As most of you will know Blashford Lakes nature reserve is managed by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust one of the many charitable Wildlife trusts around the country that between them manage tens of thousands of hectares of our very best wildlife habitat. As charities we seek donations from supporters, visitors and others to enable us to keep going. Perhaps contrary to the belief of some, membership income only supports a very small part of the work the Trusts do. So it is at Blashford that we ask for cash donations from our visitors, in addition some people also give us useful things like a sack of bird food or their time as volunteers.
At other times we get “Donations” that are less welcome, one such was a large drinks chiller that was “donated” out of the back of a van this morning.
This is one donation that may well cost us a bit to dispose of. However they don’t call me “Sherlock” for nothing (or actually at all), but I have some leads as to how it got there and even where it might have come from. You can watch this space for further exciting instalments!
Dealing with this kind of thing is just one of many ways that we end up having to spend money on the reserve that brings no benefit to either wildlife or visitors, very frustrating and unfortunately not at all uncommon.
The reserve is run as a partnership with the two water company landowners (Wessex Water and Bournemouth Water) and New Forest District Council and they provide the site and pay some of the running costs. However the Wildlife Trust also covers a share of the costs and raises all of the money for facilities such as bird hides, paths etc. and their maintenance.
Our average donation per visitor is about 30p, which annually amounts to just about sufficient to cover the costs of emptying the cess pit, filling the bird feeders and providing a tern raft. It is perhaps not surprising that at a lot of reserves you will be asked to pay £3 or £4 to get in, actually not bad value for half or even a full day out. A few years ago we asked people what they thought a visit to Blashford was worth and the average came out at £3.75, or about the price of a pint of beer or a fancy coffee (or perhaps a not very fancy coffee!). So if you can make a donation when you visit it will be VERY welcome, although we have all the white goods we need, so no more of those please.
Today’s birds were, like the visitors, rather damp, but they included the bittern at Ivy North hide and the black-necked grebe out on Ibsley Water.
Off to go sleuthing………
Tis a shame some mindless idiots dump anything anywhere, let alone on a nature reserve. Unfortunately I think this will increase in the next few years, due to the increased cost of disposal in ‘proper’ sites. The councils don’t help by stopping collection from houses. This is another reason ‘dumping’ is on the increase. The plonker who dumped the cooler, must be deprived of braincells, scrap metal has a value, and if he had taken it to a scrap dealer, he would have a few quid in his pocket.
Donations. We are members, with family membership. I have to admit I don’t always drop some coins in the collection boxes. We deffo did before we joined, so I am wondering if we ‘paid’ more per year when donating on every visit, as to joining and occasional donations. It would be a shame to have to ‘charge to enter’, as this might not encourage visitors. I am sure most visitors are keen to preserve all reserves, but it’s a shame more don’t contribute a little more to boost the funds. I take my hat off to all the staff, and the volunteers who comtribute to the management of the reserve, without whom, the reserve would struggle to keep maintained, and only wish I were able to contribute myself. (health issues don’t permit) I am always willing to contribute photos though, if they can be of help.
Keep up all the good work, both staff and volunteers, and may I take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy, healthy New Year.
Steve (Stich) Michelle.
Thanks for your seasonal wishes. I think you are right about the scrap value, although this is not what it was a year or so ago.
Thank you for your various contributions, and yes photos are always welcome. It is great to hear that you are members of the Wildlife Trust, this obviously benefits not just Blashford but all our work for nature conservation across the two counties. Having a large membership also means that our influence is greater, this means we can give nature a voice that politicians will take some notice of, if we were bigger this voice would grow. I would like to reassure you that we have no intention to start charging for entry to the reserve, albeit that we do need to find more ways to “balance the books” in these tricky times.