Hedgehogs Hard At Work (Saturday)
Over the weekend of 19-20 October, we had a large conservation event at Fleet Pond, with over 30 enthusiastic volunteers participating! They were all connected (either past or present) with Southampton University and comprised two teams:
- Southampton University Conservation Volunteers.
FPS and Hart Countryside Services planned and managed the overall event and also took part.
Colin Gray, Chairman of FPS, writes:
“On the Fugelmere Island, with Hart Ranger Rachel Jones, was the team called Hedgehogs. These are all graduates of Southampton University. All are now qualified and many work professionally in the field of environment education and training.
They started the Southampton University Conservation Volunteers visits to Fleet Pond while still at University back in 1998. It was because of their love of Fleet Pond mud that we nicknamed them the Mudlarks (their former name).
Working on Grasmere Marsh (near Chestnut Grove), with Colin Gray of FPS, was the team of students at Southampton University who currently form Southampton University Conservation Volunteers. This was the first time that this group had visited the pond and, because access by train is very convenient for them, we are likely to see them again.
Both groups did a grand job and are a very valuable contribution to volunteer activity at Fleet Pond.”
Hedgehogs In A Boat – Can You Spot Them? (Saturday)
Hedgehogs Taking A Break (Saturday)
Pete Newbold, of the visiting Hedgehogs, writes:
“A bright sunny Saturday in October saw the return of the Hedgehogs (the graduated Southampton University conservation volunteers) to Fleet Pond for their annual work party.
After meeting at the workshop and having the normal safety talks, we headed out in the two boats over to Fugelmere island. Many of the volunteers had been out to Fugelmere 6 years ago so it was interesting to see how the alder and willow had recolonised the island.
Arriving At The Island
After getting the 12 of us over to the island it did not take long to get a fire going and to clear a nice large area around the fire. The fire plays an integral part of our work as it provides us a means to cook the jacket potatoes and roast marshmallows at the end of the day!
We cleared a large area on the Saturday and our hopes were high to finish the island completely on the Sunday. On the Sunday morning the weather wasn’t as bad as had been forecasted with only a couple of short showers – nothing to put us off our stride. Just after lunch though the thunderstorms arrived and we had some very drowned looking volunteers scurrying around the island trying to cut things down and keep the fire fed.
Unfortunately, A Rather Soggy Sunday
To our credit we kept going in the deluge until we came to a group decision that the rain wasn’t going to stop and although it wasn’t impacting the fire we were all soaked to the skin. So we packed up and turned in the fire, to head back across the lake to the depot.
After clearing up all the equipment and getting everything back to the mainland, and letting the volunteers dry out and change clothing, the thunderstorms passed and we were left with a nice sunny drive back to our respective homes spread out across the country. We are all looking forward to returning next year when obviously it will be a lot drier and we can carry on our effective maintenance of the Fleet Ponds islands.”
FPS and Hart Countryside Services are very grateful for all the hard work carried out by the two teams and we hope to see them at the Pond again.