An Inspirational Wildlife Project for Herefordshire
Snakes can invoke fascination or fear and loathing, even amongst wildlife lovers. Many people have a problem identifying, understanding and appreciating snakes. Even the slow-worm, a legless lizard, is regularly mistaken for an adder. The public now have the opportunity to learn about and observe Herefordshire’s reptiles with this exciting wildlife initiative; “What’s that Snake?”.
“What’s That Snake?” with nearly £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) was a collaboration of the Herefordshire Amphibian and Reptile Team (HART) and Herefordshire Nature Trust and ran for two years. All of the County’s reptile species are now UK Priority Bio-Diversity Plan Action Species, necessary due to national declines of populations through habitat loss and mismanagement. The adder also has a local species action plan in Herefordshire.
The Amphibian and Reptile Atlas produced by HART in 2006 revealed a disturbing lack of reptile records particularly for adders and viviparous lizards. In the training courses on identification and surveying techniques volunteers were inspired to appreciate, locate and record these fascinating and secretive creatures. They surveyed at 10 locations throughout the county in the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB), Wye Valley AONB, Ross- on-Wye, Goodrich, Mortimer Forest Trail area and Kington, working in co-operation with Forestry Commission, National Trust, Malvern Hills Conservators, Commons and volunteer habitat management groups. Verified records were submitted to the Herefordshire Biological Records Centre.
The project visited 58 schools providing illustrated identification posters, worksheets and interactive DVDs to be used as educational tools, so creating wildlife interest in future generations. Community road shows, with dedicated advice and visual displays to further spread awareness, were also run.
Reptiles are very much indicators of the health of our countryside and “What’s That Snake?” gave us an idea of how these indicators were faring.
The following can be downloaded as pdfs:
Teachers' Resource Pack (2.3Mb)
What's That Snake? project was a partnership between Herefordshire Amphibian and Reptile Team (HART) and Herefordshire Nature Trust.