WMNN Events Summary 2012

In total 278 members of the public and landowners attended 10 open WMNN events. In addition, a number of closed or special events were organised and run by dedicated Trustee, Keith Datchler OBE; increased the total number of individuals reached during 2012 to 350.

Beech Estates Meadow Walks – 3 x Ancient Landscape of Ashburnham Meadows & 3x Orchids & Iron 6 Events between May – June 2012:

All well attended by landowners and members of the public as summer events were lead by Estate Manager and Trustee; Keith Datchler OBE.

Heathfield Agricultural Show Sat 26th May

WMNN with partners and agents, Agrifactors had a busy day talking to over 50 landowners. The wildflower trough with turf depicting Wealden meadows attracted plenty of attention and blended with the stands bright street party theme.  One of the busiest shows to date with sunny weather, as featured in the Sussex Express. Agrifactors won best trade stand for the 4th year running – aided in no small way by our wildflowers and displays!

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The Railway Land Festival 2012 Sat 2nd June

Celebrating 25 years of sustainability, wildflower meadow creation and ‘Naturegain’, this fantastically well attended event entertained 1500 people throughout the afternoon. Participants enjoyed the pavilion, nature reserve, stands and quiz. As a bonus, the created Linklater meadows – coming up for their first anniversary of sowing, were displayed in all their glory behind the colourful Vanishing Meadows exhibition panels.

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WMNN – Bumble Bee Course 21st June

As part of partnerships and our new project work, Dawn Brickwood – WMNN opened the event to encourage monitoring and identifying of meadow fauna. Kindly hosted by The Beech Estate, with speakers including Keith Datchler –Estate Manger, Dr. Nikki Gammans – the Bumblebee Project Officer and Sam Page from Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT).

Kicking off with the ecology and lifecycle (with a few technical difficulties in the lovely old barn) Nikki gave an excellent freestyle explanation. Accompanying Sam they outlined identification characteristic using specimen bumblebees, solitaries and mimics.

Unfortunately the torrential weather prevented the scheduled practical session to ID flowers and bees in the glorious meadows. However, WMNN flora guides were distributed and The Bee Walks Methodology was introduced and the 13 landowners/ officers all signed up for future trial recording of local bees in meadows to submit their results to BBCT.

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RBG Kew, Flora Locale and WMNN – Seed Collecting & Use 6th July

The day course reviewed the science and practice of collecting, preservation and use of seeds.  Using semi-natural habitats at RBG Kew Wakehurst Place, seed was harvested and quality-assessed by the 15 attending officers and individuals at the Millennium Seed Bank laboratories.  After lunch, grassland enhancement techniques and results were demonstrated and discussed in practice in Bloomers Valley.

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RBG Kew – Landscape Launch of UK Native Seed Hub 17th July

WMNN attended the celebratory opening of the main production beds of the UK Native Seed Hub, a new visitor attraction for Kew at Wakehurst. The launch event was a celebration of the huge amount of work delivered by horticultural and Millennium Seed Bank staff at Wakehurst. Using considerable skills, they have germinated a number of local Weald wildflower species, as part of their Esmée Fairbairn Foundation funded project.

It was a momentous day with our own Keith Datchler OBE and Trustee, proud to be asked to officially open the site. For the last two years under our Memorandum of Collaboration with RBG Kew-Wakehurst, we been privileged to support this valuable project, which primarily was developed to illustrate and bulk up key native wildflower species.

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