Thursday, 27 December 2007

FW: Wildwood e-news December 2007

Wildwood e-news December 2007
In the December edition of Wildwood's e-newsletter we have:
1. BIAZA AWARD FOR EDUCTION - Education department scoops top award
2. WILDWOOD VOLUNTEER HIGHLY COMMENDED - Bob Salter lauded by Kent County
3. LOCK UP CARBON FOR CHRISTMAS - Buying your Christmas tree from
4. FUND RAISING - Volunteers needed
5. UPCOMING EVENTS - Small mammal trapping course / Dragon Day
6. OPENING TIMES - What's happening over Christmas and New Year
7. WEATHER STATION - Get your weather at Wildwood

1. BIAZA AWARD FOR EDUCTION - Education department scoops top award
The Education department at Wildwood was honored for Best Education Project
in 2007 BIAZA Awards.
Wildwood Trust received one of the top awards from the zoo world today
(Wednesday, November 21, 2007) following a prestigious awards ceremony held
at Marwell Zoological Park and attended by over 100 people. The award - for
the best education programme in a British small zoo - was recognition of its
pioneering work on education programmes for schools. A certificate was
presented to Wildwood Education Officer Laura Hester by Charles Walker M.P
on behalf of BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums).
This award particularly highlights Wildwood Trust's efforts in providing
interesting and relevant educational programmes and workshops for schools
and colleges. Wildwood's award-winning education programme, called "CSI
Wildwood: Who killed Mr Bunny?" is an exciting wildlife forensic science
workshop aimed at students from Key Stage 2 to A-level where children use
their detective skills to identify the different culprits at the murder
scene and solve the crime. It is adjustable for different ages and abilities
and includes forensic entomology for sixth-formers.
Wildwood Trust was one of 14 winners chosen from 62 entries. Held annually
for over a decade, the BIAZA awards recognise outstanding contributions and
achievements in the fields of wildlife conservation, advances in animal
welfare and husbandry, sustained breeding programmes, marketing, PR,
education, research, enclosure design and individual outstanding
Dr Miranda Stevenson, Director of BIAZA commented "The award-winning
programmes under the spotlight today demonstrate the huge investment of
energy and resources made by our leading zoos to support habitat and species
conservation. Conservation within zoos and aquariums is a vital part of the
work to protect threatened species and to help change public behaviour and
ensure the future of Planet Earth. These awards recognise and celebrate the
vital contributions that our members are making to conservation and
education each year. Equally, they are standard bearers for excellence in
animal husbandry and welfare."
The programme was launched at Easter and trialed first on park visitors; it
was chosen by BBC South-East to be filmed as one of its great Easter days
out. Demand from schools has led to the programme being developed further
and it can now be run for special needs schools, gifted and talented groups
secondary pupils and A-level students.
"The workshop has proved to be extremely popular" said Anne Riddell Head of
Education at Wildwood "and we are delighted that Wildwood and Laura have
received this recognition for this great idea."
More details regarding the CSI Wildwood and other workshops can be obtained
by contacting Anne or Laura.
2. WILDWOOD VOLUNTEER HIGHLY COMMENDED - Bob Salter lauded by Kent County
In recent awards from Kent County Council Bob Salter was highly commended
for his work as a volunteer.
Bob has had a long association with Wildwood and is in charge of a group
called the "Wildwood Friends" which allows special needs young people to
work at the park on a volunteer basis.
Bob and his crew are immensely helpful to the work of the park, helping with
the maintenance of fencing, paths and gardens. They are also invaluable
during the busier times of the year like bank holidays when they help in the
car park ensuring that it all runs smoothly. The Wildwood friends was also
instrumental in kitting out the education block with its new kitchen units,
work surfaces and sink.
"There have been many projects that would have been delayed or simply not
done" says Chris Towner Head Ranger at Wildwood "We only have a small
maintenance team and we would be lost without being able to call on Bobs
team to do some of the jobs round the park".
If you would like to be involved in volunteering then please get in contact
with the office.
3. LOCK UP CARBON FOR CHRISTMAS - Buying your Christmas tree from
Buy your British grown christmas tree from Wildwood and lock up 12.5% of
your carbon that you emit over december.
Wildwood have sourced trees from Kent and sussex. The christmas trees have
been bought from British growers in Kent and Sussex - not from abroad
Wildwood has sourced top quality trees as locally as possible so reducing
the carbon emissions on delivery.
After the festive period every tree will be accepted back to the park after
christmas and the trees will be mulched and used around the park in such
areas as paths. Normally rotting trees will return about half of their
carbon to the atmosphere, however Wildwood will be using the mulch on
waterlogged paths so locks the carbon away permanently.
Trees can be purchased from the park 7 days a week up to Christmas Eve.
Prices range from £18 - £50, with a selection of sizes and both standard
(Norway Spruce - Picea abies) and nondrop (Nordmann Fir - Abies
nordmanniana) varieties.
Carbon Facts
Christmas trees are on average take 7-15 years to grow
A tree on average absorbs 6 Kg of carbon each year
The average tree therefore contains about 65Kg of Carbon
The Average household in the UK emits 6,200 Kg of carbon per year

Christmas Tree Facts
The decorated Christmas tree can be traced back to the ancient Romans who
during their winter festival decorated trees with small pieces of metal
during Saturnalia, a winter festival in honor of Saturnus, the god of
An evergreen, the Paradise tree, was decorated with apples as a symbol of
the feast of Adam and Eve held on December 24th during the middle ages.
Christmas trees were sold in Alsace in 1531. Alsace was at that time a part
of Germany. Today it is part of France. The trees were sold at local markets
and set up in homes undecorated.
In the Ammerschweier in Alsace there was an ordinance that stated no person
"shall have for Christmas more than one bush of more than eight shoe
Sixteenth century folklore credited Martin Luther as being the first to
decorate an indoor tree. After a walk through a forest of evergreens with
shining stars overhead, Luther tried to describe the experience to his
family and showed them by bringing a tree into their home and decorating it
with candles. Some historians state that the first evidence of a lighted
tree appeared more than a century after Martin Luther's death in 1546.
The oldest record of a decorated Christmas tree came from a 1605 diary found
in Strasburg, France (Germany in 1605). The tree was decorated with paper
roses, apples and candies.
In Austria & Germany during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the
tops of evergreens were cut and hung upside down in a living room corner.
They were decorated with apples, nuts and strips of red paper.
The first record of Christmas trees in America was for children in the
German Moravian Church's settlement in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Christmas
1747. Actual trees were not decorated, but wooden pyramids covered with
evergreen branches were decorated with candles.
The custom of the Christmas tree was introduced in the United States during
the War of Independence by Hessian troops. An early account tells of a
Christmas tree set up by American soldiers at Fort Dearborn, Illinois, the
site of Chicago, in 1804. Most other early accounts in the United States
were among the German settlers in eastern Pennsylvania.
In 1834, Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, was credited with bringing
the first Christmas tree to Windsor Castle for the Royal Family. Some
historians state that in actuality Queen Charlotte, Victoria's grandmother,
recalled that a Christmas tree was in the Queen's lodge at Windsor on
Christmas Day in 1800.
Tree Facts
Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
The Norway spruce continues to be a popular choice in the UK and is the
traditional species for the British Christmas tree. It is the species you
will find erected in Trafalgar Square and 10 Downing Street each year. It
has the triangular shape, dark green needles, gently drooping branches and a
distinctive 'pine' fragrance. It's dense bushy shape is excellent for
decorating. It is relatively quick growing which explains it's apparently
cheap price compared to other species. It's one slight drawback is that
needle retention is not it's strongest point. It does need to be keep well
watered and away from direct heat sources to maintain it's quality
throughout the Christmas period. If used outdoors there is no problem.
Nordmann Fir (Abies nordmanniana)
The Nordmann Fir has gained popularity in recent years due to it's good
needle retention qualities and ability to look good throughout the
festivities. Often described as being non-drop, this is not strictly true,
but it will retain it's needles better than Norway Spruce. It has soft,
deep green foliage, smooth grey bark and a good triangular shape. It tends
to be slightly more open and less dense than Norway. The needles when
crushed give a very aromatic citrus smell. More expensive than other
species due to it's slow growth and work needed to maintain a good shape.
4. FUND RAISING - Volunteers needed
Would you be able to spare some time to help carry out a range of charity
fundraising events that will bring in additional funds to Wildwood? If you
would like to gain experience in the field of charity fundraising then you
may be able to help us. You could be part of Wildwood's efforts to conserve
British wildlife and protect endangered species of animals and the natural
environment for the benefit of future generations.
Please call Nick on 01227 712111 for more details.
5. UPCOMING EVENTS - Small mammal trapping course / Dragon Day
The latest events leaflet is available for download on the website, please
see the following link

Small Mammal Trapping Course
Saturday January 12 9.30am-4pm
Learn to survey our smallest mammals including live trapping, handling and
identification. Cost £25 (or, if booked with Kent Mammal Identification
Course, £40 for both). Must book with Hazel.
Dragon Day
Sunday January 13 2-4pm.
Save your Christmas wrapping paper, trimming and ribbons and bring it along
to turn into fantastic colourful dragons to cheer up the bare January walls.
This is a free event so just come along.
6. OPENING TIMES - What's happening over Christmas and New Year
Wildwood will be closed on Christmas and Boxing day (25th and 26th December)
this year but will remain open for the rest of the christmas period. We will
be open New Years Day.

7. WEATHER STATION - Get your weather at Wildwood
Wildwood is now part of a national network of weather stations feeding back
vital information to the meteorological office to use in their weather
forecasting, as well as providing real data for A level students.
The new state of the art equipment can be seen on the education block and is
constantly transmitting data to a specially configured computer twenty four
hours a day 365 days a year.
The high tech station (Local Network Fund) and ecological sampling equipment
(The Crown Charitable Fund) was purchased via a special grants and will be
used as part of Wildwoods offering to A level students as well as providing
the wider community with more detailed weather information. The station
measures, wind speed and direction, rainfall, temperature and barometric
"The weather station is an amazing bit of kit" said Nick Rowles Wildwood
fund raiser who secured the grant for the Trust " and is already working
perfectly and the sampling equipment will be used by the students within the
park as part of their courses"
The first batch of data has been interpreted by a group of A level students
from Dartford Grammar School..

Weather Facts
The human race has always tried to guess the weather, especially in areas of
the world where there are frequent changes. Traditional rhymes point to
early attempts to identify weather patterns, popular poems include:
Red sky at night, shepherds' delight; Red sky in the morning, shepherds'
Ash leaf before the oak, then we will have a summer soak; Oak leaf before
the ash, the summer comes without a splash
Flies will swarm before a storm.
Rain before 7, clear by 11.
Two other popular traditional ways of forecasting the weather used pine
cones and seaweed. When the air has a high level of humidity there is a
higher chance of rain, when the humidity is low, there is more chance of
fine weather. Pine cones and seaweed react to changes in humidity - pines
cones open, and seaweed feels dry when the humidity is low, while high
humidity has the opposite effect.
While folk wisdom can still provide a guide to help forecast weather,
today's methods of prediction increasingly rely on technology. Satellites,
balloons, ships, aircraft and weather centers with sensitive monitoring
equipment, send data to computers. The data is then processed, and the
weather predicted. However, even this system cannot predict weather for
longer than about week.
A recent study by an Australian psychologist suggests that certain people
may have a special gift for predicting the weather. However it is possible
that these people would use their talent in another way, since the same
group had considerable success in forecasting changes in another chaotic
system - the stock market.
It appears that a study of weather patterns may also enable scientists to
predict the outbreak of disease. An Ebola epidemic in Uganda in the year
2000 came after the same rare weather conditions that had been present
before an outbreak 6 years earlier. Efforts to limit the spread of airborne
diseases such as foot and mouth, are also strongly dependent on favorable
wind conditions.
A Storm is Coming when...
Flowers close up before a storm.
When the leaves of trees turn over, windy conditions and possible severe
weather won't be far behind.
Before a storm, cows will lie down or refuse to go out to pasture. But, when
cows are lying down in a field it'll remain fine, once they stand up rain is
on its way.
The daisy shuts its eye before rain.
Cockerels and male mistle thrushes sing when a thunderstorm approaches.
Flowers smell best just before a rain.
Killing a spider will make it rain the next day.
Swallows fly high when winds are light. So when they start flying low, the
storm's a-coming!
When you see that the ants are excited and coming out at unusual hours to
do their work, it means that it is going to rain.
Rain on St Swithins day (15 July) means rain for 40 days.
Rain before seven, fine for eleven.
Snow is due when the cat washes behind both ears.
It Will Be a Bad Winter:
If squirrels accumulate huge stores of nuts and have thick bushy tails.
If there are lots of berries on trees.
If the first week in August is unusually warm, the coming winter will be
snowy and long.
For every fog in August, there will be a snowfall in winter.
A warm October means a cold February.
A warm November is the sign of a bad winter.
If the first snow falls on unfrozen ground, expect a mild winter.
The nearer the New Moon to Christmas Day, the harder the winter.
The first frost in autumn will be exactly six months after the first
thunderstorm of the spring.
Worms plug the entrances to their holes when it gets cold.
The KM and Barclays plc have joined forces to distribute cash from the
bank's Community Investment Programme to small charities and not-for-profit
projects across the county, and the Kent Messenger has £4,000 to give away.
KM readers are invited to nominate candidates they feel deserve an
extra-special Christmas present this year.
Groups or individuals can bid for part of this cash.
Nominations must be made in writing or through the KM's website before 14
December and should include a short explanation of what your nominated group
would do with the money and why it deserves to win. Further information:
Kent Messenger, 6&7 Middle Row, Maidstone, ME14 1TG; Internet: