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Help required in finding a local group

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Vicar View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08 Sep 2004 at 1:54pm

Hi, not sure where this is best posted.

I am trying to find an active local group for Reptiles and Amphibians. (Surrey & Hants. Borders)

I am aware of the existence of both SARG and SURREY HERPETOLOGICAL SOCIETY, however after a few hours on the net can find very little evidence of activity from either of these groups. Maybe they are just not net-literate and do much great work advertised through other media.

Surrey Wildfife Trust does appear to be very active, however it appears to be a more general wildlife group.

I am particularly interested in assisting with reptile survey work in my local area, I have a keen interest in nature photography, so I'm out and about the area a lot, and would like to be doing some useful work while I'm at it !

I am a professional scientist, and a long-time amateur naturalist. I'm also pretty IT literate, so I feel I could offer useful support to any such group. (I also have easier access to some restricted MoD sites compared to Joe Public).

We have such FANTASTIC local habitats that it seems a shame there is not a Surrey Heaths A&R Group (and SHARG is such a cool acronym!).

I am aware of national organisations, yet feel the urge to join a more local group (nothing against meetings in, say, Edinburgh, just that I'd turn up to group meetings and trips etc more frequently if they were local).

Very grateful for any views on this subject and advice given.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote frogworlduk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Sep 2004 at 8:01pm

hey vicar. thats sound like a good idea. more info can be found in the herpetofauna workers manual.

have you tried contacting the HCT. they help out on a number of sites throughout surrey and hampshire such as Gong Hill and Hankley.

but anyway thats just some ideas. i haven't seen much SARG work but i do know that rick and i think julia have both hurt themselves or something like that.

mark

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vicar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Sep 2004 at 8:47pm

Hey, If all else fails, we could always set one up ourselves :P, seems to be quite a few people on here from this neck of the heaths.

Something like the Surrey & Hampshire Borders R&A Group...I like the sound of SHaB-RAG :P

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Sep 2004 at 7:35am

Well I'll do Hindhead if you like, good connections and I've known it for more years than I care to remember ;0)

Regarding ARG's, my own experience having been in the same position as yourself a couple of years ago of wanting to do more but not really knowing where to start, is get in contact but don't expect too much.

Largely you will have to organise things yourself to get survey work and conservation tasks done, just target any site you think is interesting, get the permissions sorted and get on with it! I've found the most important thing is to get in with local management teams, they are the ones that will actually influence what goes on at a given site. 

ARG's are good for making contacts though and can smooth the way.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote frogworlduk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Sep 2004 at 7:10pm

vicar if your interested in starting and ARG go for it. i'll give you a hand. i live in frimley which is right on border, it annoys me with everything over the other side of the county which is a long way to travel for half a day of work. but yeah go for it. and SHaB-RAG sounds cool.

mark

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calumma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Sep 2004 at 8:35pm
Some local groups (e.g. Warwickshire Amphibian and Reptile Team - WART) are associated with Wildlife Trusts and can be highly web literate. However, most local groups are effectively run by 1 or 2 enthusiastic people with a satellite following of mainly non-active members. The number of events/activities that can be organised by such groups is obviously very limited.

Rather than attempt to set up a new group (that may not be recognised by HGBI), why not make the effort to talk to some of the folks who are currently running existing groups. Remember that most folk are extremely busy and it can be very frustrating when things appear to progress very slowly. However, I rather suspect that the groups that are already operating in your area(s) would be absolutely delighted to recruit enthusiastic new members!

As an ex-KRAG Committee member (and current SE Regional Rep for HGBI) I know just how hard it is to promote local group interest.

For other folk who read this thread, local group contacts can be found in several places - but this is a good summary.

If anybody would like to get involved in activities in the Kent area, please check my blog for ongoing survey projects. I can also put you in touch with the folk at KRAG.
Lee Brady

Kent Herpetofauna Recorder | Independent Ecological Consultant



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vicar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Sep 2004 at 9:29pm

Hrmmm...pretty wise advice from Lee there.

Although checking your list, neither Hants nor Surrey have any web pages. My G/f is reasonably web literate so I guess we could offer to try to put something together for one or both of these groups. I'm fairly handy with databases and processes so organised recording should be a doddle.

The trouble is, the Hants group seems to be New Forest orientated (for fair reason). We do have quite a 'special' strip of habitats in the Surrey/Hants borders. Personally I think they deserve a sub-group, if only for the cross-fertilisation of ideas and experiences of the people who regularly walk them.

The other issue is I guess...co-ordinating recording. I suppose I could do a database sift of 'local' records of Hants and Surrey grid refs and pass on info to the relevent recorders.

I'm setting up a database for my personal records, I guess I should chat to the Hants and Surrey groups to ensure compatibility. Of course any tips through this forum would be most welcome.

Who else is 'local' to the Surrey/Hants Borders ?

I'm based in Farnham, Mark in Frimley and Gemma close to Hindhead ? (not a bad start :P).

Does Alan have any views on this ?, He seems to tramp over some of the local terrain, and seems to know his stuff too :P



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calumma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Sep 2004 at 10:58pm
I think you will find that the activities of most groups will be centered around the areas where the most active members live, work or study. Offering to promote group activity in areas that are not currently being targeted sounds like a good idea.

Sub-groups are worth considering, but frankly there are so few people who actively participate in ARGs that fragmentation of effort will likely diminish what can be achieved - unless things are very well coordinated.

It is also interesting that many people who participate in ARG type activities (practical management, recording etc) are often not actually members of the local ARG. I have quite a decent list of very active herp recorders in Kent. However, very few of these are members of KRAG. No amount of persuasion will convince them to join either!

As SE Regional Rep for HGBI I am very keen on promoting active cooperation between adjacent ARGs (e.g. joint field meetings etc). I also want to ensure that where interest is being expressed, the relevant people are aware of it! Groups within my catchment include London, Surrey, Sussex and Kent (Essex is also encouraged to participate). I hope to discuss this at the next regional conference - details to be posted soon.
Lee Brady

Kent Herpetofauna Recorder | Independent Ecological Consultant



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Sep 2004 at 9:23am

NE Hants / Surrey border does seem to be a bit out on it's own. I'm in Aldershot along the Blackwater Valley county line, although I'm more general wildlife based but could offer some assistance.

Blackwater Valley Managment are the local group who coordinate activites in hereabouts, a sort of mini BTCV, they know most if not all the groups in this area - contact Steve Bailey steve.bailey@hants.gov.uk



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Britains smallest Country Park ? - Brickfields Country Park
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vicar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Sep 2004 at 1:01pm

Wow, they're all crawling out of the woodwork...maybe I should have asked who WASN'T based in the Surrey/Hants. border region :P

Rick Anstis has kindly contacted me, and it seems the Surrey group is just a little quiet atm, due to various reasons beyond anybody's control, but should pick up again soon !

Maybe we could form a social group, encompassed by the county groups ? - It would be nice, and useful to see eachother's 'patches' and discuss recording etc.

Anyhow, I'm designing a database structure which should be a doddle to use (if I do it right :P) on any PC, primarily for my own uses, but if it turns out well, anybody can have a copy. I'll talk more to Rick to ensure the format is compatible with county recording formats.

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