We had a lovely day at the Fordingbridge show today. It was our first time at the show and, although it was a relatively quiet day for the show compared to previous years, we spoke to a steady stream of people and met lots of familiar faces from the local community who visit the nature reserve regularly or who had recently visited on a school trip.
We were accompanied by Jo Gore who was representing the partnership project that the Wildlife Trusts are involved in called Source to Sea. The aim of the project is to remove non-native plants from the Avon Valley.
Invasive non-native species upset nature’s balance. If an organism does not have the normal population controls of predation, parasites etc they can multiply rapidly. This means that they out compete native species and threaten natural habitats. The problem is particularly severe along rivers, which provide pathways for infestation. Invasive species on rivers can smother or kill native wildlife, spread disease, cause serious bank erosion, increase flood risk and provide a risk to human health and safety.
One of the non-native plants they are targeting is Himalayan balsam which many teams of volunteers have been helping to remove from river banks over the last couple of months. For more information on the Source to Sea project and to find out how you can help please click here.
We took a selection of pond animals along to inspire people about wildlife and to encourage people to come down to discover their local nature reserve for themselves.
At one point I was amazed when a child passed me a spoon with a dragonfly nymph on that seemed to have a strange green growth on its head. As we watched it became apparent what it was doing. It was shedding its skin! We watched in amazement as each segment shunted down and within a few minutes the dragonfly nymph emerged from a hole behind its head.
The hinged lower jaw is really obvious as it protrudes from the head of the shedded skin.