On a beautiful late summer’s afternoon in September, the 2016 Volunteers Conference took place at Langford Budville Village Hall, situated right next to the Langford Heathfield Reserve.
CEO Simon Nash welcomed over 30 volunteers and a number of staff and Trustees and gave an overview of the recently published State of Nature report, which highlights the decline in wildlife in some areas and the recovery of certain other species. Simon explained that surprisingly, Great Britain’s biodiversity does not currently fare well in the conservation league table, versus many other countries. On a more positive note, Kiff Hancock our Senior Monitoring Officer and Tim Youngs Director of Land Management gave an update on a the successful wildlife monitoring strategy, which had taken place on some of our reserves over the previous year. The Fundraising Team introduced themselves and their respective roles and described a number of key events which had raised significant funds for the Trust in the year. The Routes to the River Tone Manager, Nick Tomlinson, described a number of very successful community activities which have been taking place all over Taunton and which are continuing until March 2017, when project funding ceases. He explained how Taunton’s urban setting is rich in wildlife and that with thought and good planning, towns and cities can develop and promote wildlife habitats. Simon took the opportunity to warmly thank all Trust volunteers for their effort and commitment to all the varied projects that we undertake together and that much of our work could not be successfully done without them.
After tea and cake, which were much enjoyed by all, Senior reserves Manager David Northcote-Wright and Reserves Assistant Ian Hill led a walk through the Langford Heathfield Reserve.
Feedback from the day was generally excellent, but it has been agreed that next year, we will advertise the conference more widely and in good time and that the venue will be in a more central location, so that our volunteers in the East can more easily attend.