Could you help animals of all shapes and sizes thrive in Somerset?

PUBLISHED: 08:00 14 May 2017

People taking part in a bird survey training course.

People taking part in a bird survey training course.

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An education group and a wildlife trust have teamed up to get more people involved in the protection and preservation of vulnerable wildlife in Somerset.

Somerset Wildlife Trust. Picture: Matt SweetingSomerset Wildlife Trust. Picture: Matt Sweeting

First Ecology and Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT) are now operating new training courses which aim to get people more engaged and understand the environment they live in.

The courses give people the opportunity to discover how to survey different habitats and how to monitor changes to native wildlife in the area – including water voles, badgers, birds and newts.

SWT aims to protect and preserve the county’s vulnerable native wildlife and to encourage a variety of different environments – including wetlands, woodlands, grasslands and meadows – to prosper across different parts of Somerset.

The trust has run for more than 50 years and has more than 18,000 people supporting its work. It is now working with First Ecology – an organisation which delivers the courses – to help achieve its goals through these new courses.

Somerset Wildlife Trust. Picture: Matt SweetingSomerset Wildlife Trust. Picture: Matt Sweeting

First Ecology consultancy manager Helen Ward said: “In a time when there are increasing pressures on wildlife through housing development, it is important to incorporate support for different species.

“But we are now seeing more greenery and landscaping incorporated into the larger developments which is a good start towards supporting our wildlife.

“Now we need more knowledgeable ecologists to get behind it. The people we train go out and make a difference; they learn to evaluate what is around them and we teach them how to recognise evidence of certain species – like for birds it is nests, eggs and food remains – and why they are there.”

The course – which costs £50 – is tailor-made to suit the people who sign up to take part, whether they are novices with an interest in wildlife or post-graduates who want to explore a long-term career in environmental science.

Somerset Wildlife Trust. Picture: Matt SweetingSomerset Wildlife Trust. Picture: Matt Sweeting

A badger survey and mitigation training course will be held at the First Ecology base, in Shipham Road, Cheddar, from 9am-1pm tomorrow (Monday).

There will also be a great crested newt survey training course on May 22 from 9am-1pm at the same site in Cheddar.

For more information on the courses and to book contact Helen Ward on 01823 652425 or 07903 221079 or visit www.firstecology.co.uk or for details about SWT visit www.somersetwildlife.org

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