Opportunities abound in the Scout training programme to learn about and to participate in conservation activities. Conservation is all about living in a sustainable way, to live now without depleting the Earth's resources for others or for future generations. Increasingly the World is waking-up to our human over-use of energy; emissions of greenhouse gases and consequential climate change; and use of natural resources and the loss of wildlife species and habitats.
Contact: Leslie Williams
This area in Harefield is approximately three and a half acres and is part of a privately owned working farm which has been made available for our use. It is fronted by the River Colne which forms part of the Grand Union Canal and offers the opportunity to reach the site by water. It can also be approached via a public footpath which is at the top of the site and is waymarked from Springwell Lock to the Fisheries Lock.
This very shallow part of the River Colne makes it an adeal area for Pond Dipping and the surrounding flat chalk grassland offers ample opportunity for Nature Study in various forms.
As this is private property we are obliged to register our interests through our Project Secretary to ensure a smooth running of the area for all who use it and out of respect to the owner.
We have produced an introductory booklet which lists a number of ideas and suggestions as to how best the site can be used which will be available below. This includes a Booking Form to visit.
Other details will be e-mailed on receipt and acceptance of your Booking Form.
Please contact Jackey Kershaw (Tel: 01895 472704 or by email).
Although conservation is relevant to all of our activities; the specific badges include:
In addition, the Environment Award can be achieved by sections of the Group working together or with others.
The need for conservation is high and there are many opportunities. Here are some examples:
Why not start by conserving the grounds of your Scout Group or the environment near to where your Scout Group meets? Match this too to the other programme activities. You probably need a mown meadow for games or for practising tent pitching. Perimeter areas could grow a range of suitable trees that are local to your area. A pile of decomposing wood in the shade will be good for insects. If you have a hedge you could get advice on hedge-laying and save the cost of providing a fence. Plant some Alder Buckthorns: they are the larval food-plant of the Brimstone butterfly, a colourful species that had been absent from much of urban north-west London for decades but which is now colonising the area as more Alder Buckthorns are planted.
If you are organising a project to tidy up a local environment, the Big Tidy Up (Keep Britain Tidy Campaign) may be able to help with advice and materials. Contact them via a web search or at www.thebigtidyup.org
Contact your London Borough for their latest information on how the different materials are recycled once they have been collected from wheelie bins.
Find designs for bird and bat boxes from the library or the internet.
Locate wildlife sites near to you by searching on the London Wildweb site: http://wildweb.london.gov.uk/
These Local Sites vary greatly in the provision of access, their size, ownership, the way in which they are managed and their wildlife. Many could be improved and may welcome your help.
The Capital Ring is a recreational path that takes a 115 km route around and within London. The route goes through many parks and some of the Nature Conservation sites. In our area it goes through the Boroughs of Hounslow, Ealing, Harrow, and Brent. To see the route go to: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/walking/localroutes/1160.aspx
(While stocks last quantities of the colour leaflets for sections of this route are available free. The leaflets available are Walk 9 from Greenford to South Kenton; and Walk 10 from South Kenton to Hendon. Contact the County Conservation Adviser for information).
On the edge of the Scout County passing through Harrow, Hounslow and Hillingdon is the London Loop which takes a larger circular route of 241 km walk around London. To see the route go to: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/walking/localroutes/1164.aspx and for the more inner-London Boroughs, see the recreational routes on the WalkLondon website.
Trees are one of the more conspicuous natural features of our London environment. Planting a tree should be part of everyone's growing-up. But there is more to it than that as trees need aftercare in the early years to protect them from weeds; and mammals that will eat their bark (Voles, Rabbits, and Deer). Think about the reason why you are planting the tree: the wildlife value of trees, their contributions towards shade, drainage and as windbreaks; and their produce which may include timber for a variety of uses or for energy. Why not learn about coppicing, or the related skill of hedge-laying? Some varieties of apples were first discovered or cultivated in Middlesex: find out about those with local connections.
For Explorers and upwards there are opportunities to join the Chalfont Heights Forestry Crew.
The BTCV (web search or www.btcv.org.uk) can advise on local conservation projects suitable for various age groups. They also have a number of local groups in London who organise practical conservation projects at local sites and may welcome the involvement of Scouts. These groups are not all listed on the website so contact the London BTCV office on telephone 020 7278 4294 or email firstname.lastname@example.org For 16 years and older, the BTCV organises a range of residential projects throughout the country; and a range of training courses in practical conservation skills: see www.btcv.org.uk or telephone 01302 388 883.
Need a replacement building for your Scout Group or at a campsite? In addition to the standard requirements to meet modern insulation and other building regulation requirements, why not think long-term for the environment. A green roof; solar panels and the potential for feed-in tariffs for surplus electricity that you generate; air-source heat pumps; ground source heat pumps (though camp sites may have the space for the horizontal systems the bored vertical systems may make better use of space in the long-term); and built-in/brick bird and bat boxes. Collect rain water from the roof. And if you need hard-standing around the building (e.g. for parking), seek water-permeable lattice materials that allow grass and wildflowers to grow: it is better for the environment, looks better and will reduce the load of the building on urban drainage systems.