The JDRF One Walk Cambridge event is taking place again on Sunday 11 June, 2017.
If you haven’t signed up yet, why not get your friends and family and sign up today?
”The One Walk Cambridge is a family friendly event, that has something for all ages and abilities, from the littlest legs to the briskest power-walkers with our 5km or 9km route. Visit our walk village at Christ’s Pieces with refreshments and activities to keep the whole family entertained”.
You can join hundreds of people across the country walking and raising money for type 1 research this Spring! See you there?
There is still funding available for British Science Week during 11th March 2016 to the 20th March, 2016. Both the Kick Start Grants programme for schools with challenges and the Community Grants programme are still available. (If you’re quick…Ed)
Kick Start Grants for schools in challenging circumstances to organise their own events as part of BSW with:
Grants of up to £300 for schools to run an activity.
Grants of up to £700 for schools to host a science event or activity which involves their students and the local community.
The fund does not put limitations on the type of event/activities that schools can provide. This is entirely up to them.
School activity ideas can include:
Carousels of activities from BSA activity packs during lesson time/assembly/lunch time/after school.
Quizzes between pupils, classes or even teachers.
Presentations from invited speakers on science and/or engineering topics.
Community Grants– of up to £500 for community-based groups and organisations that work directly with audiences who are traditionally under-represented and currently not engaged in science activity.
To be eligible, events and activities must:
Target and include hard-to-reach audiences, which include
People who are Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME).
People with low socio economic status.
Young people with anti-social behaviour, including those not in education employment or training (NEET).
People living with a disability.
Girls and women.
People living in a remote and rural location.
Be STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) related.
Require funding in order to take place. (The funding is for events and activities that would not otherwise take place due to lack of funding.)
Raise the profile of BSW in the community or have local and/or broad media appeal.
Situated close to Wicken Fen, this sanctuary, developed from privately held land, is both a successful conservation area and a test-bed for experimental conservation methodologies.
James Page and Andy Dunn gave fellows a guided tour through the conservation landscape, which was both informative and telling about the efficacy of landscape management of this high order. Some of the insights we gained are offered below.
The Project team manage a wide variety of habitats in a relatively small area. The topography of the site falls away from a limestone ridge, which itself is an ancient coral reef, through chalk grassland areas and peat deposits. There is a plethora of lake-side, dyke margin and reed bed coverage across the site too.
Clay banks are used to prevent site inundation, the area being part of the River Cam flood plain. There is an interesting spoil mound, with a track rising to the summit, where viewing ‘hides’ are to be found and the view from the top offers great views of both the whole of the wetlands project area, but also across the surrounding fen and river network.
This surrounding area is typical grass wetland, with some of the tree cover being recently removed, and the new development includes ponds which are linked to the agricultural drainage ditches. The whole water course development is designed to remove straight lines from the landscape. These betray the sites farmland origins, but the additional work also denies predatory birds a clear flight path to their prey.
One really interesting aspect of the grazing management is the deployment of Konic horses, the Polish primitive horse, as well as a small herd of Water Buffalo. This latter creature is adept at exploring the reed beds across the conservation site, and its dietary habits keep the reed beds appropriately cropped and seasonally refreshed…with appropriate site management control, of course.
As a closed site, water management is a key aspect of managing the rise and fall of levels across the seasons. The setting clay banks and ‘elbow pipe’ systems simply divert water which is drawn from a nearby limestone quarry, a simple system which regulates levels and flow across the reserve.
This aquatic draw down from their neighbour allows Kingfishers Bridge to draw in alkali water, which is nutrient free, stimulating the growth of the site’s invertebrate population. The entire site is surrounded by an impressive electric fence, which serves to keep predators away from the reserve areas.
It is clear that this thoughtful, well managed approach to conservation across the bio-chain is a significant constituent to the success of the reserve. This ‘sanctuarial’ approach, with a well managed predator control/exclusion programme, see herons nesting on the site and a wide variety of birds, bats and plant life proliferating to interest the invited visitor.
One wonderful example of how this management expertise can transform the landscape is the Water Germanda (Teucrium scordium L.) The Kingfishers Bridge site held the last twelve plants of the species in the East of England. Water management techniques on the site now see, it is currently estimated, over two million specimens growing in the wider landscape.
We understand the site is keen to develop their support of educational visits from schools. it was profoundly satisfying to hear that the conservation team at Kingfishers Bridge actively engage children and young people in site measurement and surveys. A process which enables children to actively contribute real data to the site management process.
The adult volunteer and supporter is not left out either. Supporters of the project can gain exclusive access to project services, as well as make their own contribution to site surveys and measurements.
Specific development projects are dependent upon sponsorship and the ‘Kingfishers’ team would be happy to explore their current opportunities with interested supporters.
Whether as a Fellow with a bio-science specialism, or as a passionate general supporter of eco-conservation projects, there is much to delight and do in concert with the Kingfishers Bridge team. (We really enjoyed our morning in the Fen..Ed).
As well as the usual grants by region in the UK, offering their traditional support to schools, this year (2015) sees the introduction of community organisation grants, offering those in the community sector working with ‘hard to reach’ communities the opportunity to build new work using science and discovery as a lever to engagement.
Kick Start Grants – grants of £300 for school activities (and up to £700 for schools/communities) in the UK faced with challenging circumstances.
Scottish Grant scheme – grants of £200 for schools and £350 for organisations in Scotland.
Welsh Grant scheme – grants of £200 for schools and £350 for organsations in Wales.
Community Grant scheme (new for 2015) – grants of up to £500 for community-based groups and organisations working with hard to reach groups in the UK whose targeted audience/participants include those not traditionally engaged with science. (These might be people who “..are from the Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic community (BAME); not in education employment or training (NEET); or who live in a remote and rural location”…Ed.)
Although the sums are modest, it is possible with imagination, to see how the seed funding could be used to engage those interested in science, or to give the undiscovered young scientist a chance to take their first step on the road to research, for example.
The Association web site offers the following as eligible activities under the grant scheme.
Presentations from invited speakers on science and/or engineering topics.
Field trips to local science centres, museums or university science departments.
Arranging a talk or workshop with a local STEM ambassador.
Recruiting a freelancer to deliver an arts and science activity.
Fete, family science days, mini festivals, science fairs.
Busking displays run in public venues, such as a supermarket, park or high street.
Debates and discussions with scientists.
At conversationsEAST we really warmed to the idea of a cross disciplinary event, say using musicians, artists and electronic engineers to devise an event using music, graphics and an introduction to audio-visual or web technology. The output of the engagement and learning to be put on the web, or streamed live, or turned into a music CD, for example.
As always, if there any Fellows in the region planning an event, we’d be happy to donate web resources from conversationsEAST to contribute to the work. Just let us know?