Saturday, 14 September 2013

Moving Mountains Nature Network (MMNN) - Month 1 Progress report

New Dawn Rising: Sunrise over Smestow Valley LNR
A month has passed and time to reflect and plan for the next stage of the MMNN initiative.

The green area between Oxley and Wightwick has been made famous to conservationists across the UK thanks to the ground-breaking treatise "The Endless Village", which in the 1970's had used it as an example of how a linear park could survive and flourish within a conurbation (the study led to the formation of the first Urban Wildlife Group and helped create the other "green corridor" nature reserves up and down the country). (Reference to Angus Dickie's "Smestow Valley Bird Group 1988-2013")

It is quite fitting, therefore, that the members of the former Smestow Valley Bird Group have served to reignite my passion for wildlife, and put the valley back on the map, as providing the launchpad for MMNN.

After months of planning, the launch of the network on 13th August 2013 filled me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, there was the prospect of a dream coming true. My father's prophecy, that I may be able to change the world for the better, felt like it may actually become a reality. On the other hand, despite my appetite and enthusiasm, there lay negative thoughts that the network would fail to attract support or interest from the outset.

As I write this update, my heart is filled with hope. So many people have taken time to understand this initiative, and respond in a positive manner, because of their open-mindedness, commitment and passion for wildlife.

Customer service staff provided vital support in sign-posting and redirecting mail to those actively involved with biodiversity management. Thank you.

"Patch" watchers have joined the network and promoted it so that their intimate knowledge of their local wildlife sites, is shared in order to discover just why wildlife has vanished at such an alarming rate. Thank you.

Council biodiversity officers have provided in-depth information, constructive comment and support for the network. Any fears that MMNN would be just another data collector have been allayed, as it has become seen that the network will serve to coordinate and repeat surveys so as to breathe life into old data sets and promote the creation of trend data for status and distribution that allows evaluation of whether biodiversity  targets are being met at both site and national level. Thank you.

The other concern: that MMNN is repeating the work carried out by the national wildlife organisations, has been removed. The network will actually support these organisations by increasing the uptake of their surveys, and by working towards more coordinated data work in the future that provides them with more trend information to assist future assessments of the State of Nature. Also by working with the "Third Element" through education and media coverage, MMNN will inevitably lead to an increase in the membership for all wildlife organisations.
MMNN: It's role in the U.K. (click to enlarge)

Indeed the national organisations are now showing interest and support for the network. In particular the forward thinking and caring approach of Plant Life and the Woodland Trust has led to the sharing of information, which has been initiated as this progress report is issued. Thank you to their officers for taking the time to follow and understand my cause.

My last thank you will go to the great man himself. As a child I was limited to the greenbelt and old mining works around Norton Canes in Staffordshire, but it was Sir David Attenborough that inflamed the desire for conservation and the protection of this beautiful world's wildlife.

With the commencement of surveys for The State of Nature partners, scheduled to start at member sites from 1st January 2014, my focus is now on membership so that we can obtain official recognition.

You really can make a difference and help discover why the nation's wildlife is vanishing, by sharing your knowledge of your "patches", reserves, parks and other sites of importance to wildlife.

The Great Briton: An impression in concrete at Brandon Marsh Wildlife Trust Reserve
 in Coventry, to add to the millions of impressions he has made in our hearts.
If you support the cause, then please join today and thank you as always for your interest in the MMNN initiative.

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