in another the vehicle doors have been opened and a bag taken from the back seat.

Since this occurring Police have patrolled the area this afternoon and found several vehicles with windows down and personal stereos on show, and another with the keys left in the ignition.

Please read our advice below which can help deter and prevent this type of crime occurring:

  • When leaving your vehicle, close all windows and lock your car.
  • Check the vehicle is locked by trying the handles.
  • Park your car in an attended car park.
  • Look for public car parks approved by the Park Mark scheme.
  • When parking at home, use your garage. If you don’t have a garage, park in a well-lit area.
  • Don’t leave anything on display in your vehicle.
  • Take all your personal possessions with you.
  • Remove sat nav holders and visible sat nav ring marks from windscreens.
  • Leave the glove box open to show there’s nothing inside.
  • Fit an alarm or immobiliser to your car.
  • Do not store your car’s documents in the car.
  • Secure your wheels using locking wheel nuts.

If anyone has any information which could assist with our investigations, they are encouraged to call Police on 101, quoting Police reference 44160243474.

Thank you

Fleet Neighbourhood Policing Team

Message sent by
Darren Guy (Police, PCSO, Hart District)


What a Difference a Day Makes – The Water Blitz

June 25, 2016

water blitz 2016 01 water blitz 2016 02 water blitz 2016 03 water blitz 2016 04

Terry Austin of FPS taking and testing water samples at Fleet Pond

John Sutton, who previously worked for the EA (and is now a professional photographer), writes:

“Last year on 14th September, Wild Oxfordshire, the Freshwater Habitats Trust and Thames Water, amongst others launched what was probably the first ‘WaterBlitz’ across the River Thames catchment. The intention was to collect as many nitrate and phosphate measurements within a 24 hour period with the help of citizen scientists.

In all, 645 measurements were sampled by individual members of the public, school and community groups and experts alike! In keeping with citizen science this was far more than any single scientist or team of scientists could collect in a day. Find out more about the data through the FreshWater Watch Water Hub.

The benefit of collecting this amount of data within a 24 hour period is that you get a temporally comparable result whether you are on a small tributary of the Lea or on the Thames at Lechlade. At the same time, water quality differences between sites are less likely to represent seasonal or climatic changes that occur throughout the year.

Importantly, they are more likely to highlight underlying issues such as pollution sources. Aside from contributing to the wider FreshWater Watch initiative, data collected in this manner directly compliments regular monitoring carried out by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and could help elucidate particularly problematic still and flowing waters (taken from Dr Ian Thornhill’s blog, see here).

Members of Fleet Pond Society (FPS) took part in the April 2016 Water Blitz, sampling a series of waterbodies associated with Fleet Pond. The survey will be repeated in October 2016. See the results in the table below:

Water Blitz Fleet Pond

Click to enlarge (* measured in parts per million)

These values are expected to vary throughout the year as a result of weather patterns and changes in land use.

What are nitrates and why are they important?

Nitrate (NO3) is a form of nitrogen that is highly soluble in water. It is used in fertilisers and can move readily with surface runoff into rivers. Studies indicate that more than half of the nitrate fertilisers applied to fields can end up accumulating in the soil or running off into surface water and ground water. Other sources of excess nitrates can be traced to human wastes and industrial pollution.

Algae and other plants use nitrates as a source of food and elevated concentrations can create conditions that make it difficult for aquatic fauna, including fish and invertebrates, to survive. This occurs when large amounts of algae cause extreme fluctuations in dissolved oxygen. Photosynthesis by algae and other plants can generate oxygen during the day. However, at night, dissolved oxygen may decrease to dangerously low levels as a result of oxygen consuming bacteria feeding on dead or decaying algae and other plants.

Why is phosphate important?

Phosphates (PO4) can enter aquatic environments from the natural weathering of rocks, from the decomposition of plants, or from human activity such as fertilizer runoff and improperly treated waste-water. Phosphorus is an essential element for plant life, but in high concentrations favours the excessive growth of algae, with negative impacts on the fish and the health of our rivers and lakes.

The input of phosphorus from sewage treatment works to rivers is relatively constant through the year while agricultural inputs are much more closely linked to rainfall events and more seasonal. Efforts to reduce phosphorus coming from wastewater-treatment facilities and the use of phosphorus detergents has led to reductions in phosphate concentrations in European waterbodies, but 45% of rivers in England fail the EU Water Framework Directive for phosphorus standards.”

Ed. Many thanks to John for setting up the project and for providing the illuminating article. You can see his current work here (including some nature photography).

For completeness, here’s a nice video on the Water Blitz project showing how children can get involved as part of citizen science:

 


Wates Developments Supports Fleet Pond

June 19, 2016

Wates Community Day 2016 s

Members of the Wates Developments team plus Hart Rangers, together with the product of their efforts!

Emma Gruenbaum, Land & Planning Manager at Wates Developments, writes:

“As part of Wates Group’s annual community day, a 19 strong team from Wates Developments has spent the day clearing unwanted saplings and weeds from an area of heathland at Fleet Pond.

The 141 acre nature reserve is owned by Hart District Council and is managed in partnership between Hart Countryside Service and Fleet Pond Society, a registered charity. In addition to the full day of weeding, the charity will also benefit from a £500 donation made by Wates.

The community day is an integral part of Wates Groups annual charity work and a key fixture in the company’s diary since 2008. Wates Giving is a charitable programme run and funded by the Wates Family Enterprise Trust, set up by the family with the aim of strengthening the role business has to play in society, focused on making a real difference to the communities in which we live, work and build.

Since 2008, Wates Giving has invested over £8m in local initiatives through five themes: Education; Employment and Training; Social Enterprise; Sustainability; and Community Building. Wates Group has twice won the Queen’s Enterprise Award and remains the only construction company to have won.”

Fleet Pond Society is very grateful to Wates Developments for providing the large volunteer team as well as the very generous donation.


Discover Fleet Pond Nature Reserve

June 17, 2016

Board 3 Station map

Click to enlarge

You can find more information on the different walks you can take around the Pond here.


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