Fleet Pond Society Needs You!

September 28, 2017

We’re starting the search for a new Chairman for our Society. Are you interested?

The job would probably suit someone recently retired or even partially retired. Essentially you would chair our small, but dynamic executive committee. You would represent us at meetings with Hart Countryside Service and any other meetings with other stakeholders. You would be the face of the Pond Society and you’d have lots of experience from the committee, the Rangers and others to call upon.

You can find out all you need to know about the Pond here.

If you’re interested then contact Colin, our current Chairman, at: chairman@fleetpond.org.uk

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Sunday Volunteer Events 2017-18

September 4, 2017

Now that autumn is approaching, you may be thinking of starting some new activities and getting some fresh air and exercise at the same time? If so, why not consider joining us on our Sunday volunteering events at Fleet Pond?

We’re a very friendly bunch and there’s even free coffee/tea/chocolate and munchies at a mid-morning break 🙂 Sometimes there are even hot potatoes as a special treat!

Typically events start at c 9:30 and last to c 12:30. No skills or prior knowledge is required and you’ll also be making a great contribution to the local environment. If interested, please contact the Hart Rangers as described in the poster above.

Here are the details of the tasks up to the end of the year (see map below for locations):

  • September 10th: Fugelmere Marsh – digging out Alder saplings/scrub. No bonfire.
  • October 8th: Coldstream Marsh – scrub bash willow/alder scrub with a bonfire.
  • November 5th: Dry Heath – scrub clearance with a bonfire
  • December 10th: Wood Lane Heath – expand wildlife corridor between the heath and Bog Myrtle Glade with a bonfire

Map of Fleet Pond

Here are some photos from previous events:

The mid-morning break and time for a chat and catchup

Hot potatoes are sometimes a special treat

 


‘Volunteer of the Year’ Award for Colin Gray

August 10, 2017

Paul Todd of Green Flag with Colin Gray of FPS

There was a big surprise for Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society (FPS), at the recent Elvetham Heath Countryside Day. He was presented with the Green Flag Volunteer of the Year Award by Paul Todd, Scheme Manager of the Green Flag Award (see above).

This award recognises the dedication shown by volunteers working alongside professionals in improving parks and green spaces across the UK. Apparently he won it by a mile! His leadership of the project to create the new Avondale Pond system in Brookly Wood (at Fleet Pond) was cited by Hart Countryside Services as being typical of the dedication Colin has shown. This is to balance out any unexpected overflows from the Thames Water pumping station.

Group photo featuring Green Flag, FPS and Hart Countryside Services

Colin was for once speechless when he was called forward to accept the award. However Paul Todd said “Colin is a shining example to all volunteers who are involved with creating and maintaining green spaces for the public, particularly those that qualify for a Green Flag Award.”

Fleet Pond nature reserve has yet again been awarded the Green Flag Award for 2017 along with the one at Elvetham Heath and Hartley Wintney Central Commons which has also has achieved green heritage accreditation for the first time. Colin did have something to say about this! “Hart Countryside Services deserve major congratulations on gaining Green Flags for these wonderful sites.”

You can read about Green Flag Awards here.

“The Green Flag Award® scheme recognises and rewards well managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.”


Moths, An Unusual Pet

June 22, 2017

The Elephant Hawk Moth (from Wikipedia)

Peter Martin, President of Fleet Pond Society, writes:

“Most people would regard butterflies as beautiful creatures, but some have an aversion to moths, either because they dislike the fluttering around nearby light sources or due to the holes created in their clothing by clothes-moth caterpillars. It may, therefore, surprise you to learn that one of my favourite pets has been a moth caterpillar.

The Elephant Hawk Moth (see above) lays its ‘whitish-green’ eggs on Willow Herb in June and I was lucky enough to find one of the resulting fully-grown caterpillars crawling across the earth one August looking for somewhere to pupate. They normally do this just below the level of the soil and, to make sure that my caterpillar would not be affected by anything within a sample that I scooped up, I sterilised a small amount before putting it into a container with the caterpillar. As expected, it burrowed into the earth and, through the glass I could see when it had pupated.

If you look at an Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar (see below), you will probably think that it is one of the ugliest of creatures, although very aptly named. I had to wait patiently until the following June for the moth to emerge from the chrysalis, but what a beautiful sight was in store for me. The difference between the moth and the caterpillar was like “beauty and the beast”.

The Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar (from Wikipedia)

Having run a moth trap during some summer nights, I have had the opportunity to see that all moths are not as dowdy as some people would think.   Before letting them go, there is a chance to look at them closely and even the wings of the tiniest moths often have really beautiful colour patterns when seen through a magnifying glass or microscope.”

Ed. Related articles by Peter Martin that may also be of interest include:


FPS Photographic Competition Results for 2016

March 26, 2017

A poster of the winning photographs for the 2016 FPS competition

The results of the 2016 FPS Photographic Competition were announced at the FPS AGM held in February. The theme for 2016 (‘Seasons’) captured people’s imagination and there was an impressive number of entries.

Our judge, Kevin Whibley of ‘Captured Moment’ photographic studio in Fleet was extremely thorough in making his selection. He stated that: ‘ Just as every person who takes a photograph sees something different in a scene, every judge looks for something different in a photograph.’

As well as looking for photographs that reflected the ‘Seasons’ theme, Kevin was looking for sharp focus, well framed pictures with good composition, colour and atmosphere.

He projected all the photographs onto a big screen and narrowed the number down to 41. He then printed these and spread them out on a big table to make his final selection. You can read Kevin’s illuminating comment on each photograph here.

The winning photos from previous competitions can be viewed at the FPS web site (see under the Photography tab).

Also, see the FPS Flickr Group for additional inspiration and interest!

Here’s a larger version of the impressive winning image from Rachel Jones:

 

 


FPS Swans Glide Round The Course

March 24, 2017

James Wicks, Lauren Saxby, Dan Franklin and Immie Sutherland at the 2017 Fleet Half Marathon

We’re glad to announce that the four runners (see above) that took on the challenge of raising funds for Fleet Pond Society by participating in the 2017 Fleet Half Marathon successfully completed the course! Congratulations to them all as well as the many supporters that turned up on the day to cheer them on.

Two FPS swans, Immie and Lauren, gliding round the course (photo from Hampshire News)

You can read more about them and their motivation and preparation for the race here. There’s still time to contribute and all support is greatly appreciated.

The charity sites are:

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/danielfranklin

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/laurensaxby

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/imogensutherland1

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/jameswicks


FPS Volunteer of the Year 2016 – Michael Thompson

March 23, 2017

michael-t-and-counciller-parker-s

Michael Thompson (right) with Councillor Stephen Parker

Cathy Holden writes:

The Chairman’s Award was set up by Councillor Sharyn Wheale, during her time as Hart Council Chairman in 2009. The aim is to recognise the voluntary contribution made over the preceding year to Fleet Pond or to the Society. The Fleet Pond Society Executive Committee is set the task of choosing a deserving volunteer. The Society always tries to select someone whose work behind the scenes is not clearly visible or has not been fully recognised.

The choice for Volunteer of the Year 2016 is someone who has given the Society dedicated support for several years at both the monthly conservation management tasks and at the regular Friday tasks. He is known as the one man who can start a bonfire in all weathers to dispose of all the cut material from a work session. His dedication extends to staying with a fire until it has been safely extinguished while the other volunteers return tools and equipment to the workshop.

He has donated his annual leave time to help with big construction projects like the Lions View platform on the eastern side of the pond and the pond dipping platforms at The Flash pool and Hemelite Bay. This volunteer has led groups of visiting school and young peoples’ groups for educational visits, including pond dipping, bug hunting and natural world experiences.

Justly deserving recognition as the Volunteer of the Year is Michael Thompson.