On the first really sunny day of spring, it was very encouraging that so many people opted to swap time outside, for attending the spring CMG meeting at Pumsaint last Saturday, nearly filling the big hall.
Around 79 people attended, possibly the biggest number yet for one of our meetings, and after an introduction from Colin Law, the CMG Treasurer, the meeting began with a showing of a film made by myself titled “Soft Rush – A Growing problem”. The film shows how about 6 acres of wet valley bottom meadows on our smallholding have been moved towards greater floral and fungal species diversity since September 2013, using a variety of traditional and more contemporary management techniques.
After the drama of the screen suddenly rolling back upwards as the film began, the 42 minute film created lots of post screening discussion, which continued, for me, during the mid morning refreshments break. In an introduction I stressed that the film is not a solution to soft rush control, more a prompt for discussion of managment options which will vary from site to site. If anyone is interested the film is also available as a HD DVD, which I’ve produced. Just drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
Colin, Andrew and John then brought everyone up to date with the work that the steering group has been carrying out, in particular aspects of the constitution of the group ( which is available should anyone like to view this as a pdf); the options for membership of CMG; and the events programme that has been arranged for the rest of the year.
After more discussion from the floor, Colin introduced Sinead Lynch, the Conservation Officer for Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BCT) in Wales. Sinead’s presentation gave a very clear introduction to bumblebee lifecycles, behaviour, ecology and their importance to ecosystems as vital pollinators. She also stressed how Carmarthenshire, with its existing matrix of small fields, and suitable unspoiled habitat remains one of the hotspots for bumblebees. The UK has about 24 bumblebee species, 6 of which exist as cuckoo or parasitic species on the other species of bumblebees that are required to complete their own life cycles. Sadly though, many of these species have seriously declining populations, and a couple have become extinct in the UK in recent times. Sinead felt that difficulties in identifying and recording some species might mean that in a county like Carmarthenshire, there may well be unrecorded populations of Blaeberry (Bilberry) bumblebee and Shrill Carder bumblebee. The BCT has various useful guides to help with bumblebee identification. Click here for more.
Sinead hoped that some of us might start to record bumblebees regularly, in particular by doing a regular bee walk. There is more on this which can be accessed by clicking here.
After a few more questions, Colin thanked Sinead and called the meeting to a close just after 1 pm.
It was really encouraging that 45 people paid up on the day, the first opportunity to register membership, and that this will form the foundations of a vibrant group as we move into the summer.
I know that a couple of people contacted me before the meeting saying that they were unable to attend, but would still like to join the CMG, so if you look on the separate CMG membership page, you’ll find out now how you can do this. Everyone’s support for the fledgling group is indeed very much appreciated.
By way of a brief postscript editorial, I’d like to briefly mention a few points:
Firstly if you’re not already “following” the CMG group on this site, you can do, by clicking on the “follow” button on the right hand side of the blog post page. This will mean that you’ll automatically get sent any new information that gets published here, and so keep you up to date with what’s going on.
Secondly, Laurence has set up a Carmarthenshire Meadows facebook page, which aims to do the same sort of thing, so if you’re a regular FB user, this might be another way to stay in touch. Click here for the site .https://www.facebook.com/groups/419022235103533/
Thirdly a reminder that if you’re a meadow owner and would like your meadow to feature on the Meadow Gallery pages of this website, then do click here to read how you can do this – you don’t have to answer all the questions, but the pages aim to gradually build up a picture of what a variety of meadows there are in the county.
Finally, one of my regular gentle reminders that it would be great to have any news items, or stories that members would like to share. I’ve set up and managed this website now for a couple of years, and input quite a lot of words and photos with the hope that it might help the group to grow and establish a formal membership. The risk with this was always that it’s perceived as an ego trip. I have my own personal blog where I can more appropriately indulge myself, so now that we have a formal membership, I shall only continue to post write ups of events and meetings that I attend and do the general admin, for a site that is now 50% busier than it was just a year ago.
And so I’m looking to our readers, members and meadow owners to provide any other content from now on. Several folk have indeed already done this, for which I’m very grateful, and also made comments on the blog, and they will confirm, I’m sure, that it’s not at all tricky to do….
Just send any text, and accompanying attached jpegs ( PLEASE RESIZE photos to no more than 500KBs) to me, Julian Wormald email@example.com, and I’ll usually manage to format them and get them online within a few days…
Thanks very much for reading and I hope to see many of you again at the NBGW meeting in May.