The early Spring meant the earliest average emergence of butterflies in the last 20 years. . Please spend just 15 minutes on a sunny day (don’t choose boiling hot at midday weather) to count butterflies in your garden or on your daily exercise route so that Butterfly Conservation can understand how the changing weather patterns affects populations.
You can download an app to identify and count butterflies on the move, or scribble in a notebook to enter the data later at the butterfly count website
You ‘ve probably noticed that Reading Borough Council is leaving a number of grass verges and roundabouts to grow longer this year rather than having their normal 6-7 cuts a year. This is part of their commitment to the climate action plan and biodiversity action plan, but monitoring is needed to review the impact of these changes, both good and bad. You can help with this if you record your interesting sightings on their rewilding page (deer already seen on one), which is where to go to read more about this action and the location of rewilding sites.
Then help climate scientists understand past rainfall variations and improve models for future flooding events?
The UK has an amazing repository of rainfall records from the last 200 years, but most of this is handwritten and not that easy to use in the current era. The Rainfall Rescue Project is seeking volunteers to transfer all these old handwritten pages of rainfall data into online spreadsheets.
It’s easy to do a few tens of records a day without getting bored to tears, but I recommend that you choose the option to transcribe local records because it is easier to read the handwritten locations if you recognise the place names!
The Environment Agency is hosting 7 public drop-in events from 26 February to 20 March. Come along to find out more about flood risk in Reading and Caversham, what residents can do to prepare and our updated plans for a possible flood scheme. There will also be information on how climate change may increase flood risk in the future.
Over 700 properties are at risk from a major flood in Reading and Caversham. The latest design to reduce flood risk includes a combination of flood walls and embankments, temporary flood barriers and a channel.
After listening to feedback from the public, we have made changes to the proposed design and have new information to share. At the drop-ins, there will be landscape plans and photos showing what the scheme could look like if it is built. There will also be photos of historical flooding and information about local flood risk and how you can sign up for warnings.
It is important to note that the project is still at an early stage, so it does not yet have the relevant permissions and may not go ahead.
Whiskas is the leading partner in a new European pet food container recycling programme to collect the plastic packaging that is not recycled through door to door collection systems. The system works through teracycle https://www.whiskas.co.uk/terracycle , an organisation that recycles a whole load of post consumer packaging from Pringles containers to Colgate tooth products and walkers crisp packets. Probably more pet food manufacturers will join the scheme in the future.
it provides a recycling route for manufacturers whose products do not fit within a normal municipal recycling programme. you’ll find collection points around the area and the money raised goes to various charities. pet food containers are a new venture and teracycle are looking for new collection points. you can do it yourself at home (they’ll send you labels to print for UPS to collect) or set up something in a local church, school or centre available to the public and donate to that charity. at present, they are collecting whiskas wet food pouches, flexible plastic treat and other food bags and similar products in the wellbeloved range for dogs.
You don’t raise a huge amount of money per unit, but there’s a lot of pet owners out there who could contribute to your charity as well as reducing waste to incineration and landfill.
Warning: wash out food pouches in your general washing up/ dishwasher load. if you run hot water separately to do this then you have negated any environmental benefit from recycling. this material currently goes to incineration with energy recovery in this area.
DEFRA is consulting on their proposals to make biodiversity net gain necessary for developments when granting planning permission. This approach aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than beforehand.
Give your views on their proposals by 10th February on https://consult.defra.gov.uk/land-use/net-gain/
Can you spare 20 minutes a week during this Winter? The new Tawny Owl garden survey starting in October is asking people to listen out for tawny owls calling in the evening. no need to go out in the cold: surveying from a warm armchair with a glass of hot toddy in the hand is just fine. More details on the BTO website.
Come and join us at the Reading Town Meal on Saturday 29th September. We are going to use this as an opportunity to launch our new website and the revised Reading Climate Change strategy.
Please do come and find us on one of the stalls. You can find out more about our aims for the next couple of years, and find out how you can get involved.
and there’s still time to sign up and help with this year’s meal. Can you provide some excess vegetables from your garden? help to collect equipment and supplies? help on the day? see the main town meal website for more options and to sign up
The British Trust for Ornithology is commencing two tawny owl surveys this summer to assess distribution.
The first, the tawny owl point survey, starts in August and asks people to adopt one of many 2 km squares selected across the country, stand in the centre on two nice evenings roughly one month apart, and estimate owl territories. Reading is not on the survey, but there are many squares to survey around Wokingham (and nice pubs for afterwards)
The second one, the tawny owl calling survey, starts at the end of September and simply asks you to listen out in your own garden for tawny owls.
You really don’t need any previous knowledge to do either of these surveys as the instructions on the BTO website are very very clear. Please have a go.