Volunteer

 

The Ladywalk Volunteer Team

   Our volunteer team are our VIP’s. The current Reserve is only a worthwhile place to visit because of the volunteer team. Their work over the years has enabled vital management, without which we simply would not recognise what we see today.

   Since the 1970’s it has been a constant task to keep on top of encroaching vegetation, some of it desirable, some of it less so. We have volunteer wardens, we have volunteer wildlife surveyors, volunteer guides and of course those that just like getting stuck in. Be it litter-picking, a little light pruning or something more demanding.

   Some of our volunteers have had a wealth of knowledge in wildlife, particularly birds. Their vision has transformed the land from old gravel pits and a power station waste site into a mosaic of wetland, woodland and reed beds. If it wasn’t for these people putting in huge amounts of their own time, Ladywalk would be overgrown and neglected. It would be without its open water, holding large amounts of wildfowl in winter. The reed beds would dry out or not even exist to the extent that they do today and it would not be one of the best wintering Bittern sites in Britain. The woodlands would be overgrown and dry, missing the declining species of Willow Tit and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and so too would the marshes and wet meadow which hold orchids and the only colony of Marsh Helleborines in Warwickshire….. So volunteering is VITAL!

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The marsh is carefully managed to cater for Lapwings, Barn Owls, butterflies and orchids to name a few

   This page is here to encourage any WMBC members who enjoy coming to the Reserve to get involved….. But how?

   Everyone is welcome. We said above that some of our volunteers are visionary. They are/were the exception! We aim to use all of YOUR skills and enthusiasm to enable YOU to make a difference, a real and ongoing worthwhile difference.  It doesn’t matter if you feel you have nothing to offer; try it out, it’s FREE and FUN and you will have something to offer.

  Perhaps you feel you can make a difference by recording species. Maybe try your hand at Plants, Bees, Flies, Moths, Butterflies and even the birds don’t count themselves; the list is almost endless….

  Recording as many species as we can helps us to make decisions as to where the Reserve needs help, to enable it to continue as one of the most important wetlands in Warwickshire and the wider Midlands area. If we don’t see you at the Reserve, please make notes in the Hide books so that we know what you’ve seen. We are interested in everything, no matter if you feel the species is common. A count rather than just a mention is very valuable to us. If you forget or you have already left the hide we can be emailed, texted or tweeted. Thank you very much.

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The new sluice allows greater control over water levels for breeding birds

   Taking a step towards volunteering isn’t for everyone. Everyone is different and has differing amounts of free time. Don’t worry, we have just the job for you…Litter-picking!  Under Hide A there are bags and litter-picking grabbers. Any full (or half full bags) can be left where we can see them and we will magic them away. Thank you again.

   Now we have your attention we will build up to the Full-On Volunteer, joining our work party days every second Monday of the month from September-June. From July to the end of August they run every Monday. This is the main period when we can get to the pools as the marsh and reed birds have finished breeding, but it is prior to the return of our wintering wildfowl. If you would like to help for a few hours or half a day or more, we would love to see you and you will be very welcome. We are also considering a Saturday work party once a month if there is enough interest.

   Work party days are very varied, with a variety of tasks which include: coppicing, laying hedges, cutting reed beds, using boats to clear islands, creating scrapes and improving water edges for waders and invertebrates.

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Richard improving the view from B Hide

Volunteers can learn new skills such as bridge building, sluice and water level management. Ages of our working parties currently vary from 15 to the late 80’s – we can find tasks for anyone! You can even credit your work as we are working with Tame Valley Wetlands Partnership who can help provide work-based qualifications.

 The needs of the reserve sometimes change daily due to weather or ground conditions. We will publicise dates and proposed plans of work on the Volunteer page. The blog will also include management plans and work projects with drawings, photos and videos to keep you informed of what we are doing.

   So the only thing left is to get involved. You will enjoy giving something back to your reserve as part of a good team who muck in and enjoy working together. Even a pot of tea is brewed with the occasional Victoria sponge to keep us all going. Or coffee…

Confirmed Work Party Dates 2017

13th March, 10th April, 8th May and 12th June.

Contact Peter Sofley for more details: ladywalk@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk or fill in the contact form on the Contact/Links page. We will be very happy to hear from you.