In this bat group newsletter, we have:
- Help mark His Majesty The King’s Coronation and take part in The Big Bat Help Out.
- We held our AGM recently, read the minutes, and find out about the exciting new projects.
- Loads of batty events coming up.
- The South West Lakes Trust are also taking part in The Big Help Out
- The latest edition of the Bat Group bulletin includes news of early booking discounts for the National Bat Conference 2023.
- Nominations for the Pete Guest Award are now open
- Details of National Bat Conference and Bat Workers Forum 2023
Take part in The Big Bat Help Out!
To mark His Majesty The King’s Coronation the group have registered an event with The Big Help Out.
As part of the Sustainability & Environment goals, we would like to encourage all batty folks in Somerset to take part in a Bat Survey from sunset (8:45 PM) for an hour, on Monday the 8th May 2023.
You can register for The Big Help Out here: https://org.thebighelpout.com/register?orgId=6447cc9a4b18244464b8560f
It is not essential to register, as you can take part in two ways:
- Take part in a BCT Sunset survey, no experience or equipment is required. Details of how to take part: https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/national-bat-monitoring-programme/getting-started/sunset-survey
- For those experienced batty people with recording equipment, record your local bats, and upload the best calls to iNaturalist. Details of how: https://somersetbat.group/bats/count/take-part-individual/
BAT GROUP Annual Meeting
Thank you to everyone who came along to make a very lively discussion at our AGM. You can read the minutes of the meeting below:
Some of the key points discussed were:
Grey long-eared project
Very exciting news. We have been talking about a trap and track project to learn more about the elusive Grey long-eared (GLE) bat for a number of years now, but following a very productive discussion at the AGM, planning is now underway to start this project in 2024. Hopefully, we could make use of the new changes at Natural England that allow up to 5-year licences, so this can be a multi-year project
The actions we agreed on are:
- Colate Somerset GLE records – There are just over a dozen GLE records currently. If you know of any confirmed Somerset GLE records that you are not sure if SBG or SERC have, then please let us know ASAP: firstname.lastname@example.org
- GLE Habitat mapping – Build a Somerset habitat suitability model for GLE. SERC have offered their help with this.
- Apply for NE licence – In autumn ready for 2024
It is early stages at the moment, so watch this space for news, and do let us know if you think you can help with any of the above.
The meeting decided to offer lifetime memberships of the Somerset Bat Group, for a one-off subs payment of £50. This has already been put in place on the website.
If you last paid your membership subs in 2022, your SBG membership lapsed at the AGM. Hence, in this case, please renew your membership now: https://somersetbat.group/join/
Bat Group events coming up!
Lots of events planned for the early season, come along and get involved!:
- Mon 8th May @ 8PM – Drayton Big Bat Count
- Fri 12th May @ 8PM – Frome Big Bat Count
- Fri 19th May @ 8:15PM – Buckland St Mary Big Bat Count
- Sat 20th May @ 10AM – Great Breach Wood and Ham Wall Bat Box checks
- Sun 21st May @ 11AM – Harridge Woods Bat Boxes, and possibly Keepers Bat house checks
- Sat 27th May @ 10:30AM – Levels Bat Box checks
- Sun 28th May @ 11AM – Edford Woods Bat Boxes, and possibly Wadbury Bat house checks
- Sat 17th June – Potential training workshop for NBMP Field Survey (TBC)
- Sat 8th July @ 8:45PM – Castle Cary Big Bat Count
For details on how to join these events please see the Upcoming Events page on our website: https://somersetbat.group/events/upcoming/
SW Lakes Trust – Wimbleball Lake, Exmoor
The group received the following request for help from them:
“I am getting in touch to ask if your bat group would like to help us at South West Lakes by becoming a data collector verifier for our regional Bioblitz on May 8th as part of the Big Help Out? We are encouraging everyone to head to their nearest lake and spend an hour, or more, recording the wildlife they see then sending their records to us. We use all the records people send us to help us manage our sites and we’re encouraging new volunteers to become a part of the work we do. The data we gather will help us understand the wildlife (flora and fauna) present at our lakes on a single day. We may find a new species, one seen regularly or an invasive species… all of this information is so important to us in checking the health of our environment.
We have 40 inland waters across the South West to choose from, so there are plenty of sites in all 4 counties (Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset). We are keeping the bioblitz open for 24 hours so that activities which are best done in the evening or early morning are also suitable e.g bat detecting!
We welcome volunteers of any age! For anyone under 16, consent must be gained from a responsible adult.
We understand that time is precious, so we are just asking for an hour of your time. That might be visiting a lake to record some wildlife, helping our spotters identify their wildlife by looking at photos or listening to audio recordings from the comfort of your own home, or by becoming one of the expert verifiers… it really is up to you.
How to get involved
To sign up as a remote volunteer and verifier, please email email@example.com.
To join in with wildlife recordings, simply follow the following steps:
- Step 1: Pick a location and head to your local lake at any time on Monday 8 May
- Step 2: For an hour (or however long you like), make a note of any species you see and try to take photos if you can! If you’re not sure what species you’ve seen, make some notes describing the animal or plant and take a photo to post on the Facebook group.
- Step 3: (Optional) Join our Facebook group to share your sightings and get help with identification if you need it.
- Step 4: Log your sightings officially with our form. Once you’ve submitted the form, please email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading, and if you do head to one of our sites or chose to help us online, we hope you enjoy your visit!
Emma Scotney, Ecologist, SW Lakes Trust”
Bat group bulletin
The latest edition includes news of early booking discounts for the National Bat Conference 2023.
Pete Guest Award
The BCT sent us details of the award this year:
“We are delighted to let you know that we are now accepting nominations for the Pete Guest Award 2023.
The Pete Guest Award is presented annually to individuals who have made an outstanding practical contribution to bat conservation. The award is presented in memory of Pete Guest, who was an inspirational figure in bat conservation for more than 20 years. Details of the award are on the BCT website at: https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/awards/pete-guest-award.
The criteria for the award include dedication, innovation, enthusiasm and inspiration in making a difference, both to bats and to people, and helping make BCT’s vision become a reality. Previous winners can be seen on the webpage above.
Nominating someone for the 2023 award
If you would like to nominate a fellow bat worker for the 2023 award, please email their name, bat group or organisation and importantly a statement of support (see note below) to Abby Packham at email@example.com. Please also include your name and bat group in the email.
Please note: Nominations cannot be accepted without a statement of at least 250 words on why you think the person deserves the award (relating back to the criteria stated above). Previous years’ statements of support can be seen here as examples: https://bit.ly/41SAOPm.
Deadline for nominations: By 9am on Thursday 22nd June 2023.
Voting for a winner
A list of nominees and supporting statements will be circulated to all bat groups and posted on the BCT website by 6th July 2023. Voting will be done through an online form and is limited to one vote per person. Voting will close at 9am on Thursday 31st August 2023.
Please note the option of postal nominations and voting has been removed. This was approved at the Bat Workers Forum in 2022.
Announcement of Winner
The award winner will be formally announced at the National Bat Conference, 15th – 17th September 2023.
The award winner will also be invited to give their acceptance speech again at the Bat Workers Forum on Tuesday 3rd October 2023.”
National Bat Conference and Bat Workers Forum 2023
The National Bat Conference and Bat Workers Forum will be held separately again this year. The Forum will take place on zoom, the Conference will be a hybrid event, with attendees welcome both in-person at the University of Nottingham and online via zoom. You can find further details online at:
National Bat Conference – 15th – 17th September 2023 (hybrid)
Early booking discounts available until 12th June for in-person delegates.
Bat Workers Forum – Evening of Tuesday 3rd October 2023 (online)
Including the minutes from previous forums, example agenda and terms of reference. Booking is not yet open for this event.
Any questions about the Pete Guest Award or Bat Workers Forum, please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For any questions about the National Bat Conference, please email Naomi at email@example.com.