Author Archives: Tim

Woodland transformed thanks to local residents!

Coleshill’s residents joined forces with the Tame Valley Wetlands, local councillors Dom Ferro and Adam Farrell and Amey NDS to improve Coleshill’s Trajan Hill Spinney.

The Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme (TVWLPS) hosted a drop in day at Coleshill community centre, where the local community made nest boxes for their nearby woodland. The bank holiday Sunday saw all age ranges joining TVWLPS volunteers, to create a total of 10 bird boxes and 5 bat boxes. The woodland itself then had a makeover, later that week, after concerned residents approached Borough councillors, Dom Ferro and Adam Farrell, due to the untidiness of the ‘Spinney’. Residents spent two days working with volunteers from Amey and the Tame Valley Wetlands, transforming the overgrown woodland into a haven for both people and wildlife. Amey provided all the materials and 20 of their staff donated their time to work on the project. This was a great scheme that showed how communities and businesses can use joint partnership to achieve a great result.

Trajan Hill Spinney now has a natural path installed where you’ll be able to enjoy the new wildflowers when they appear. A litter pick was done as well as bramble clearance to help improve the area. Some brambles were left naturally though as they provide food and a habitat for wildlife, such as hedgehogs and birds. The bird and bat boxes made by local children and residents were then finally put up around the area.

Dom Ferro, Borough Councillor said, “The area is unrecognisable. This wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of local residents. A huge thank you to the volunteers at the Tame Valley Wetlands, who spent part of their Bank Holiday weekend with us and local children.” Tim Haselden, Tame Valley Wetlands Scheme Manager commented “It’s great to see the community taking their local wild spaces into their own hands. It will really benefit the wildlife and the local children.”

This project is part of the Tame Valley Wetlands – a landscape partnership scheme supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, aiming to create a wetland landscape, rich in wildlife and accessible to all.

The Tame Valley Wetlands is led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust in partnership with a wide variety of organisations including charities, local groups, statutory bodies and councils. Visit www.tamevalleywetlands.co.uk for more events and info.

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Six Months with the Tame Valley Wetlands team.

Six Months with the Tame Valley Wetlands team!

 

Six months already?! Yep, I couldn’t believe it either but September is here and so much has happened. 

I’m Ebony, the marketing apprentice for Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme (LPS). I started this apprenticeship back in early April, straight out of a job at Jaguar Land Rover, building cars to marketing for the Tame Valley Wetlands. I had no idea what I was doing and to be honest I still don’t have a clue but what I’ve realised it that it doesn’t matter. As long are you’re passionate about what you do and put 110% into your work, then everything is fine. I’ve been all over the shop, met many different people and gained some fantastic experience! Not to mention, reached a personal goal which I’ll tell you about in a bit.

What I’ve been up to:

Firstly though, TameFest 2016 in May was a success and I am so pleased that I got to be a part of it. I created the posters and banners for the day plus wrote a follow up press release which was featured in the Tamworth Herald, Coleshill Post and Tyburn Mail. I also did all the social media promotions to try and spread the word and I am happy to say we had just over 1,500 people attend!

Along with the work put in to the biggest event of the year for us, I’ve helped to promote all of our other FREE events that we have on throughout the year. This has been helped by me attending one of our social media workshops which was led by Oliver Jenkins, the Social Sasquatch, marketing expert.

I’ve also attended the BTO Bird ID course, Intro to Bats, Amey work party volunteering day/Drop in volunteering day at Kingsbury Water Park and helped out on a few Wild Wednesdays!

Not only this but I’ve also had the privilege of working with our Youth Engagement officer, Nicola Lynes by helping out on youth days for groups such as WCAVA (Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action), Tamworth Youth Club and NCS (UpRising Birmingham). It’s great to see people my age and younger actively going out their way to make the local area better.

All this fun at events isn’t the only thing that I’ve been a part of. I’ve attended numerous meetings including, the new interpretation and visitors centre which will be at Kingsbury Water Park. I’ve visited Nene Valley with the team and attended a board meeting down there. They have a beautiful site, you should definitely check it out! It’s great for camping and family activities. I’ve also been to RSPB meetings. One was at the head Sandwell office in Birmingham for a promotional team meeting, allowing me to get to know how RSPB market and promote their organisation. The next day, I then went down to Banbury to their regional office for a brand meeting. This was fantastic and I got to see how and why they use such branding to create such a well established organisation.

It wasn’t just RSPB that got their claws into me as Warwickshire Wildlife Trust invited me to an InDesign training day at Brandon Marsh. From this, I spent another day with Steve Cheshire, Marketing Manager getting to know InDesign and understanding how they do things. In fact, very soon I shall be going back over there to help out on their new events guide and to learn vital skills which will help me with the Tame Valley Wetlands promo.

But forget all of this that has happened because for me, the best and most positive achievement came about from a simple tweet about the youth groups we’d been working with –


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The simple #DoSomethingGreat was the hashtag for BBC Springwatch, who got in touch through direct message asking for more info on the image, which was then subsequently shown on that evenings show! Thanks to Mary, BBC Springwatch Unsprung production team, not only did we get a mention but I personally took the image as well and was very, very excited about it all! Two seconds of fame for Tame Valley, so worth it 🙂

Throughout all of this fun, I am still in the process of completing my apprenticeship and I am doing very well, with fortnightly meetings with my HOET assessor, Dan Rombach. I should be completed in no time, with the help from Tame Valley Wetlands partners and the team.

What does the future hold?

Well, very soon our Community Wetlands officer Tracey Doherty shall be starting work on Tameside Local Nature Reserve as the Community Wetlands project is coming to a finish. Really kindly, she has asked me if I would like to lead all promotion for this project by attending meetings and meeting the relevant people to stay up to date from start to finish. I am also going to be working closely with Tamworth Borough Council’s PR team which will add to my experience.

Not only that but I am working on introducing merchandise for people to buy for the Tame Valley Wetlands, as well as children’s bag fillers for school items. I am also going to be getting new content for our soon to be new website which our Interpretation office, Chris Harris, is currently working hard on.

We have also partnered up with Fired Up Theatre for a cultural heritage project, which I will be working on, in order to spread the word about this new, unique project. There will be poetry, a Tame Valley Wetlands song and more… so make sure to keep an eye on our social media for when it kicks off!

A part from that, I will continue work on the events, promote the scheme and shall look forward to helping with next years TameFest 2017 in Tamworth.

If anyone is interested in becoming a part of the team like I have, we do have volunteering opportunities available – just take a look at our volunteering page via this link.

Here’s some pictures of what we’ve been up to 🙂 

Visit www.facebook.com/tamevalleywetlands for more photos!


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P.S In my last blog, I wrote about my dog Rio. Sadly he passed away in May this year and the whole family were heartbroken. With the thought of never being able to get over not having a dog in the house, a couple weeks later we rescued one.

Everyone, meet Major! He’s a long legged Staffy, who’s 2 years old and full of energy. Originally from Norfolk, we don’t know much about his past other than he was in kennels before being taken on by Ruff Luck Rescue in Atherstone. From there, we met him and instantly fell in love. This weekend just passed we took him back up to Ruff Luck for their Fun Dog Show, where he participated and won 5th place and a certificate on his first ever go! I was very proud to be standing there with him.

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TameYouth this Saturday 10th September

Are you young and bored of doing the same old thing? Fancy trying something new? Well look no further and join our TameYouth volunteer group now.

This is a great way to gain new skills, get extra credit and obtain essential employable skills needed for the future. Plus its a complete laugh and so much fun!

Really interested now? Well…

We have a TameYouth session on this Saturday 10th September at Hodge Lane Local Nature Reserve! Meet at 10am at Hodge Lane Local Nature Reserve (off Chandlers Drive, B77 4NY) and finish at 1pm.

#TameYWe will be improving habitat created by the local volunteer group. Wear suitable clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. Refreshments will be provided! We will also cover travel expenses of up to 20 miles.

For further info, contact Nicola (Youth Engagement Officer) at youth@tamevalleywetlands.co.uk.

See you soon 🙂 

Summer 16′ – Young fun in the sun!

A summer of youth engagement across the Tame Valley Wetlands

Young people tend to get a bad rep in the summer holidays. “They’re always hanging around, making trouble” goes the old familiar complaint. Yes, some young people do hang around, some do make trouble and some make lots of noise and disturb their neighbours. But to tarnish all young people with the actions of a few is deeply unfair, and is stereotyping at its worst.

Here at the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme, we have been lucky enough to have an incredibly busy programme of youth engagement this summer, with no fewer than 132 young people putting in almost 500 hours of volunteering around the Tame Valley Wetlands scheme area in the Midlands – and the summer isn’t even over yet!

Making trouble? Far from it! Making haystacks is more like it!

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NCS Tamworth at Warwickshire Moor Local Nature Reserve – Photo credit Nicola Lynes.

There have been two waves of participants from the National Citizen Service in Tamworth, delivered by Uprising Birmingham and they got stuck in on the hottest days of the year to remove invasive Himalayan balsam, plant reeds and rake up grass on a meadow to encourage the growth of wildflowers. One group even went a step further and organised an event to raise much needed funds and awareness for the Tameside Wildlife Conservation Group.

We have also had sessions with our regular youth groups, CareFirst in Tamworth and WCAVA from North Warwickshire. These groups are made up of young adults with additional needs, and have been visiting sites across the scheme area in order to explore their local spaces and contribute to the conservation of the areas.

Our own youth volunteering group, TameYouth, also had a great morning at Wigginton Park one Saturday removing old tree guards from an established hedge. Even though the group spent most of the time hidden under the hedgerow, the sudden appearance of tree guards being flung out from the greenery needed a warning sign to passing dog walkers!

The commitment and enthusiasm shown by the young people this summer has been staggering. Through conversation and discussion we’ve heard about how young people want to gain work experience, that they want to learn new things, spend more time outside, explore their local area more…does this sound like a lazy teenager to you? These young people are the ones who will be growing up to make waves in the world. We should all be encouraging their interests and talents, and at the Tame Valley Wetlands, we are proud to be doing just that.

Be a part of the Tame Valley Wetlands team! Join one of our volunteer groups today – it’s just a click away! – *Next TameYouth session is Saturday 10th September!!*

NCS Tamworth’s battle with balsam!

A team of 16-17 year-olds from Tamworth’s National Citizen Service (NCS), led by UpRising Birmingham, have given over 300 hours of their time to volunteer with the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme at Tameside Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in Tamworth.

P1011369 resized  Three days of practical conservation at Tameside LNR saw the youth group work tirelessly in the boiling sun and pouring rain to help carry out important reserve management. Tasks included non-native species control, focussing on Himalayan balsam, which is well known for its notorious spreading ability, outcompeting native species and increasing riverbank erosion. The team also tried their hand at some reed planting and meadow management, which entailed raking the meadow grass and creating hay stacks.

  The tasks will help improve a variety of habitats and increase the number of species living on this important wildlife site and area of floodplain next to the River Tame.

In addition, the NCS team delivered a fundraising and awareness day, where they spent the day in Tamworth’s town centre, selling cakes and raising awareness of the wider Tame Valley Wetlands area. By the end of the day they had ran out of stock and raised a fantastic £123.74 for Tameside Wildlife Conservation Group. All the proceeds will be spent to further improve Tameside LNR for people and wildlife.

Nicola Lynes, Youth Engagement Officer for the Tame Valley Wetlands Scheme said “We are honoured to have been chosen to be the group’s social action project for NCS and are really grateful for the time they spent volunteering with us”.

Ron Timms, Treasurer of Tameside Wildlife Conservation Group said “the effort they put in was excellent and I hope they enjoyed their experience”.

Are you interested in helping improve your local environment? Go to our volunteering page for opportunities available for all ages and abilities, and follow us on social media to keep up-to-date with everything that’s going on throughout the summer holidays.

A ‘buzzing’ day at Kingsbury Water Park!

Kingsbury Water Park buzzes in the sunshine!

On a hot, sunny, somewhat breezy day, visitors to Kingsbury Water Park enjoyed a range of fun activities with the theme of bees and their importance in the natural world last Sunday.

Mark Hunt, Ian and Katy Kapsis of the Nuneaton and Atherstone Beekeepers Association brought one of their bee hives along capturing the interest and imagination of visitors to the Old Barn Café. Mark, Ian and Katy spent the day answering questions about bees, explaining their life cycle and how they pollinate vital crops produced by our farmers.

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Copyright: Friends of Kingsbury Water Park.

Friends of Kingsbury Water Park provided colourful craft activities including making homes for bees in your garden, badge making, games, quizzes and painted pebbles with distinctly black and yellow markings!

Tame Valley Wetlands led “bug hunts” where participants tried their hand with nets catching and identifying insects. It was a fun packed, educational day, over 250 people of all age groups joined in and went away with something to talk about or show others.

Youngster, James Collard spent his afternoon studying the live bees and discussing all aspects of a bee’s life with the beekeepers. James said “I like bees because they make honey, and I have honey with my hot Ribena.”

For lots more family fun activities near you this summer see www.tamevalleywetlands.co.uk and www.warwickshire.gov.uk/parks.

For more information about beekeeping see the British Beekeepers Association website www.bbka.org.uk.

For more information about the Friends of Kingsbury Water Park see www.friendsofkingsburywaterpark.org.uk.