1) New autumn / winter events schedule out now!
2) Join the fight to stop the badger cull
3) Wildwood dormouse release
4) Ecominds update
5) Supporter of the month - Asda
6) Animal of the month - Badger
7) Christmas events
8) Car park closure - 1st to 5th October
9) Items needed
The new Wildwood events schedule is out now. There is something for everyone with fun craft sessions, conservation courses and Christmas events (see item 8 below).
Forthcoming events at Wildwood:
Sunday 30th September - Harvest Mouse Conservation Course
A one-day course on the key factors affecting the status and distribution of the harvest mouse. You will have the opportunity to examine harvest mouse nests and gain practical surveying experience in the field. Held at Dungeness Nature Reserve.
10am - 4pm. £30 per person (includes Wildwood entry fee). To book please email Tara Lines: email@example.com or call 01227 711 471
Saturday 13th October - Junior Zoo Keeper Experience Day
Do you know a budding zoo keeper? Discover what it's like to work at Wildwood and how we keep our animals happy and healthy.
10am - 12pm. 7-11yrs £50 per person. Must book.
Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th October - Mini Food Fair with Godmersham Game
Mini food market with local food and drink from some of Kent's best local producers. Don't forget to bring a bag and stock up on goodies.
11am - 4pm both days. Free event*. No need to book, drop in any time.
Sunday 14th October - Small Mammal Survey Skills
Learn how to survey our smallest mammals using live traps. Includes handling and identification.
9.30am - 4.15pm £30 per person (book together with Kent Mammal ID Course for £50)
Please book with Tara Lines on 01227 711 471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01227 711 471
Tuesday 23rd October - Photography Day
Wildlife photography with tuition from our resident photographer. Get exclusive access and special animal feeds to help you get those close-up shots. Over 18 unless accompanied by an adult who is also taking part in the photo day. Gift vouchers also available.
10.30am - 4pm. £79 per person (includes Wildwood entry fee). Must book.
Saturday 27th October - An Introduction to the Ecology and Identification of Fungi
A course focusing on the importance of fungi in the ecosystem and aiming to de-mystify the identification process. The day will include a presentation, microscopic examination of specimens and a foray to discover different types of fungi in their natural habitats.
10am - 4pm £30 per person. Please book with Tara Lines on 01227 711 471 or email email@example.com or call 01227 711 471
Monday 29th October - Harvest Moon Night Tour
See our animals under the moonlight on a guided tour around the park to coincide with the full moon.
6.30pm - 9pm. £25 per person (includes Wildwood entry fee). Min age 10yrs. Includes hot meal. Must book.
Monday 29th - Wednesday 31st October - Hallowe'en Craft event
Get ready for Hallowe'en with our annual creepy craft event. Make your own suitably spooky decorations to take home themed around pumpkins, bats, rats, spiders and cats.
11.30am - 1pm or 2pm - 3.30pm each day. £2 per person, one adult free per family. Must book.
Monday 29th - Friday 2nd November - Nature Detective Trail
Be a true nature detective and pick up your free CSI trail to solve the half-term mystery around the park. Crack the case to claim your special badge and certificate.
Drop in any time (no need to book). Only available while stocks last. Free event*.
To book craft events, night tours, zoo keeper or photo days, please call the office on 01227 712 111. To book a conservation event (in green) please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01227 711 471. *Wildwood membership or entry fees apply.
2) Join the fight to stop the badger cull
Following the recent news that badgers are to be culled in England this autumn to combat bovine tuberculosis (bTB), Wildwood has joined the fight to stop the cull.
The government has given the go-ahead for two pilot zones in the South West with a view to extending the scheme across the country. If a nationwide cull goes ahead as many as 100,000 badgers could be shot, including many perfectly healthy animals.
Wildwood agrees that bovine TB is a problem that needs to be addressed. It has blighted cattle farming in the UK for decades and costs the taxpayer millions of pounds every year in destroying cattle and compensating affected farmers. However, we believe that a culling badgers is a short-term and unsustainable approach that will do little to address the problem in the long run whilst needlessly slaughtering thousands of healthy animals.
Rather than a cull of badgers, the issue of bovine TB needs a long-term, scientific approach that deals with the problems of modern industrial cattle farming. Our government and farmers need to work together to find long term, evidence-based solutions that include badger vaccinations, better farming practices and improved cattle welfare.
We are therefore asking all of our members to sign the official badger cull e-petition to force the government to re-think their plans.
For more information on the proposed cull and bovine TB please watch our video: Wildwood Chief Executive, Peter Smith on why a badger cull is not the answer
3) Wildwood dormouse release
Wildwood is celebrating playing a major part in a new dormouse reintroduction programme to help save the species from extinction. This summer our dedicated team joined forces with the People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) to release breeding pairs of dormice to a secret woodland location in Warwickshire. The site was specially selected as a suitable habitat and Wildwood was the main provider of dormice for the project, donating several pairs to recolonize the area. Members of the Wildwood Conservation and Keeper teams were on hand to monitor the initial release and the project has so far been hailed as a great success.
In recent years the hazel dormouse has suffered a dramatic fall in numbers due habitat loss and unsympathetic woodland management and is now classed as extremely vulnerable to extinction meaning that without urgent action it could disappear from the UK forever.
For this project the dormice were reintroduced using a "soft release" system. Soft releases work by introducing an animal into a new area slowly by providing them with food and protection until they are fully adjusted to their new environment. In this case the breeding pairs where placed in secure wooden nest boxes which were then fitted inside larger mesh cages on the woodland trees. The dormice were checked and fed daily in these cages over a two week period before a small door in each cage was left open, allowing the dormice to leave the cage. This method allowed the dormice to explore their new home whilst still having the security of the mesh cage and food if needed. Once the dormice had settled into the woodland and were no longer using the cages they were removed.
We are extremely pleased to have been a part of this important project and for Wildwood's members this release is another example of how your support is making a very real difference to British wildlife. So we'd like to say a big thank-you from all of our team, and of course from the dormice!
4) Ecominds Update
The Ecominds team have been hard at work on our new otter enclosure which is taking shape nicely. The volunteers have been helping with the main enclosure and have also taken on the behind-the-scenes hospital pools as their own mini-project.
The team are helping to put the final touches to 2 special hospital pools that will be used to look after sick otters or to introduce new otters to the enclosure. This facility will allow the Wildwood keepers to separate the otters if required into a special quarantine area, whilst allowing the main enclosure to operate normally.
The volunteers have successfully carried out most of the work on the pools and have been learning new skills in the process. Under the guidance of our rangers, they have been:
- Using the cement mixers to mix their own cement and cementing the inside of the pools to make them durable, water tight and easy to clean.
- Building fencing around the hospital pools to create a private area for otters when they are unwell and are requiring treatment.
- Learning how to lay crazy paving, and helping to pave the floor around the hospital pools so they can be washed down and disinfected easily.
Wildwood's Ecominds Volunteers project has been funded by Ecominds, a £7.5million funding scheme run by Mind on behalf of the BIG Lottery Fund. Ecominds involves people with direct experience of mental distress in environmental projects that improve their mental and physical health. The scheme offers participants the chance to learn new skills and gain practical experience whilst boosting their confidence. At Wildwood the team help in many areas such as gardening, maintenance and assisting in the day-to-day running of the park, all of which give them important life-skills.
5) Supporter of the Month - Asda Supermarket, Canterbury
Wildwood is delighted to have been voted winners of Asda's "Chosen by you ...given by us" charity award after Shoppers at the Canterbury store voted for us via an in-store token system. Asda community colleague Jayne Tutt came along to the park to present the cheque for £200 to Jess Walters, Wildwood's fundraising co-ordinator who said "we are very grateful to all the Asda shoppers who voted for Wildwood, it's great to know that we have a lot of local support and the donation will really help us at the park". The donation will be spent on the upkeep of the park and looking after our animals. We'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted for us, we really appreciate your support!
6) Animal of the month - badger