Local volunteers celebrate 30 years

Wednesday 7th March 2018

Four men in group shotBack: John Wych, Malcolm Billinge, Phil Page. Front: Chris Harper

Bovey Tracey local group is celebrating 30 years of volunteer action for Devon Wildlife Trust.

The Bovey Tracey Branch of the charity Devon Wildlife Trust is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with a dinner at the Ilsington Country House Hotel. The guest speaker will be Dave Smallshire, who is an expert in birds, butterflies and dragonflies.

The group was founded in the mid 1980s when a few wildlife enthusiasts collected together to raise much needed funds, organise walks and talks in the area. Around that time a visit was made to a fellow environmental group from Normandy, France, and this annual exchange of visits between the two groups still takes place today.

Since its formation the local group has gone from strength to strength, with monthly meetings throughout the year, and a newsletter read by around 300 people. Such was the demand for their winter talks they recently moved to a larger venue at the Methodist Church Hall in Bovey Tracey.

John Wych, the group’s current chairman, said:

“We are a friendly and inclusive group of volunteers who love their surroundings and its amazing diversity. Our overall aims are to educate, raise funds for Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) and encourage volunteering. Most of our local group are not experts but we learn much from those in the group that are, and the people who lead our walks and talks. You don’t have to be a member of DWT to come along, although we would of course encourage you to join. This year our talks ranged from hornets to plankton, bird ringing to a soil safari. Some of our speakers star on wildlife TV programmes - but we’ve usually seen them first! We are fortunate to have four DWT reserves in close proximity - and several others nearby, all enthusiasticly maintained by DWT staff and groups of volunteers”.

Dawn Lenn, Devon Wildlife Trust Volunteer Officer, said

“Our charity was founded by volunteers in 1962 and they remain its lifeblood. The work of the Bovey Tracy group over the last 30 years has been admirable. As well as helping to introduce hundreds of people to the wonders of wildlife, they have also been instrumental in helping us to keep our local nature reserves as havens for wildlife. In particular, their efforts in campaigning for a new nature reserve at Bovey Heathfield and then their work in its restoration have meant that it has now been secured forever.”

If you are interested in joining the group please email dwtbt@idnet.com

Find out more on the Bovey Tracy group and all the other Devon Wildlife Trust local groups here

Tagged with: Volunteering, Volunteer; Bovey Tracey; Devon Wildlife Trust; wildlife; Devon; anniversary