Green Down Nature Reserve gets £500 reward

Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Green Down Nature Reserve, near Somerton, supports one of the largest populations of the Large Blue butterfly in Europe.  That is why Wessex Water’s Senior Ecologist Mark Doughty will be visiting the Reserve with a £500 Wessex Watermark Award on Wednesday 12th October.

Water Mark Award – (Left to right): Manager for South Somerset, Mark Green and Wessex Water’s Senior Ecologist Mark Doughty

The Watermark Award will help the Trust continue its programme of monitoring, researching and management advice on the East Polden hills which the Large Blue have colonised, since their successful re-introduction in 1992 to the Trust’s Green Down Nature Reserve.

The Large Blue has a unique and specialist lifecycle and is dependent on a particular red ant Myrmica sabuleti which exists only on short grass to maintain optimum temperature in its brood chamber. It is here in the ants’ brood chamber that the Large Blue’s caterpillar is nursed and will finally emerge above ground as an adult butterfly.

Somerset  Wildlife Trust’s, Reserves Manager for South Somerset, Mark Green, had this to say:

“Somerset Wildlife Trust is delighted that Wessex Water are contributing £500 towards the cost of specialist survey and advisory work on its reserves this summer. Following the extinction of the Large Blue butterfly in the UK in 1979, a partnership of scientists, conservationists, local council and private land owners, supported by commercial companies and government agencies,  have worked together to re-establish self-sustaining populations of Large Blues in the East Polden hills in Somerset and the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire. Despite this achievement, the partnership has found it increasing difficult to find funding to continue and develop the project in recent years. The Wessex Watermark Award means that we are able to continue the long run monitoring of the Large Blue populations this year and specialist management advice helps us maintain our reserves in good condition. Although there is still some surveying work still to do, early results indicate that this has been a good year for the Large Blue butterfly.”

The Watermark Award provides funds for environmental projects within the Wessex Water area.  Now in its twenty-third year, it has supported over 900 environmental initiatives. Organised by The Conservation Foundation, all projects are judged by a panel chaired by its President – David Bellamy.

***EVENT ALERT***  from Somerset Wildlife Trust: Somerset’s Coastal Conference: 

Ever wanted to learn more about coastal wildlife?

Have you got an interest in marine conservation?

Seal Pup. Photo credit: Lara Howe
Seal Pup. Photo credit: Lara Howe

Then come along to Somerset Wildlife Trust’s very first one day coastal conference and immerse yourself in watery wonders and wetland landscapes for the day

When:               Saturday 22 October, 10.00am-4.00pm

Where:              St Marys Church Centre, 27 St Marys Street, Nether Stowey. TA5 1LJ

How to book:      Please contact:  Nigel Phillips, Somerset Wildlife Trust Living Coast Ambassador – [email protected] / Tel 01278 732266

Starfish. Photo credit: Amy Lewis
Starfish. Photo credit: Amy Lewis

Topics will include:

Coastal Birds, Marine Mammals, Intertidal and Rockpool wildlife, Fish on our coastal waters, Coastal Plants, an overview of Steart Marshes – the UK’s largest new wetland reserve, a look at the importance of our Marine Conservation Zones – and more on how to get involved with wildlife recording projects and sea-watch events.

The event is open to the general public, wildlife enthusiasts, those who are passionate about coastal landscapes as well as other coastal conservation professionals looking to get an excellent overview of the state of Somerset’s coastal living landscape.

Tickets costs £5 and all profits go to Somerset Wildlife Trust.