Biosphere Bulletin - December 2016
Biosphere Here

Nature Now

What's happening in nature this month

Coming Up...

Biosphere Events in your

Please visit our events calendar for full details of all of the events listed below
December 2016

Sat 3rd Dec (10.30-14.30) - Bevy Apple Day, Moulsecoomb, Brighton (free) (BPT)

Sat 3rd Dec (14.00-16.00) - Natural Xmas Craft workshop, Pulborough, adults £15 (book) (RSPB)

Sun 4th Dec (10.00-13.00) - Sussex University circular walk, Falmer, £3

Sun 4th Dec (11.00-15.00) - Deck the Halls! festive materials, Pulborough, families £3+ pp (RSPB)

Thurs 8th Dec (18.30-20.00) - Listening to Lapwings talk by RSPB, Brighton, £5 (book) (ONCA)

Weds 14th Dec (10.00-13.00) - Seabird walk, Rottingdean-Peacehaven (free) (RSPB)

Mon-Tues 19-20th Dec (10.00 or 14.00) - Xmas Wreath Walk, Saddlescombe, £6 (book) (NT)

January 2017

Sun 15th Jan (10.00-13.00) - Wolstonbury Hill walk, £3 (book) (NT)

Sat-Mon 28-30th Jan - Big Garden Birdwatch weekend (RSPB)
Volunteer Opportunity!

Exciting new role at the RSPB, helping with the conservation of Swifts in Brighton

Biosphere Here

December 2016

'Tis the Season For Ever Green

Dear <<Name>>

The final month of the year has arrived, the festive season fast approaches, and winter is officially with us - see our monthly 'Nature Now' diary for the lowdown on the outdoor world.  
Whilst the trees may now be bare and our green spaces and countryside appear more bleak, one group of woody plants now come to the fore in their perennial splendour: the evergreens.

Indelibly marked on childhood memories is the festive folk carol:
"The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown."
Our enigmatic native evergreen trees and shrubs are profiled in this month's 'WoW' section (below left). Meanwhile, the ecology and cultural associations of two evergreen plants - infamous in their different ways - are the focus of our Bio Blog (below right) by Michael Blencowe of the Sussex Wildlife Trust. Here Michael makes a passionate plea for the wildlife value and benign nature of Ivy, whilst speculating about the origins of the passionate powers attributed to Mistletoe. 

So whilst you're walking off your Christmas dinner, do keep an eye out for mistletoe and other evergreen species of interest (you can report records here).

Why not try your hand at collecting and making your own evergreen festive wreath, by joining a walk on the Downs led by the National Trust? See our Biosphere Calendar (summary list, left) to find out more on this and 
other eco-events going on.

Warm wishes and Season's Greetings! 
Rich Howorth
Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere Partnership

Window On
Our World

Ever Greens

Native species of woody evergreen trees & shrubs you can find in our Biosphere Region include:

Holly - stands out in winter in the woodland understorey, its bright crimson berries are much sought after (pic above)

~ Ivy
- ubiquitous climbing plant on trees and walls, of great value for pollinating insects

 Mistletoe - a rarer parasitic plant growing in clusters high up in certain trees, especially lime, poplar and apples

Yew - grows for hundreds or event thousands of years, found especially in churchyards

Juniper - rare shrub on the chalk downs, with blue berries used in distilling gin

Bio Blog

Festive Flora

Your tinsel covered Christmas tree may be a big part of your festive celebrations, but there are a number of native evergreen plants in our Biosphere that provide a vital service for our wildlife – notably Ivy and Mistletoe (see left).

Whilst most wild flowering plants have shut up shop by the autumn, Ivy is just opening for business then. Like the kebab shop of plants, it offers welcome nourishment for an array of disparate insects that like staying out late in the year!

Mistletoe is an ecological ‘keystone’ species, renowned for its
mystical qualities and of course infamous for its power to draw people close together - but what compels us to kiss under the mistletoe?…read full blog

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