For the next 2 weeks we will be talking about how the Alderney Wildlife Trust works to both conserve and protect the nature, wildlife and environement of our island.
There are two reserves on the island, which is where we focus a lot of our terrestrial work (this means on the ground, not in a marine environment) and the Ramsar site where many of our seabirds live. Our conservation officer, Rob, will talk later in the week about the work he does with our volunteers on our two reserves and elsewhere on Alderney. Have you ever been to a nature reserve? What was the difference between the habitats there and in a local park or unprotected countryside?
While Alderney is small, our protected sites are still too big to fence off - and there is a lot of debate over whether simply fencing areas off helps wildlife very much anyway! We help conserve the Ramsar site, which includes Burhou (so the habitats of the puffins) by monitoring our seabirds there, promoting the diversity of species we find and removing threats to our native wildlife.
One way we help the marine wildlife in the Ramsar site (and further afield) is by doing beach cleans. This stops waste (especially plastics) ending up in the sea- this stops creaturs getting tangled up in the rubbish and also stops the plastics being worn down into tiny pieces which can be easily swallowed or mistaken for food by fish or seabirds. Even in pristine environemnts they have found plastic wate in the stomachs of dead animals. Can you think what the phrase 'pristine environment' means? Do you think such enviornments really exist any more?
Something we see a lot of here are 'ghost nets'. What do you think these might be?
When some of the team went to the Gannet colonies last weekend they encountered lots of 'ghost nets'. These are discarded fishing nets that get lost at sea. We find many small pieces of net washed up on the beaches. The Gannets collect seaweed for their nests and often mistake bits of ghost net for nesting material and bring it back. The colonies on Alderney are not as badly affected as some gannetries where they send in teams especially to remove nets and untangle chicks to save their lives. We did find some dead from getting caught in nets this time but not too many.
How many different pieces of net can you see in this picture of Gannet chicks?
Some campaigns we are supporting this year are take 3 for 365, 2 minute beach clean and Plastic free July ... More about both of these soon!
Just from their names can you think how these activities will help conserve species and protect habitats from degradation?