I was pleased recently to visit a really interesting scheme initiated by local charity Pond Conservation.
Oxfordshire is very lucky to boast incredibly varied wetlands and natural wildlife, and the charity is doing some exciting work in the promotion and protection of these national treasures.
My visit took place not in an office but at Pinkhill Meadow, Farmoor, in Oxfordshire, where I had the opportunity to visit ponds that have been singled out by the charity as the “crème de la crème of Britain’s freshwater habitats” and to learn more about the range of species and pond vegetation that the site has to offer, and about a new scheme to preserve and protect the country’s ponds and wildlife.
The charity has recently received a welcome funding boost to this effect, in this form of an initial £64,000 in funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). They ultimately hope to receive up to £965,000 in overall funding to extend the programme further.
The funding will go towards an ambitious nationwide scheme aimed at gathering data about pond life across the country, including pollution levels, native species, and wildlife populations. It is also hoped that the project will give communities an opportunity to get out and about and engage with nature in a positive way.
Freshwater and wetlands and the species that they support are amongst the most threatened part of the natural world and it is vital that we protect them. Yet unfortunately unusual species such as the carniverous bladderwort get scant recognition beside the exotic lions, leopards and rhinos that often steal the limelight when it comes to conservation.
Nevertheless they are a very important part of our landscape and it is vital that we do everything we can to protect the biodiversity of freshwater habitats for future generations to enjoy.
The charity is now working to identify five hundred flagship ponds that are deemed to make a unique contribution to the country’s wildlife. As well as Pinkhill Meadow, several other sites in Oxfordshire have also been identified at Otmoor, Little Wittenham, and Fringford near Bicester.
You can find more about the charity and the work they are doing by visiting www.pondconservation.org.uk.