Since our Winter 2012 publication, the Wild About Ponds project has been formally closed and the residual Management Plans published. So, content of this newsletter has now reverted to recording core activities of the DCPWA volunteers, as we currently have no grant work open.
The final DCPWA meeting of 2012 agreed the following programme of events for this year:
Most of January 2013 was spent lobbying Derby City Councillors to retain all or part of the £60,000 budget assigned to Wild Derby. The Council's proposals at the end of 2012 reflected that ALL of the budget would be cut, so DCPWA and the Friends Groups set about the lobbying task, which was well supported by both Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. However, since the last budget review, Labour had taken a majority position in the Council and were under severe pressures to cut spending.
Numerous public and private meetings were held (we estimate that Maggie Cooper-our Secretary attended at least five meetings) and whilst it was not possible to retain all of the budget and the Wild Derby Project Officer (Beverley Rhodes), we were successful in getting £10,000 re-instated. This will at least cover the provision of Indemnity Insurance premiums, essential if we are to undertake practical work on Derby City Council owned sites. The new budget also covers a number of Conservation Training Days to be given by TCV.
The Friends of Chaddesden Wood hold monthly task events on the Local Nature Reserve, undertaking a variety of tasks dictated by the Management Plan. The February session was greeted by the discovery that the dead hedge around the main pond, constructed by TCV last year under the Wild About Ponds project, had been vandalised. Undeterred by the damage, the
group set about repairing it back to its former glory. A second attempt to remove some of the upper hedging layers has now been thwarted by the application of metal wire restraints.
Ian Sanders is our new Pond Warden for the three new ponds recently dug on the school site. Two of these ponds were the beneficiaries of sodium bentonite liners at the end of 2012, courtesy of our Wild About Ponds project. Frogspawn has been reported in one of the ponds.
Pond 1 (bentonite lined)
Pond 3 (with frogspawn)
A Consultant Ecologist from EMEC Ecology, based in Nottingham, contacted DCPWA on 14th March 2013 to request pond details as a forerunner to undertaking pond surveys in the area bordering Station Road in Mickleover, between Onslow Road and Radbourne Lane.
The DCPWA reply reflected that it would include the ponds at Starflower Way and on the Mickleover Meadows LNR, together with a number of other private ponds and a few outside the city boundary. Much of the information was already on our web site. EMEC Ecology have agreed to pass on their survey information to DCPWA once completed.
The poor old Common Frog has had a confusing spawning period in March 2013. They started to return to a number of ponds to mate and lay spawn around the middle of the month, only to be confronted with freezing conditions comprising snow and ice the following week. Spawning had resumed by the very end of the month. Reference to our DARG consultant suggested that the submerged spawn may survive the arctic conditions, but that above the water-line may be killed off. Only time will tell!
Frogspawn had been confirmed at the following pond sites: Chaddesden Wood, Chaddesden Park, Alvaston Community Nature Area, Porters Lane (Oakwood) and Sunnydale Park; the latter being the first occurrence for many years and hopefully down to our silt clearance of early-2012.
Following an agreement by members at our last Pond Wardens meeting held in December 2012, your Committee have been at work spending some of its hard-earned funds to purchase the following:
A reminder to all of our Pond Wardens that we now hold an extensive collection of tools and equipment to help you in your management and surveying tasks. These range from drag rakes, spades, forks and a wheelbarrow for pond management work, to pond nets (of all sizes), trays, ID guides and reference books for pond surveys, to high-powered torches for amphibian surveys and IT tools for presentations.
All of our equipment is held by the Chairman and Secretary, so all you need to do is to let them know you want to borrow it, arrange a collection time and sign in/out what you take. It is there for us ALL to use!
Philip Ollerenshaw was a very active member of DCPWA and took on the responsibilities of Pond Warden for Alvaston Lake some years ago. Despite ongoing health issues, Philip would always participate in most, if not all, of our private and public programme of events.
Philip was a lover of the latest technology gadgets, and he took on the role of DCPWA Webmaster during 2010. Working with a close friend (Andy Upton), he completely upgraded our initial web design, which resulted in state-of-the-art features such as rolling images of Derby ponds, maps where the ponds could be found, their management plans and biodiversity scores, copies of all of our Newsletters, the latest Events Programme, and much more information. It resulted in a web site that I, as Chairman, was very proud of.
Philip's funeral was held at the Derby Crematorium on 24th January 2013. DCPWA were represented by Pat Sear, George Daly, Helen Wright, Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson. A floral tribute was given as a sign of our appreciation for the work undertaken by Phil. Our condolences go to his wife, Joan, and two daughters. He will be sorely missed.
Philip Ollerenshaw (top right) - PINE Project 2011
Maggie Cooper and Derek Golson attended the OPAL "Escape from the Classroom" conference held at Derby University on Saturday, 9th February 2013. They each attended three different workshops during the course of the event, which was aimed at getting teachers to undertake outdoor classrooms on a wildlife theme. At the same time, we took the opportunity to put on a DCPWA display describing our PINE project, which was all about sharing information on ponds and their habitats at primary school, secondary school and adult levels. There was keen interest in what we had to offer.
Derek Golson underwent CRB checks with Amber Valley CVS in Ripley on 12th February 2013, and now joins Pat Sear, Helen Wright, Maggie Cooper, Heather Bryant and Penny Halfpenny in being able to undertake work in schools and with vulnerable persons.
Andy Upton has taken on the role of DCPWA Webmaster with effect from 1st March 2013. Andy was the friend of Philip Ollerenshaw, who created the present web design which Philip then took on. Andy has already completed some improvements to the DCPWA web site, which include providing an option to LIST or MAP our pond sites on the Ponds Tab. Andy has also included our 2013 Events Programme and Winter 2012 Newsletter. Welcome aboard, Andy!
Contact Derek Golson (Chairman) or Maggie Cooper (Secretary) on 01332-830657, or by email at d c p w a @ aol.com, if you want further details on adopting a pond. Our programme for 2013 has recently been agreed and covers our quarterly meeting for Pond Wardens, when we will be pleased to welcome any new people interested in joining DCPWA.
A new and permanent venue for future meetings has been agreed by courtesy of the University of Derby (our kind thanks go to Peter Walker). Meetings will continue to commence at 19:00 hours and further details can be found on the DCPWA web site, which is located at www.dcpwa.org.uk.