Founder of Naturezones
founder of Naturezones has in the Kings First Birthday Honour's List 2023 been
awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM)
to Conservation and Education
The medal was
presented to Angela by the Lord-Lieutenant of the Island at Naturezones on
Tuesday 17th October.
"I was so pleased
that the award could be presented to me at Naturezones. It is such an amazing
honour that my work has been recognized - I had no idea it had been noticed."
"If I could make
a dedication it would be to my husband Roger for his tireless support and to all those people that have worked tirelessly for a
good cause and go unrecognized"
Celebrating 15 years of Natural
History Education and Inspiration
2007 to now Oct 2022
a field full of thistle and dock with the help of many volunteers we have
planted hedges, a silver birch
copse, a crab apple copse and a withy bed. We have replaced hundreds of fallen
trees with trees that can
tolerate wet ground. We have created 2 amphitheatres, created wild flower
meadows, made pathways for
wheelchair access, developed 5 ponds and developed water capture systems.
The list goes on.
We have developed a native species plant centre.
We Installed seating, bird hide, Dragonfly Discovery centre and Education
In the beginning
the very first and most essential things we had to do was install toilets. Once
we were able to develop our second to none Wildlife Education
Centre, concentrating on the science of
nature and the environment. With the help of our Directors two of
whom are qualified Primary School
teachers we have developed high quality lesson plans for visiting schools.
Our facebook page was set up by our Holly who has been with us for 10 years.
We have been funded to run many projects from the first one “Young Meadow
Makers” to our recent one
“Nordic Pole Walking for the over 60’s” - This one our response to the Covid
epidemic with the aim of getting
back out in the rural fresh air.
We had a brief journey into catering with the opening of a café but found it
took us away from our aims and
of natural history education. Covid allowed us re-evaluate the project and get
us back to the
concept we set out when forming the trust on 27th Oct 2007
The work continues from making sure areas are
accessible to developing new habitats such as the
watervole bank. We have sighted them several
time on the edge of our Carr woodland and now with great
we are enhancing the bank with better planting
of grasses, herbs and sedges.
Like all charities we have been struck by the hard
times of the nation and we are now planning innovative
ideas to support educational school visits and
fund raising ideas.
Walking Festival Spring and
was "fab" being involved in this years Walking Festival. Both during the Spring
and Autumn festivals we planned and ran 8 walks around Blackwater and the nature
Walks were guides by Holly Squires, John
Dear and Angela Hewitt
The red Squirrels were on top form and
many of the walkers that had never seen a red squirrel had their wish come true.
On top of that after completing the end of
festival survey we were delighted to win the prize of £100 Wight Gift Card - On
our 15 year celebration week too!
My "Vectis View" in the Island
Small charities beat at the heart of our community. They are concerned with
people and places at a local level. They have local community knowledge and they
arise because a problem is not being addressed by Government or the council or
because people need to be made aware of a local issue.
Unlike the “Giants“ - the national, corporate charities - small charities are
restricted by many things but mostly by lack of consistent support.
Small charities are not corporate bodies. They are groups of local dedicated
people with a passion. But, it is an uphill struggle when they have so much
competition from the Giants. Unlike these Giants small charities don’t have High
level Chief Executives, big marketing budgets, large revenue income, investment
departments, fund raising departments, fancy patrons, a company of paid staff,
millions of pounds in reserves.
E.F Schumacher wrote “ Small is Beautiful” fundamentally he was saying all we
need is enough not more than enough. The bigger a charity grows the more
scattered it becomes. More people become involved with more voices pulling in
different directions. E.F Schumacher said “Any intelligent fool can
invent further complications, but it takes a genius to retain, or recapture,
Small charities are created by a few people volunteering their time to give
direct help to others and they operate on a shoe string. Often digging deep into
their own pockets. They don’t have grand dreams of being a large enterprise.
They simply want to make a difference for people and places in their community.
Although there are quite a few small local charities that actually, but not
intentionally, aid our local economy - directly and indirectly.
But, at the end of the day just like the large corporate charities they need
two things - funds and volunteers. Once registered as a charitable organisation
be it a Community Interest Company, a Not For Profit ltd by Guarantee or a
registered charity there are costs attached. For example Audited Accounts which
are an essential financial safeguard.
It might not seem cool to donate to a small local charity or to volunteer
your services. Where is the badge and the fancy paper work? What these small
local charities can offer you in return is a sense of pride in supporting your
local community at a grass roots level.
Like Naturezones Wildlife Education Trust, the small charity that I founded
in 2007, to operate on a day to day level what we need more than anything is
Grant givers including the National Lottery only fund new projects. It’s true
you can include a percentage of your annual running costs but the application
still has to be for a new project. There are 2 issues here. First, Lottery
applications have become a competition and this has created a competition
mentality within the community, and the fear that one might succeed to the
detriment of the other. So charities become protectionist. It’s irrational but
there it is. Second, most charities just want to get on with the job and not to
be constantly dreaming up project ideas so they can include some revenue costs.
This is where your donation becomes crucially important. Be it annual
membership, annual entry pass, entry fee, life time membership, a donation or
sponsorship. A gift without strings attached. It’s the very thing that helps a
charity to tick. To organically evolve and deliver what they intended at the
There are lots of small charities on the Island all endeavouring to make a
difference for local people and places. So this coming year when you look at
your giving budget please give them a thought too.
Nordic Pole Walking for the Over
We were so surprised by the
quicker than usual response to our grant application to Awards for All to run
The grant of £7.900 is to cover Instructor
training, purchase of Nordic Poles, Outdoor First Aid course and subsidises
walks and training and group socialising. We were then given a further boost
with a grant for £1,700 from Sovereign Housing which has allowed us to extend
the age limit to include the Over 50's.
It was crystal clear to us that the over
60s' had suffered greatly from the pandemic. Lack of exercise, isolation, fear
of mixing with others. Having done the research it was clear that Nordic Pole
walking was a perfect workout for the senior generation. it offers outdoor fresh
air, gentle supported physical improvement. (2021)
Covid-19 related news
Since closing we have taken
advantage of the time to do a lot of jobs that have dragged on. New ramp to bird
hide, new dry stone (actually recycled concrete) wall, attacking the invasion of
plantain, erecting a pergola, sprucing up the tables, putting in new wildlife
information panels in the woodland and of course planning our re-opening.
We are not ready yet but hope to be
in the next few weeks. There is of course a lot to do and the safety of you, our
staff and volunteers are our primary concern.
It's going to be new for all of
us but we are excited to be able to make some significant changes that will
benefit us all.
WE are eager to open our gate and
welcome everyone back. We have missed interacting with so many nature lovers.
Although interacting will take on a new meaning from now on.
When we are sorted we will announce
it on face book.
Phew what a year!
Take care, keep your spirits high
and see you soon x
More up to date information can
be found on our facebook page
More good News for Naturezones
Heritage Lottery have awarded
Naturezones £80,000 to develop their Nature Information Point
This is a dream come true and the final
part of our 10 year plan to develop a nature information point about nature in
general and nature on the Isle of Wight. When complete we will be the only one
of it's kind on the Isle of Wight.
The grant will be used to build a discovery
centre, nature information covering many subjects including identification,
habitats, biodiversity, succession and where else on the Island you can go to
Our End of Project report can be found
you find it helpful
Awards for All grant £8,800 -
Connecting with Dragonflies
We were awarded a grant from Awards for All
earlier this year (July 2018) to develop a Dragonfly Discovery Centre. Plans
are well under way. We have laid the foundations, organised information panels
and two schools to participate in an art project.
Volunteers will build a wooden
pergola that will house masses of information about these amazing insects.
Fossils show that they are one of the oldest and largest insects to have lived
on this planet some 300 million years ago. A local primary schools will be
creating a frieze of terracotta tiles depicting dragon flies and another
primary school will be creating cement blocks to be inserted into the concrete
floor again with images of dragonflies. We will also be running a competition
"Making a Dragonfly from Recycled Materials". Rainwater will be gathered from
the roof of the pergola and directed along a rill to the bog area and pond.
Come along and watch our progress and
even get involved. Make a willow dragon fly, take some photographs. Pond dip
and count the number of dragonfly and damselfly nymphs.
A chance to see dragonfly nymphs real close
End of Project report
Supporting communities -
Hope you find it helpful
Heritage Lottery Grant now
approved for Transitional Funding
We have been awarded £28,000 to help
develop our self-funding ambitions. The grant will include advice from
experts. Research into other similar organisations, financial support to make
us more regularly accessible to the community, set up a young directors scheme
and further training for volunteers and session workers. This is a massive
step forward for us. it will bring us into the mainstream of The Island's
natural history education and give us future sustainability for the posterity
of our organisation. We are very excited that the world famous Wild Fowl and
Wetland Trust (WWT) will be our main advisors.
Project manager Angela Hewitt said "Sir
Peter Scott has been the main influence behind the creation of Naturezones and
it is a dream come true to be working with the WWT.
New Education Centre - The Planning
Department have approved our application for a new Education Centre and
workshop. This will allow us to run indoor activities, lectures and workshops
during the winter. Our normal outdoor activities are still the mainstay of our
ethos but this small expansion makes us available to more communities. We now
have the grand task of fund raising.
We are now working in partnership with the UKSA to
develop this scheme
Drop in on Nature
Awards for All, run by the Big Lottery Fund has granted us
£8,000 to run drop in sessions for parts of the community that are
disadvantaged. The elderly and infirm, people with health problems and
dementia, carers and the cared for, children with their grandparents and the
elderly who are isolated . The grant has afforded a path way for wheelchair
access, seating for resting points around the nature reserve and materials for
craft activities and nature observation
New Grant from Spectrum Housing
We have just been awarded £2.000 to run a project supporting people with low
energy. Participants will be given light tasks such as sureveying areas of
Naturezones. Studying plants and animals, Drawing and painting. Helping to
make things from nature for our charity shop. The sessions of 2 - 3 hours once
a week will also include a healthy light lunch such as home made soup and
Latest Picture - I Bee Seeing You
Dragonfly Habitat opens
Built by D of E Students from Carisbrooke High School as part of their bronze award. We were impressed by
the skills of these young people who put a lot of thought into the project.
below - picture of one of its first visitors - the Banded Damasel
Plant Native -The Big Plant launch