IT'S NOW A FEW YEARS SINCE OUR 25TH ANNIVERSARY IN 2008 BUT HERE'S AN IDEA OF HOW WE CELEBRATED BACK THEN. LOOKING FORWARD TO OUR NEXT MAJOR MILESTONE!!
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2008 - Our 25th Anniversary year!
From The Chairman:
Year Start 2008: Just for once January was not merely a dreary month to be spent dreaming of lighter nights and sunny days. It was the start of an exciting time for Maple Lodge; it is our 25th Anniversary year (2008) and we are full of lots of ideas to celebrate this auspicious event.
There are three objectives for this year; to enhance the reserve and make it an even more attractive place for our wildlife and our members; to persuade more members to become involved with the work of the reserve; and to spread the word about our superb reserve to as many people as we can and thereby gain more members.
So how are we going to set about meeting these objectives? You will see from the rest of this newsletter some of the things we have planned. I hope you will come and enjoy events that we are hoping will attract your support and the attention of a wider public.
More than ever the reserve needs YOU if we are to continue to grow and develop for another 25 years. I think it is unlikely that I shall be around to see our 50th, but our plans are looking ahead to that day. We shall be planting trees that will be here when that day dawns, just as our predecessors did for us, and making long term plans for the reserve. Come along, be part of that future and sponsor one of those trees.
I am looking forward to all the things that we are planning for this year. Get out your diaries and make a note of the dates now. We shall be keeping you in touch with newsletters, notices in the clubhouse and via this website.
Happy New Year and good birding to you all.
Mid Year: We are half way through our Anniversary Year, so it seems like a good moment to tell you how things are going.The reserve now has 150 more trees thanks to your help and generosity; there are more bird and bat boxes installed, again thanks to you.
The events have been well supported, especially Open Weekend. The committee decided to go all out to get more publicity for the Society, so we have featured in several local community magazines including a very nice article in Optima. These features have brought many enquiries which have led to new members. If you are one of our new members, may I take this opportunity to say a very warm welcome to you. I hope you are enjoying the reserve in its Summer dress; I promise you it looks just as good throughout the year.
The weather realised how important Open Weekend is to the Society and gave us two glorious days. We had a record number of visitors and our membership is now at an all time high; I do hope all will renew next year. The delightful photographs taken by Steve Carter were turned into attractive cards by Keith and Jan Pursall and sold well; our Maple Lodge china mugs are also proving very popular - buy yours now while we still have some left!
On the 9th August members of the public will again have the chance to come and see our delightful reserve. After we have shared the reserve with our visitors and they have all gone home, there will be a special event just for members. From 7:00pm come and enjoy the reserve on a summer evening, join us for a barbecue, light buffet and the cutting of our anniversary cake and drink a toast to the next 25 years. We shall provide soft drinks for the drivers but if you want to bring something alcoholic, feel free. There will be a small charge for this event - bring friends if you wish - but come along and let's celebrate 25 years of successful conservation. If our luck holds out and we have a fine evening it should be a really pleasant event. I look forward to seeing you all.
October: As our soggy summer squelches to an end it is time to review our Anniversary Year so far. The only good thing we can say for this year’s wet and woeful weather is at least we have not had to worry about our newly planted trees; they have had a good watering, so they should be well established and ready to grow away next year.After the brilliant sunshine for our Open Weekend all I was hoping for was just one more fine day for our Anniversary Day. Well, you can hope. The committee gathered early in the morning and wondered if anyone else would appear or would they spend the day drinking tea and chatting to each other. To our surprise a steady stream of visitors arrived and we were kept busy all day giving guided tours and handing out membership forms and taking in membership money. Nature lovers are a hardy lot and will not be put off by a little rain.
The article in the Optima magazine brought us a great deal of interest; many of our visitors have mentioned it as the reason they came to see the reserve. Several other articles in local magazines have also been useful to us. We shall continue to use any opportunity to keep the Society in the public eye in every possible way. The two new display banners we have acquired attracted attention when we used them at the Colne Valley Festival weekend at Denham Country Park. The Society is extremely grateful to Ryan Simms for the work he did for us producing the graphics and saving the Society money.
The greeting cards created from some of the photographs submitted to us have been very popular - look out for the latest designs coming soon! Our challenge now is to ensure that we do not sit back and rest on our success. We must continue to spread the word about the Society and the reserve. Membership subscriptions keep the reserve looking as good as it does and enable us to improve facilities for both the wildlife and the members.
One final word - Mr and Mrs Tyto Alba are delighted to announce the fledging of their offspring Swoop and Glide or to put it another way, our Barn Owls raised two owlets in the owl box. Many members have enjoyed seeing these beautiful birds around the reserve and we hope that they will be back next year. Continue to enjoy the reserve as it slips into Autumn and Winter and we look forward to another year.
Jan 2009: This time last year we were looking forward to the start of our Anniversary year, and what a year it turned out to be! January is a good time to start looking forward to whatever the new year will bring but I want to begin with a brief look back at our Anniversary year. Thanks to your generosity we now have many more trees on the reserve, sponsored by you, many more bird and bat boxes, sponsored by you and, with your help and support, many new members. Thanks to an intensive publicity drive we have featured in a number of local publications so more and more people are hearing about us. The result of this is that our membership has topped 300.If you are one of our new members who joined the Society this year, welcome, I hope you are enjoying the reserve and all its charms. If you are one of the members who have been supporting us for many years, thank you, we could not continue without you.2009 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin (with whom I share a birthday) and while we may not have evolved any new species at Maple Lodge I think the reserve that has evolved over the last 25 years is a credit to all those volunteers who are, and have been, responsible for the way it looks now. It will continue to change yet stay the same in many ways. We still have plans for more developments for the coming year; and we make sure that both the wildlife and our members benefit from our efforts. If you would like to help with all the work that keeps the reserve looking so good then please feel free to join the work party on Saturday mornings. The Conservation Officier will be delighted to see you.So welcome to 2009, our 26th year, it’s going to be another good one.
Did You See? If you visited the reserve during the course of the year, then you may have been lucky enough to see some of these visitors to Maple Lodge:
In February and March a pair of Reed Buntings were regular visitors to the feeders outside the Clubhouse
For a few weeks in April and May an Oystercatcher took up residence on Lynster’s farm; this was joined on more than one occasion by a pair of Shelduck
About the same time an Egyptian Goose put in an appearance, also on Lynster’s farm
A male and female Garganey were present on the reserve from early April to early May; a Garganey was also seen last year, so perhaps we might look forward to another visit next year?
A Little Egret was seen on the reserve at various times during the Spring and Summer
In June a pair of Shoveler produced a brood of six – a rare occurrence for Maple Lodge
In July Marbled Whites could be seen around the wild flower meadow
Kingfishers bred this year; during August you could watch from the Clubhouse Hide as the adults and young dived for fish.
So What’s Happening? We are planning a wide range of events and activities to commemorate our 25th Anniversary. We hope that everyone will feel that there is some way in which they can contribute in order to make this year a real success.Some of the things we shall be organising are:
A photographic competition Tree planting Bird and bat box sponsorship A Moth Night and Morning 25th anniversary day and barbecue Renovation of the reserve
Photographic Competition Starts Now! This will run throughout 2008, the aim being to compile a pictorial record of our anniversary year.
All members are invited to submit photos they have taken on the reserve. The best photos taken each season will be displayed in the clubhouse. At the end of the year the “best of the best” will be converted into greetings cards to be sold for the benefit of the society.So, start taking your photos now! The Winter best will be displayed in the clubhouse at the end of March.
Mid year update: The best of the Spring photos are now displayed in the clubhouse, so it’s time to start capturing those special moments that typify Summer on the reserve.We have had some excellent photos taken over the last 6 months and we’re looking forward to more of the same over the second half of the year.
October: A selection of members’ Summer photos will be displayed in the clubhouse at the end of September, so it’s not too late to get those last minute entries in! Then it will be time to capture images of Autumn on the reserve and these will be displayed at the end of December. We will choose the “best of the best” at the end of the year and award prizes to the winning photographers.
Please submit your entries to Gwyneth Bellis or Keith Pursall.
Photo Competition Prizegiving! The winners of last year’s photograph competition were presented with their prizes on Wednesday, 18th February 2009 at 6:30 p.m. in the Penn Chamber at Three Rivers District Council Offices in Rickmansworth. The prizes were presented by some of the local councillors and all Society members were welcome to attend.There is currently a display of some of the photographs in the foyer of the council offices.A very big thank you to everyone who submitted photos last year!
The winners in each category were:
The Reserve - Joe Crump The Wildlife - Ian Curran and Jim Ryder Photo for our New Brochure - Steve Carter Congratulations to all.
Dates For Your 2008 Diary In addition to all our usual Walk & Talk events (see events page), we are planning a number of special events. So put these dates in your diary now, so that you don’t miss out! Events and dates in grey have now passed.
25th Anniversary Open Weekend – Saturday and Sunday, 10th and 11th May 2008 Our usual Open Weekend, only more so! We’re hoping to attract a lot more interest this year because it’s our anniversary, with articles in local newspapers etc.
Moth Night and Morning – Saturday and Sunday, 7th (9pm) and 8th (10am)June 2008 This was one of our most successful Moth Nights. Organised to coincide with National Moth Night (see www.nationalmothnight.info), a number of members came either on the night to see the moths as they were trapped, or the following morning to see what was caught. Some people who previously hadn’t taken an interest in moths (“nasty things that buzz round lights”) were amazed at the beauty and variety of those on display. One of particular interest was the tiny Cream Bordered Green Pea, a moth that is rarely seen. You can find out more about moths at www.mothscount.org
25th Anniversary Celebration Day – Saturday, 9th August 2008 Instead of our usual Discovery Day, we have decided to have a Celebration Day with activities for all during the day and a barbecue in the evening.
Maple Lodge Christmas Cards!
As the greeting cards have proved so popular, we are going to produce a few Maple Lodge Christmas Cards. These will be created from some of the photos submitted by members and will be on sale at the next two Walk & Talks in October and December:
Walk & Talk – Sunday, 12th October, 2:00pm 2008
The next Walk & Talk will be “looking at Berries & Fungi”. This will be followed by tea and home-made cakes in the clubhouse. So, come along and improve your knowledge of what grows on the reserve!
Walk & Talk – Sunday, 7th December, 10:00am 2008
The last Walk & Talk of the year will be “identifying Winter Birds”. Hopefully, there will be a good mix of residents and winter visitors – certainly, some of the waders should be here by then. And after the walk there will be the now traditional mulled wine and mince pies on offer in the Clubhouse!
Improving The Reserve in 2008 We have several activities planned which are aimed at improving everyone’s enjoyment of the reserve.
It will only cost you £10 to sponsor a tree. The locations of sponsored trees and the names of sponsors will be displayed in the clubhouse.Contact any member of the committee if you would like to sponsor a tree.
Plant A Tree Day – Saturday, 16th February 2008 On “Plant A Tree” Day you can actually plant it yourself! Or, if you feel that digging is not for you, there will be plenty of other tasks around the reserve where you may be able to help. Because we’re hoping a lot of people will visit the reserve this year, we want to make sure it’s looking its best. So come along and lend a hand – even if it’s only for an hour.
Spring Into Action Day – Saturday, March 8th 2008 This is another day to make sure that the reserve is looking its best for all the visitors we’re hoping to attract this year. In addition to the usual range of tasks undertaken by “Derek’s Land Army”, we’ll be tidying the clubhouse, sprucing up hides, and putting up new signs and notices.So, “spring into action” and come along to the reserve, if only for an hour or two – you’ll be made to feel very welcome!
Sponsor A BoxYou can sponsor a bird or bat box for £5. The locations of the boxes and the names of sponsors will be displayed in the clubhouse. Contact any member of the committee if you would like to do this.