Category: Community (Page 1 of 2)

Raffle Winners!

From the EWG@Costons Lane Grand Opening Day!

Lesley selling raffle tickets like a boss!

First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who came out to the Grand Opening and supported EWG@C! I will probably do a full post about that in a few days but I wanted to list the raffle winners asap so we can get people their prizes if they didn’t get a chance to pick them up on the day. If you see your name here and didn’t get your prize on Sunday, please email hello@ealingwildlifegroup.com with the subject line raffle winner, and we can arrange pickup. We also should have some contact info from everyone so if I don’t hear back I’ll get in touch. Also wanted to especially say thank you to Lesley Burgess for doing such a bang-up job helping us with the raffle!


Night Safari with Dr Sean McCormack

Sue Philips #343


Pitzhanger 1 year membership

Fred and Sue #203


David Attenborough Print

Dr Aysha Raza #260


Scented Candle

Kay #237


Bottle of Red Wine

Victoria Williams #176


Hosta

Gemma Holmes #421


Succulent Dish

Rebecca #383


Garden Diary

Lorna #377


Allotment Top Trumps

Sinclair #153


Beeswax Wraps

Allison #275


Box of chocolates

Hannah Smith #387


Bottle of Prosecco

Jimmy #146


Thanks again everyone!

Grand Opening Day Costons Lane

The big day is coming – and we can’t wait for it!

This Sunday (08/05/22) marks a very important milestone for Ealing Wildlife Group: it’s the day we will officially open EWG @ Costons Lane to the public and we’re oh – so very excited about it.

There is still a lot we want to do with our reserve to keep it flourishing, but we’re dedicating the whole day to celebrate how much we have achieved so far and to finally share the progress and benefits of the reserve with the wider community.

We would be delighted to see you there so we can show you around, tell you a bit more about our plans for the reserve and perhaps interest you in some activities (and coffee!).

The big day will be 8th May 2022, from 10 am to 4 pm. We are off Ruislip Rd right across the road from Lidl. For a location map please click here.

All-day activities:

  • plant sale
  • tours of the reserve
  • more info about EWG and our work
  • activities for the kids (pond dipping, face painting, building a bug hotel, and a wildlife treasure hunt!)
  • Refreshment table with cakes, coffee, tea, and juice

1pm: Ribbon-cutting ceremony

2pm: Opening of our bird hide

What is EWG @ Costons Lane?

Back in 2020, EWG took over the old allotment site at Costons Lane with the objective of turning it into a nature reserve and education centre. 

With the help of our amazing volunteers, we were able to transform an unused green space into one full of wildlife (we’ve already spotted different butterflies, spiders, newts, slow worms, bats, solitary bees, and even some frogspawn!).

Before and After

A Sneak Preview

You can read more about Costons Lane here and here

We hope to see you there!

For further information or press enquiries please contact hello@ealingwildlifegroup.com

Save Ealing’s Swifts!!

Swift illustration by @mx.momac on Instagram

One of the biggest thrills of spring is when the beautiful and acrobatic swifts return to the UK after a long and perilous journey from Africa.  They tell us that summer is on its way soon and that all is well with the world.  

The sad fact is that Ealing’s swifts, like swifts across the UK, are in serious decline.  Swifts spend their winter in Africa and return to the UK in April with their lifelong partner and offspring to breed in the same area as last year.  Swifts are used to living alongside humans, but modern building design and the refurbishment of old buildings have been depriving them of the nooks and crannies that they use for nesting sites. 

The Saving Ealing’s Swifts project is to combat the decline of swift nesting sites.  Ealing Wildlife Group is planning to erect 150 nest boxes to boost existing colonies of swifts and attract new colonies. The nest boxes will be sited on public buildings across the borough, with signage to tell the public about these wonderful birds.  The project will boost biodiversity in our borough & engage local communities with the conservation of these birds.

The swifts will be returning in April and May 2022, and so we hope to have the swift boxes erected by March, in plenty of time to help protect and conserve this iconic species for future generations.  Can you help by making a pledge to our fundraising effort?  We need to raise £10,000 in total, including £5000 from our followers which will be matched by Future Ealing.  Every little helps and you can pledge at www.spacehive.com/savingealingswifts.  If you are not able to contribute, there are other ways you can help, by offering your time to support some of our work by volunteering.

Thank you all for your ongoing support and for making Ealing such a great place for wildlife!

Photo by Malcolm Bowey

T-shirt Competition Winners!

Back in June we held a ‘design a t-shirt’ competition and asked you to send in your drawings based on iconic Ealing wildlife.  The competition was run by Neera, a friend of EWG and a local artist, who has done other fundraising activities for EWG in the past.

There were some great entries and, as it was too difficult to choose just one winner, Neera chose two!  The winners are:  Stag Beetle by Neven Makan, aged 9, and Hatchling by Poppy Powell, aged 12.  Congratulations to you both and thanks to everyone who entered.

The winning t-shirts are now READY TO BUY!  They come in child and adult sizes, you can  choose from two print colours, t-shirts are 100% organic cotton and GOTS accredited – perfect for gifts or just for yourself!  Best of all, £5 from the sale of every t-shirt goes directly to EWG to enable us to fund initiatives which help local wildlife.

EWG Chair, Sean McCormack, picked his t-shirt up from Neera last week and was proudly displaying it at Horsenden Apple Day last weekend.

Sean and Neera with one of the winning t-shirts

EWG volunteer Sandra Agar, also went along to see the t-shirts being printed:

A massive thank you to Neera for running the competition and to all of you for buying the t-shirts and continuing to support the work of EWG.

2021 5th Annual Photography Competition is now open!

Mission:

An exhibition of photography to highlight the wonderful nature and wild spaces on our doorstep, celebrating the important relationships between people and local wildlife in Ealing.

“Wake me up before you go go” by Steve Morey Overall 1st place winner 2020

Judging criteria:

We want to explore what nature and wildlife means to you. Everyone sees their surroundings through a different lens, so we want to celebrate diverse personal journeys and individual relationships with nature.

This is not purely a technical photography exhibition; equally if not more important is the portrayal of images that will engage the public with the natural world at a local level in Ealing.

We will judge each photograph impartially, without bias and keeping the mission of the exhibition in mind.

The judging panel consists of a panel of wildlife and/or photography enthusiasts, including members of Ealing Wildlife Group, Ealing Council Park Rangers as well as amateur and professional photographers.

Candy-Coloured fly by Sennen Powell 2020 2nd place Up Close and Personal

Categories:

  1. Community Conservation: Showcase people, projects or places coming together to care for, protect, enhance and conserve Ealing’s natural spaces. Or tell a story through an image that captures what community conservation means to you.  
  2. Abstract Nature: Capture the artistry and magic of nature, which could be the play of light and shadows creating fascinating patterns and shapes, or an abstract image exploring an object’s natural shape and form. This category is wide open so let your creativity go wild!
  3. Urban Nature: It’s incredible what creatures and life shows up in urban environment, so show us where the man-made environment meets the wild.
  4. Relationships with Nature: Capture the meaning of nature and wildlife to you and tell us why it makes your heart sing.
  5. Up Close and Personal: This can be taken literally if you’ve captured incredible detail, it can cover macro photography or you can interpret it as imaginatively as you wish.
  6. Young Wildlife Explorers: This is the under 16s category and seeks to celebrate our young wildlife enthusiasts and engage other young people with nature.
Mike Calden, 2017 1st Place Overall Winner

Submission guidelines:

  1. All submissions must be your own work and by entering you declare you have the legal rights to that image.
  2. Each entrant can submit up to three photographic images to be judged for competition
  3. Submission of entries does not guarantee inclusion in the exhibition.
  4. Entries will be eligible for a first, second and third award in 6 categories as well as placing in the overall winner category.
  5. You should specify which category you are entering; judges will appraise each entry using the categories as judging criteria but may award your photo in another category if deemed fit.
  6. High res original jpeg files to be submitted online at https://ealingwildlifegroup.com/2021-photo-competition/  by midnight on Wednesday 13th October 2021.  Maximum size of images is 15MB.
  7. Entries submitted after the deadline will not be eligible. Late entries cause extra admin and will NOT be accepted.
  8. Excessive manipulation of images is not allowed and will be grounds for disqualifying a photograph. 
    • Types of editing that are not allowed:
      • Excessive vignettes.
      • Artificial borders. 
      • Extreme changes to colour, saturation, light, or contrast.
      • Adding, moving or removing objects, animals or parts of animals, plants, people etc. 
      • The removal of dirt, highlights, backscatter, bubbles, debris and similar.
      • Composites.
      • Painting the foreground/painting out the background 
      • Anything that could be viewed as rendering the image a dishonest representation will be disqualified.  
    • Types of editing that are allowed:
      • Digital adjustments including tone and contrast, burning, dodging, cropping, sharpening, noise reduction, minor cleaning work (e.g. removal of sensor dust or scratches on transparencies/scans, removal of chromatic aberration),
      •  HDR, stitched panoramas, focus stacking are permitted providing that they do not deceive the viewer or misrepresent the reality of nature, or what was originally captured by the camera.
  9. No photos of staged wildlife shots, no captive animals, no dead creatures posed as if alive are allowed.
  10. Photographs must have been taken within the Borough of Ealing within the last 5 years; the exact location is to be included in the submission details.
  11. Please include your camera or phone details (e.g. ‘iPhone 10’ is fine, we have winners every year using phone cameras). List the settings if you wish so others who are interested in technical details can learn.
  12. Your description of the photo is just as important as the photo itself and is part of the judging criteria so please fill it in with more than just a name of species or subject and location. We want to hear the story of the photo and perhaps what it means to you. Failure to provide a good description that will be displayed with your entry may lose you significant points in judging.
  13. By submitting your photo to the competition you agree for EWG to share the image in promotional materials in future, with credit to you, the photographer.
  14. Winners will be announced at the opening of the exhibition in Walpole Park this Autumn and a list of winners will be posted online afterwards on Facebook and our website. We cannot guarantee all winners will be informed individually afterwards, and certainly not before the opening of the exhibition. 
  15. Political agendas are not factored into any part of the judging criteria. Photos win on their own merits.

Good Luck everyone! 🍀😊

EWG’s 5th Annual Wildlife Photography Competition opening soon with brand new categories!

It’s that exciting time of year, for you to go back through your photo archives or get out hurriedly snapping more. Because our photo competition is about to open for entries very soon indeed, for the 5th year running!

And this year we are changing it up a little with some new categories alongside some old favourites. Here they are, so get thinking about what photos you enter. As usual 3 photos per person, they must be from within the Borough of Ealing and taken in the last 5 years. All levels and ages welcome, under 16s have their own category. And many previous winners have been taken on phones so you don’t need expensive gear to take part.

  1. Urban Nature
  2. Relationships with Nature
  3. Up Close and Personal
  4. Young Wildlife Explorers (Under 16’s)

And brand new this year…

5. Abstract Nature

6. Community Conservation

More info to come soon! Watch this space.

Rewilding Ealing, one mouse at a time

Calderglen Harvest Mice arrive in Ealing (Photo: James Morton)

We’ve recently kicked off our ‘Rewilding Ealing’ initiative with the reintroduction of locally extinct and nationally threatened species, the diminutive Harvest Mouse. Also known by its scientific name of Micromys minutus, or the ‘minute micro mouse’, it’s the UK and Europe’s smallest rodent, and the only one with a prehensile tail designed to cling to the finest of grass stalks and vegetation as it climbs.

Last year we outlined the aims, preliminary survey work and preparations for the project in a live webinar, recording available to watch here:

We were thrilled with the reaction to our crowdfunding campaign to raise funds not only to source mice in large numbers for release but also allow us to buy equipment and housing for our very own captive breeding facility. We asked our community of wildlife fans to sponsor a mouse for £10 and reached our target within days. The crowdfunder, which is still open to donations to support our borough wide conservation efforts, can be found here:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ealingharvestmice?utm_term=V7VrrkVVn

We’ve partnered with Calderglen Zoo in East Kilbride near Glasgow who have been breeding Harvest Mice, and a few weeks ago delivered our very first mice to be released as well as to form the foundation of our own captive breeding colony.

And since the initial release we’ve had quite a bit of interest and coverage including BBC London and Scotland news. Check out the release and see these amazing little rodents being set free into the wild after a potential absence of 30-40 years from our borough here:

(Featured image: James Morton)

PRESS RELEASE:

For immediate release

For press enquiries contact:

Heidi Cullip

07989 471 584

heidicullip@gmail.com

Group reintroduces the threatened Harvest Mouse back to London!

Harvest Mice are set to be released in a new location in London by a local community group in Ealing, West London – bringing the rodents back to the area for the first time in decades.

Harvest Mice are Britain and Europe’s smallest rodent, and, in recent decades, these miniature mammals have undergone rapid declines due to changes in land management nationwide.  The mice live mainly in grassland areas and eat seeds, fruit and invertebrates and build their spherical nests high up in tall grasses.  

Reinstating the harvest mouse population is important for a number of reasons but, most significantly, their presence in the Ealing area can support the wider food chain and will be a welcome addition for Ealing’s growing populations of birds of prey including Barn Owls, Kestrels and Little Owls.

Local community group, Ealing Wildlife Group (EWG) are behind the project.  EWG are focussed on bringing nature back to urban areas and have spearheaded a number of other successful projects in the area including driving the increase in bird of prey species nesting in the borough.  

In order to release the Harvest Mice, Ealing Wildlife Group (EWG) successfully crowdfunded their project to purchase hundreds of captive bred mice from one of the UK’s leading rewilding experts and set up small breeding colonies of their own. The plan is to release the mice into the wild over the next couple of years.

Sean McCormack, Chair of local conservation community Ealing Wildlife Group (EWG), believes that communities and councils can work together to create suitable space for nature, and the Harvest Mice reintroduction project is just the latest in a long line of projects being spearheaded by EWG.  Dr McCormack said:

“After extensive surveying of likely locations in Ealing, we believe Harvest Mice are locally extinct here due to historic habitat loss and fragmentation.  Over the last few years however, there has been an effort to manage some of Ealing’s green spaces more sympathetically for nature.  What this has done has enabled several sites within the borough to now have habitats suited to the reintroduction of Harvest Mice.”

After holding a webinar with the local community to outline the details of the project, McCormack set up a crowdfunding page to help fund the reintroduction – asking funders to ‘sponsor’ a mouse for £10.  The money raised will go to buying mice from a responsible breeder, one who supplies many rewilding projects with rare and threatened native wildlife, plus equipment for setting up some small breeding colonies of their own – enabling EWG to continue releasing mice into the wild in Ealing over the next couple of years. 

EWG are also partnering with a number of conservation organisations already breeding Harvest Mice including Calderglen Zoo in East Kilbride near Glasgow, who have supplied the first cohort of mice to have been set free into the wild in Ealing.

EWG will also spend an extra £500 on Longworth live mammal traps, enabling the harmless monitoring of small mammal populations in Ealing.  This monitoring will ensure the habitat management continues to be successful and that populations of the harvest mice, as well as other small mammals such as voles and shrews, can continue to thrive for years to come.

Fundraising has been incredibly successful and the £2,500 target was hit within days of set up however, if you would like to contribute to this exciting urban rewilding project, you can find the Harvest Mice Reintroduction page here.  

If you would like to watch the Harvest Mouse webinar to hear more about this exciting project, you can find it on YouTube: youtube.com/c/EalingWildlifeGroup/ 

About Dr Sean McCormack

Sean McCormack, vet and Chair of local conservation community Ealing Wildlife Group is passionate about nature and biodiversity.  He has a large instagram following and offers content across a variety of topics (animal welfare, biodiversity and allotmenting).  He also showcases some of EWG’s practical conservation projects on their highly subscribed YouTube channel. Sean hosts the popular podcast ‘Sean’s Wild Life’ talking to relevant experts and celebrity guests to explore topics in nature conservation, rewilding, sustainability and our connections to nature.

Instagram:  @thatvetsean

https://drseanmccormack.com/

About EWG

EWG is an inclusive community of locals interested in nature and wildlife in the Borough of Ealing and beyond.  Set up in early 2016 by Sean McCormack, a vet and lifelong naturalist, the overall aim of the group is to build a community of like-minded individuals, who are passionate to learn more about nature and who see the value in actively conserving it.  Since 2016 it has grown steadily in membership and secured funding for several community environmental projects.  The main hub of activity and discussion remains the Facebook group, where members can truly appreciate the diversity of wildness on our doorstep through others’ observations and posts.

Our AGM & new roles available

We are delighted to be getting back up and running with events and new projects as life slowly returns to normal.

As part of our requirements as a Community Group we must hold an Annual General Meeting.  This year the AGM will be on Zoom on Thurs 8th July at 7pm – and everyone is invited!

2020 held back many of the projects we would have liked to have made progress on, so now we need your help to move forward and gain momentum as a local conservation organisation harnessing the power of community and collaboration. 

The AGM will be looking at essentially who we are as an organisation, what we’ve been doing in the community and what we can achieve in the future.  It is also an opportunity for us to focus on specific projects and restructure our committee, including bringing on some new volunteer roles. 

New volunteer roles

I would love to build the EWG team, enabling us to grow and continue to do great work for wildlife and people in Ealing. We have two exciting new volunteer roles to join us as officers on the team.  If you are interested, please have a read of the following job specs and bring any questions along to the AGM – the closing date for applications is Fri 16th July.

Events Officers – there is more than one position available

Volunteer Officer

Ealing Wildlife Group Collage

Agenda

The AGM will be run on Zoom (details below). There are 100 spaces available and they are being allocated on a first come, first served basis. You do not have to sign up for the event, simply join the Zoom meeting on Thurs 8th July. The AGM will start at 7pm.

The agenda will be as follows:

  • 2020 review
  • Financial report
  • Board Structure and new roles
  • Aims for EWG as a Community Group going forward
  • Open Q&A

Please do join if you can so you can take part in the Q and A session afterwards.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Sean and the EWG team

 Zoom details

Ealing Wildlife Group is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Ealing Wildlife Group AGM
Time: Jul 8, 2021 07:00 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82280218635?pwd=NlBLMFBqL0pvQS9SV0ZES2FKZVpWdz09

Harvest Mouse by Amy Lewis, The Wildlife Trusts

Mental Health & Nature

“Nature is so central to our psychological and emotional health, that it’s almost impossible to realise good mental health for all without a greater connection to the natural world.”

Mental Health Foundation.

It can’t have escaped many people’s notice that the theme of last weeks’ Mental Health Awareness Week was nature, during which the Mental Health Foundation reported that 70% of UK adults said ‘being close to nature improved their mood’. This certainly resonated with me. 

I work for a large corporate company, and through my job I have had the opportunity to train as a mental health first aider and helped set up the company’s Mental Health program. Talking about mental health and breaking down the stigma of mental illness is hugely important to me after I supported my husband through a long period of mental ill-health and hospitalisation.  

Nature is also a passion of mine, and its importance in my own mental health became apparent following the death of my Dad 14 years ago. Struggling with grief and depression, I found immense relief when completely absorbed in nature; usually observing birds, listening to them and learning their songs. Through spending time in nature, finding comfort in the cyclical nature of life, I was able to find my way back to good mental health. Now, whenever I feel particularly stressed or sense a low mood creeping in, I get myself over to Warren Farm and spend time listening to the skylarks and yaffling woodpeckers and looking for kestrels. It never fails to revitalise me. Over the last four years I’ve benefitted from the knowledge and support of the EWG community on Facebook, or even better, joined a volunteering day. 

At work, whilst planning the program for Mental Health Week an event with Sean seemed the perfect fit, and the response from the business was incredible. With more than 80 people joining the video call, Sean had a captive audience listening to him share his own story of mental health, from his career as a vet to how and why he created EWG. The response to Sean’s talk has been fantastic, with employees planning a nature garden and setting up volunteering days with EWG and other nature groups. My own team are desperate to join a bat walk (followed by a visit to the pub after 😉). 

Thinking about the connection between good mental health and Nature has reminded me of how lucky I am to live in the Ealing borough with such amazing access to green spaces, and to have the EWG share their knowledge of the extraordinary biodiversity in the area, as well as offer a place where like-minded people can come together and share their love of nature.

Costons Lane Nature Reserve Update

Where we were in 2020, where we are now, and where we are going in 2021

Male Emperor Dragonfly

It’s been awhile and circumstances have slowed everything down but things are still moving forward at Costons Lane!

The weather and Thames Water have delayed the pond building until we get the go ahead from TW and it dries out a bit, but we have been working on other aspects of the project! The contractor has lifted the gate (so it opens now!) and will be building the platform for our building and the paths in the front half. Once this work is complete and restrictions lift, we can have volunteer days again! Our first task will be create the wildlife garden. And once the platform is complete we can order our beautiful green roofed recycled shipping container and finally give Ealing wildlife Group a home of its own!

Common Carder Bumblebee and a Bramble blossom

Of course the first priority of a nature reserve is to provide a place for nature to thrive and CLNR is no different. We had a bioblitz last summer, the first of many, to see what kind of plants and animals call it home. As expected most of what we found were insects and arachnids which is very good as the UK is catastrophically losing insect life! We had a few ladybirds, several species of tiny parasitic wasps, two kinds of grasshopper, leafhoppers, dock bugs, blue flea beetles, dragonflies, many different butterflies, bumblebees, honey bees, several spiders we don’t know what they are yet and a few wasp spiders which are always exciting! You can see the full gallery of critters below, the ones we know are named, if you think you can identify any of the others or think we may have got it wrong leave a comment below!

Wood Pigeon in a nest

As for birds we saw and heard robins, starlings, house sparrows, wood pigeons, and a red kite and sparrowhawk over head! On different occasions we have also heard wrens, green finches, and black caps as well! No amphibians or reptiles yet, but creating the pond should help the amphibians and of course we plan on building habitat for slow worms and if we are lucky maybe even grass snakes! The mammals we found were grey squirrels (of course,) a curious fox, and a few pipistrelle and soprano pipistrelle bats. We were expecting more bats but again the pond will create food and should attract more, most we saw seemed to be on their way to the river where food is plentiful.

Ranger Jon and some of our volunteers

Throughout the summer and early autumn we had several volunteer days, while it was still allowed and safe to do so. The first one was the biggest, with 30 volunteers and the help of the Ealing Park Rangers we moved enormous amount of rubbish out to the entrance to be picked up later! The area was originally an allotment site (abandoned 20 years ago because of the constant flooding) so much of the rubbish was bits and pieces of old allotment detritus. Unfortunately, it was also used as a fly tip so we found toilets, shopping trolleys, old footballs, shoes, batteries, you name it! Park rangers Jon and James cleared a path around the site with a giant mowing machine and later it will properly mulched. Our second two volunteer days were mostly clearing brambles from the area we plan to turn into a meadow to replace the meadow that will be lost when we build the pond. We still found and moved a tonne of rubbish we even found a bathtub! Then the lockdowns came and the weather turned and volunteering stopped for the winter.

Ranger James carving out the path

So where do we go from here? Anticipating the lockdown easing up in the spring, we will continue to have volunteer days, starting with the wildlife garden. And also exciting news, we have got two shipments of free trees from I Dig and the Woodland trust, so we will have to plan a planting scheme and get planting them out! Then working around the heavy works of pond building and path laying, we will build the bird hides and the pond dipping platform. I plan on setting up a spring bioblitz, as at Boles meadow I’d like to have a bioblitz in every season. After the large projects are complete, it will be different tasks, building and installing bird and bat boxes, different feeding stations, increasing the diversity of plants and micro habitats, and seeing how we could increase our connectivity to other green sites in the area. Later as the building is installed, we hope to build a deck around it to give us more space to teach, and have community events.

So that’s about it, progress is slower than we would like but not too bad considering the circumstances. As always, if you would like to volunteer, pop us am email at hello@ealingwildlifegroup.com and put volunteer in the subject heading and let us know what you would like to do. It may be a while until you hear anything back because of lockdown but hold tight and rest assured your help is very much wanted and appreciated! Hope to see you all in the spring!

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