A couple of people have asked recently what help we need at the moment so I thought I'd try and respond to that and put this post on our Facebook page earlier. Keep in mind that we have 105 followers on there but only 38 members (only 25 of which are in the FB group anyway!). In no particular order;
We'd welcome more actual members (as opposed to followers on social media) for several reasons. It helps financially so we can implement plans to try and grow the group to a "county-wide" size; the more members we have the more likely it is that people will step up and help in a practical sense (see below); the more hands and boots we have available to us, the more we can spread the workload. Right now, to be frank, it's sinking us.
Fully fledged group members can either choose to stay passive (but supportive!) or get involved with specific roles, tasks and projects. For example, we could do with a social secretary to think about group events (even a Christmas drink?!), someone to organise promotional materials/literature, posters, Group communications and that kind of thing.
We need help monitoring the planning applications submitted to each of the 13 councils in Hampshire. That involves checking to see if there's a possible impact on badgers and then flagging it internally so we can intervene at committee level. We set out initially to monitor 3 councils only in this part of Hampshire but I'm struggling to keep up with 1. In an ideal world, 13 folk would step forward and each take on a council (it's not as onerous as it sounds as we can set up alerts for new planning applications that have specific characteristics - all you'd have to do is glance through them and flag any that look potentially problematic).
We'd love to have some help with recording RTA details on a shared spreadsheet. It's easy and would be one less thing for me to stay on top of. It also informs where we might want to go on sett surveys as the poor badgers killed on our roads are likely to be from a nearby sett. And, from January, may have left orphaned cubs which need to be rescued.
I'd like to get into a position where we have a group of trusted sett surveyors with whom we could also share specific sett locations details and who could help us complete up-to-date surveys on the 700+ Hampshire setts for which we have records (and find new ones). They'd also help us monitor and react to the culling that we now know has been taking place since the end of August.
I'm still endeavouring to find a suitable release site for 4 orphaned badgers that have overstayed their welcome at a wildlife rescue centre and are ready to go back into the wild. It's become something of a nightmare and very time-consuming (needs to be an abandoned main sett, away from a main road, not near a cattle farm or any of the cull zones, not close to an existing clan and near enough that we can provide supplementary feeding for 3 weeks after release. Oh, and we need the landowner's permission (which has been the sticking point thus far).
If anyone has a gazebo or similar they could donate for use at Wildlife Fairs then that would be very welcome! Similarly, people happy to donate their time to help us represent the group at events would be a godsend.
The more members we have, the greater the potential turnout each month at our Group Sett Surveys. If we have more people attending we can split into groups, cover more ground and really get on top of our sett recording and monitoring. Only three people were able to join me at our last Group Sett Survey. The next one is on Sunday 20th November.
We're involved in an increasing amount of campaign work (not only badger related) and help with that is always going to be welcome.
We could do with a trusted person to help run our Instagram account and Twitter accounts as well with regular posts and messaging.
The key goal is still to increase our group members from the current number of 38 to something substantially higher and, in doing so, build a team that can properly put this group on the map and help drive it forward.
Anything anyone can offer in relation to any of the above would be incredibly welcome! Thank you.