Wild East Devon November news

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Wild East Devon news - East Devon District Council

Congratulations James!

James Chubb

Prompted by the departure earlier this year of Tim Dafforn, the Countryside Team management structure was reviewed and a decision made to roll the two Team Leader positions into a single Countryside Team Manager role. James Chubb was awarded the position after interview last month and now heads up the team overseeing all aspects.

“When I first joined EDDC as Education Ranger in 2003, I couldn’t have imagined one day heading up the team, but it really is a dream come true.” Explained James.

A spell of eight years as Education Ranger saw James develop schools, public engagement and events work within the team, working closely with the Nature Reserves Officer to help develop the vision for Seaton Wetlands on the Axe Estuary.

“After eight years, I had realised that practical sites management was something I really wanted to undertake and so I took the decision to move on and develop skills in this area.”

Spells at The Donkey Sanctuary and in commercial farming followed, before James moved back to East Devon taking on the Team Leader role responsible for the Council’s sites.

“The Countryside Team is fortunate to be responsible for some of the most special wild places in the District,” said James “and to be asked to oversee and undertake the practical work to maintain and enhance these Local Nature Reserves has been an absolute privilege.”

James’ move into the new Manager role has coincided with a number of the team leaving for pastures new, however this has created the opportunity to reappraise the roles within the team to ensure that priorities and commitments mirror those of the Council Plan and that efforts are being channelled into the right outcomes for the community and for nature in our District.

“There are some really exciting new projects on the horizon,” explained James. “Nature Recovery is now firmly at the heart of national and local policy, and the team are in a good place to respond to this pressing need to help biodiversity on our doorstep. From the next step in the evolution of the Seaton Wetlands project, to the return of beavers in Honiton town centre; continuing legacy work from our Wild Exmouth project, to delivering an entirely new scheme of work for Wild Honiton, it’s an exciting time to be taking on this new challenge!”

Good luck Meg!

Goodbye Meg!

"I have been lucky enough to work with the Countryside team for more than 10 years leading events, outdoor learning and a huge variety of community engagement projects ranging from wild swimming in Sidmouth to teacher training in Exmouth. I will be sad to leave a great team of colleagues and amazing team of volunteers who are so important to the fantastic work that has been achieved and is still to come.

It’s not goodbye, but more of a farewell, because hopefully I will bump into you in the future. In my new role as visitor experience officer with National Trust, I will be working with communities across East Devon, so I’ll see you later alligator!"

Devil's fingers fungi 

Devils Fingers funi

Found at Knapp Copse, this rare fungi is originally from Australasia. You may smell it before you see it because it stinks of rotting flesh!

It is a member of the stinkhorn (Phallaceae) family of fungi, of which some others are also found in this country, our native one being the common stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus). Devils Fingers (Clathrus archeri) is also known as Octopus stinkhorn because of its appearance. Another similar fungi in the genus Clathrus is Clathrus ruber, commonly known as the latticed or basket stinkhorn, also believed to have originated in Australasia. As our climate warms, these may become more common in East Devon. 

Exe Estuary wildlife refuges are successful

Exe Estuary wildlife refuge

Two areas to protect wild birds were set up in the Exe Estuary three years ago.  An investigation has shown that these areas, known as wildlife refuges, are proving to be beneficial for the wildfowl that spend their winters there, resting and feeding.

Visitors to Exmouth's Duckpond and off Dawlish Warren can help protect biodiversity by staying away from the areas marked out by yellow buoys.  Any disturbance to the birds, whether caused by walkers, dogs or nearby boats and other craft, means that the chance of their survival is diminished as they use valuable reserves to fly away.  Some people don't realise the devastating impact of their actions.

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Pebblebed Heaths car park improvements 

East Devon Pebblebed Heaths car park

Car park improvements on East Devon Pebblebed Heaths National Nature Reserve have recently been approved by East Devon's Planning Committee. The works will improve access for visitors at the same time protecting rare and vulnerable wildlife. Work is due to start this winter.

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