March is the time to start planting summer seeds so Stroud Valleys Project is setting up a seed swap at their eco shop in Threadneedle Street.

Seed swopLocal people are invited to come along and bring any surplus seeds to exchange with others. The seeds can be bought from their own gardens as long as they are clearly labelled.

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WEDNESDAY 9.2.11, 10am – 11.30AM

Would you like to learn more about the birds in your garden? Arm yourself with binoculars and come along to Hamwell Leaze for a spot of twitching. You might even see the resident kingfisher!

Bird_Watch_picBarbara Wood, a volunteer with Stroud Valleys Project, will join the Green Team to run a workshop on bird identification. Please bring binoculars if possible, and wear wellies.

Ivi Szaboova, SVP’s Biodiversity Officer, said: “Birds are a very useful indicator of our environment’s health as they are close to the top of the food chain. The workshop can help you learn to identify species which are most likely to visit your garden.”

Stroud Valleys Project’s Green Team volunteers would like to put out a call out to find Ms Alder whose black wallet they found at Hamwell Leaze, a greenspace in Cainscross. It contained a large amount of money and vouchers, and was handed in at Stroud Police Station.

Wallet teamBiodiversity Officer Ivi Szaboova said: “The Green Team volunteers were pruning a misshapen oak tree and cutting back willow branches by a footpath to improve access for local walkers when they came across the wallet. They were surprised to see that it still contained a substantial amount of cash and vouchers, all very wet. Usually we just find litter, or bottles and cans which we take away for recycling. We hope that someone will know Ms Alder and tells her to contact the Police Station.”

If you want advice about hedgehogs or would like to be part of the Green Team, contact SVP on 01453 753358.

Don’t let unwanted 2011 diaries and calendars gather dust on your desk, drop them off at Stroud Valleys Project office instead, so others can use them.

 The Diary Swap works like this: drop off unwanted 2011 diaries or calendars at Stroud Valleys Project. And if you need a new diary or calendar, pop into the SVP office at 8 Threadneedle Street on Stroud to get one. Simple! Saving resources and at the same time reducing the clutter on your desk. The swap will be running until the end of January. 

For more information please phone Ivi on 01453 753358.

When Stroud Valleys Project’s Green Team volunteers spent a rainy morning making three hedgehog boxes, nobody expected all of them to be sold in SVP’s Eco shop on the same day, to one local family.Our finished hedgehog box

Biodiversity Officer Ivi Szaboova explained: “SVP run an Eco shop where people can buy wildlife-friendly, recycled and fair trade products. The Green Team volunteers were amazed to learn that the boxes we made were all gone in one afternoon. A couple visited the Eco shop looking for an unusual Christmas present for a family member, and then came back in 30 minutes to buy another box for their own garden. Two hours later their son rang to reserve the third hedgehog box, which he wanted for his girlfriend’s mother. The family were also given leaflets on wildlife gardening with hedgehogs in mind.”

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One in four people will experience mental distress at some point in their lives. A new scheme by Stroud Valleys Project will help with recovery. The Green Team: Open to All is designed to help people with mental health problems get better and acquire new skills during Wednesday morning practical conservation sessions. It's an open, socially inclusive group for people from all walks of life, who enjoy working outdoors and learning new things. Apple Day at the Exchange


SVP has been awarded £20,000 to run the Green Team: Open to All, which has been funded by Ecominds, a £7.5 million 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, and local communities.

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Old cardboard boxes are a good way to create an easy mulch for your garden or allotment over the winter, says Stroud Valleys Project.

Project Officer Nadine Smykatz-Kloss explained: “The tree planting season is now here so we are using corrugated cardboard as a mulch, which is a practical use for unwanted boxes and protect the roots of your plants at the same time.”    

sheetmulch5_displaySVP volunteers are using this technique on the new hedgerows they are planting in Slimbridge and Saul. They are aiming to put in 1,600 native plants over the winter.“A cardboard mulch put on at the base of a plant helps to prevent soil erosion, retains moisture in the soil, and keeps the roots of the plant warm. Corrugated cardboard, a readily available resource, will break down after one season, but acts as mulch over the winter and helps to suppress the growth of weeds,” said Nadine.

“We usually cover the cardboard with a bit of well rotted manure, bark or soil to hold it down.”

green.kingcounty.gov

Anyone interested in using this technique can follow these easy steps:

  • Remove all the tape and staples from the box
  • Cut into easy-to-handle sheets
  • Place the pieces around the plant and extend it out from the base of the plant to provide adequate root coverage
  • Soak the cardboard with water and cover with manure, soil or bark

“The secret is to keep the cardboard moist so that it can do the job and not blow away, “said Nadine.

Walk_for_people_with_visual_impairment_re-sizedStroud Valleys Project’s new natural history walks are hot off the press! Designed for people with visual and hearing impairment who want to explore the countryside despite their disability, the walks offer the chance to learn about wildlife and habitats in a group of like-minded people. The walkers are fully supported by sighted and hearing guides.

 Wildflower walk

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You could learn why ecologists get really excited about spotting water vole latrines, why orchids like a good fungal infection, just how much time you'd spend asleep if you were a dormouse, and exactly how bats manage to mate in the autumn and then delay gestation until the warmer spring days.

Orchid walk at Edge Common

For more information about the walks contact Ivi Szaboova on 01453 753358. 

Stroud Valleys Project volunteers were barely visible in the Himalayan Balsam jungle at the Lake at the Lawns, when they cleared this invasive species during a habitat workshop. The group were amazed to discover a plant which grew to a whopping 303cm.

the_tallest_himalayan_balsam_at_the_lake_at_the_lawnsIvi Szaboova, SVP’s biodiversity officer, explained: “Himalayan balsam is not native to Britain and it spreads rapidly along our riverbanks, suffocating native vegetation. One plant produces up to 800 seeds which can germinate under water and are viable for up to 18 months. The seedpods only have to be gently touched to make them ‘explode’ and scatter the seeds up to 7m. Once the plants die down, they leave riverbanks bare and this contributes to erosion of the soil.

 It grows 1-2m high but we have never seen one as tall as the plant found by SVP volunteers.”

himalayan_balsam

To find out more about Stroud Valleys Project’s work at the greenspaces around Stroud and Cainscross, contact Ivi Szaboova on 01453 753358.

A family walk turned into a slow-worm rescue mission for Stroud Valleys Project’s biodiversity officer.

Ivi Szaboova was walking up to the Bisley Road Victorian cemetery with her SVP_Biodiversity_Officer_Ivi_Szaboova_with_the_rescued_slow-wormdaughter when they were stopped by Mark and Karen Coldrick. They were carrying a lunch box with a slow-worm, which their son Joe found on the pavement. Ivi said: “Slow-worms look a bit like snakes, but are actually legless lizards. The easiest way to tell them apart is by taking a quick peak at their eyes: lizards have lids while snakes are lidless. This slow-worm looked very fat so it could have been a pregnant female. They give birth to live young and are often seen basking in the sun on a warm road in the days before giving birth.”  

Because they didn’t know which garden it came from, the slow-worm was re-homed at the old cemetery.

slow-worm_re-sized
Slow-worms are a native species, usually found hiding underneath rocks and logs. They can shed their tails to escape predators, and although the tail re-grows, it will stay smaller. It’s great to have slow-worms in your gardens, as they eat slugs and worms. You can encourage them by creating a warm compost heap and by planting shrubs to create good hiding places. You can also leave logs, a dark mat or a small piece of ply-board on the ground so the slow-worms can crawl under to warm up. Adult slow-worms grow up to 50 cm long and can live up to 30 years in the wild.

Stroud Valleys Project is a limited company,
registered in England and Wales.    

Registered number: 2224016    

Registered charity number: 900107

Stroud Valleys Project,
8 Threadneedle Street,
Stroud,
Gloucestershire,
GL5 1AF

Tel: 01453 753358

Fax: 01453 755641

Email: info@stroudvalleysproject.org

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