Ponds seek more fans…

Isle of Wight Pond Wardens have been in operation for nearly 10 years and 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 obtained by the Hampshire & IW Wildlife Trust more Pond Wardens are to be trained. The group has a shortage of members from the West Wight area, but is interested to recruit people from all over the Island.

“Pond are under threat from a number of directions…” 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. We recently got the RHS to change its online advice.” 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.

“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 2 October in the Freshwater area. For more details please contact Ray at the Footprint Trust on (01983) 82-22-82. or email ponds@footprint-trust.co.uk