Isle of Wight Pond Wardens has been in operation for nearly over years and its members care for around 70 ponds. The scheme was initially set up by Ray Harrington-Vail and Carol Flux, with help from the national conservation charity BTCV and funding from Southern Water. The group is independent but receives support from The Footprint Trust.
Pond Wardens have a passion for wildlife and heritage and give up some of their spare time to care for ponds. All members have been trained in the care of management of wildlife ponds, through free training courses put on by The Footprint Trust.
Thanks to funding from Newport Parish Council and the Southern Housing Group more Pond Wardens are to be trained for free. The group has a shortage of members from the Carisbrooke, Newport and Ryde areas, but is interested to recruit people from all over the Island.
“Pond are under threat from a number of directions including the current drought…” explains Ray Harrington-Vail the Pond Warden’s tutor.
“Introduction of goldfish and other fish into ponds will soon lead to the loss of important species such as dragonflies, newts and other amphibians. Pest pond weeds dumped in the wild can soon choke a pond.”
“Poor advice from ‘gardening experts’ telling people to ‘clean out’ ponds in spring is another issue – this can kill wildlife and damages the natural balance of the pond…” Ray explained.
The scheme welcomes all sizes of ponds into the scheme. Those wishing to become Wardens need no previous experience, just a love of ponds. The scheme is keen to train teachers and others involved with schools – so that children can benefit from wildlife ponds in schools.
“A small pond can have more interesting wildlife than a large one, even ponds that dry up for part of the year can be important habitats for certain species.”
“Anyone thinking of creating a wildlife pond should come on this free training course. We often hear from many people with pond problems – one common issue is that the pond has been put in the wrong place…”
The training day will be on Saturday 9th June. Spaces are limited so those interested are urged to contact Ray at the Footprint Trust on (01983) 82-22-82. or email firstname.lastname@example.org