GOING GREEN – April 2024

By Diana Barnett

There is a legal requirement that all county councils have to produce a Local Nature Recovery
to show how they intend to improve biodiversity in their counties. The County Council are
currently running regular workshops explaining the state of Oxfordshire’s nature and gathering
views from the participants about what we consider important in our localities. The Council want as
many of Oxfordshire’s stakeholders to be part of the conversation – residents, businesses, parish
councillors, land owners, conservationists – all of us. They have completed the first phase of this
information gathering on important local habitats and are planning on using this to inform the next
stage of the Strategy. Keep a look out for more news on this if you want to have your say about the
nature in our area.

TVERC stands for Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre where anyone can send in
information about the biodiversity they come across in the area. Recently three Greener Henley
members attended a conference they hosted about surveying and recording to help gain a better
picture of the wildlife on our doorstep. There is a UK wide pollinator monitoring scheme (PoMS)
where they want volunteers to do 10 minute Flower-Insect Timed Counts from 1 st April to 30 th
September. See www.ukpoms.org.uk for information.

Did you sow some wild flower seeds in the Autumn as part of Henley’s Nature Squared campaign to
feed our pollinators? If so, has anything shot up yet? Please send us any photographs of your
flowers and any pollinators you notice feeding on them or upload them with the #Nature2 hashtag.

We are hoping to start doing some biodiversity surveying this year, so if you are interested in joining
a group to count the particular species that gets you excited, please let us know. We will be running
taster sessions at the Nature Discovery Day on Saturday June 8th at Mill Meadows – our first event
for Great Big Green Week. We are very excited that among the attending conservationists we have
a moth expert, a wildflower expert, butterflies, birds, bats, trees, invertebrate enthusiasts as well as
a wildlife photographer who will show us how to catch those wonderful moments in nature. Make
sure to put the date in your diary and tell your families and friends – you could bring a picnic and
make a day of it.

Since our first Green Screen in Great Big Green Week four years ago, we have built up a good
collaboration with the Regal Picturehouse who show a green –themed film once a month followed
by a small panel and audience Q and A session organised by Greener Henley. These screenings have
become so successful that the idea has been rolled out to other Picturehouses in the country. In
Henley these screenings are proving so popular that the last two films were a complete sell out, so
much so that last month’s film, Six Inches of Soil, was shown twice on the same night.

An excellent British made film, Six Inches of Soil, tells the story of three young people setting out on
their regenerative farming careers. I was pleased to see dung beetles in the film showing just how
important they are in making the soil nutrient rich. The top six inches of soil is what feeds nearly 8
billion people. Yet because of the continuous application of petrochemical fertilizers and the
leaching of pesticides and insecticides into the soil, the nutrient composition which is vital to the
health of all plant growth is being killed.
This means that the diminished nutrient value in the crops is transferred into a variety of food
products eaten by all 8 billion of us. So that over a lifetime we are not consuming enough nutrients
for healthy bodily functions. As the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation say “healthy soils are the
basis for healthy food production”. If you would like to learn more about this read ‘The Age of
’ by Jeremy Rifkin.

This morning the Wildlife Working Group were busy tidying up the area around the pond and stream
next to Mill Lane carpark. Within a couple of hours they managed to coppice some hazel trees and
use the coppicing to weave a new hedge/fence and collect several big bags of litter. The Meadows
are still very waterlogged and only those with good wellies can venture across the field. Despite the
flooding, the hedge we planted across the Meadows in October is coming into leaf, although the
holly whips aren’t looking too happy.

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