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APRIL 2017

 

 

Newt & toad rescue mission

 

I spent several evenings in February (and March) driving across to the other side of London to work with a team of London Wildlife Trust volunteers rescuing newts and toads.  

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A local business park has created a fantastic environment for its human workforce.  It includes a series of spectacular lakes, waterfalls and shallow reedy areas and the local amphibian population love this luxurious watery habitat.

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Each Feb/March, as soon as it gets a bit warmer and a bit wetter, the newts and toads come out of their hibernacula and head up to the ponds for the breeding season.  The instinct to head to water and to their breeding ponds is incredibly strong and they don't seem to be daunted by huge distances at all!  For such tiny creatures they can travel an incredibly long way.

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Journeying bravely is one thing but some of the hazards that they face on their journeys are very daunting.  And that's where London Wildlife Trust come in!  Recognising the struggles that their local herpetofauna face, London Wildlife Trust staff organise a rota for keen volunteers who go out night after night with their hi-viz and orange buckets and search for stranded travellers.

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I had the great pleasure of accompaning groups of volunteers for several evenings in April.  We searched together and I was amazed at their dedication.  It's hard to describe the sheer joy that we all experienced when a bedraggled critter is found in the torchlight.  Such a tiny creature and yet it felt pretty special to know that without the human intervention it would undoubtedly have died.

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I became quite adept at spotting newts down the drains and lifting the man-hole covers and fishing them out!  Some of my favourite photos from this series include little wet footprints where the newts scramble around inside the drains.

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 It was incredibly satisfying to take all the newts and toads up to the breeding ponds and release them.  We popped the newts into the water or onto rocks and stood back to watch them wriggle and plop away to begin their amorous encounters.  Good luck little critters!  See you next year!

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A big round of applause for the amazing volunteers who rescued a total of 721 newts, 38 toads and 6 frogs from the carparks.

 

 

Working with The Wildlife Trusts and London Wildlife Trust

 

I love taking pictures of people engaged in nature or conservation activities.  It felt like a huge privilege to work with The Wildlife Trusts and London Wildlife Trust, to capture the stories of two amazing groups in London as part of their My Wild Life series.

Potted History

London Wildife Trust run an inspirational project at the Centre for Wildlife Gardening in Peckham.  Every Wednesday, a group of elderly local residents arrive at the Centre for a couple of hours of socialising, gardening and conversation ... but it is so much more!  As I got to know the group members over a couple of weeks, I was inspired by their stories and captivated by their involvement with and connection to nature.  Some had memory difficulties but all of them were bound by a common love of gardening, being together and being outdoors.  It was an absolute joy to be with them.  

Huge thanks to Joanna for her amazing work and dedication.

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Young Visions

Young Visions is another of London Wildlife Trust's amazing projects.  It's a collaboration between the staff of Crane Park Island reserve and the young people and their tutors from Richmond College.  The young people visit Crane Park Island and are involved in a range of outdoor, conservation related activities which take them way out of their comfort zone.  They all benefit enormously and come away with a wonderful memories and an enhanced skill set (social, physical, conservation, emotional etc etc!).  It really is inspiring work. 

A big thank you to David and Nuala for their hard work and enthusiasm.

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