If you have an interest in amphibians and reptiles, this site will provides you with information about our local voluntary group which works with and for this enigmatic group of species in the region. In addition this site aims to tell you about the work we do and how to join in if you wish to pursue your interest.
Volunteering with Yorkshire ARG
If you are interested in reptile and amphibian conservation in Yorkshire why not become an active Yorkshire ARG member? Throughout the year we require help with activities of varying scale ranging from site monitoring for amphibians and reptiles, amphibian reintroductions to amphibian swabbing to contribute to national programmes aimed at determining the extent of amphibian disease in the UK. There is no minimum commitment required, however, the more YOU put in the more the amphibians and reptiles of Yorkshire will benefit.
Without volunteers most conservation organisations would not exist! Yorkshire ARG (YARG) is no exception, therefore if you too want to unleash the hidden herpetologist within why not join the ARG and help conserve a group of declining British species. Our Constitution is attached.
Reasons to Join Yorkshire ARG:
We encourage people to take part in reptile and amphibian survey projects like 'NARRS' and 'Make the Adder Count' coordinated by ARC, as well as rare reptile monitoring on sites that are short of voluntary surveyors. We help train people where necessary. There are also numerous opportunities for taking part in conservation tasks across the county (usually winter habitat management), on nature reserves managed by ARC, local authorities, Natural England, the Forestry Commission, RSPB, National Trust and other landowners. YARG aims to provide a link between these bodies and all the keen volunteers that are out there. If you want to offer your services, or you need volunteers for your herp-related projects, then get in touch!
How to join
It's simple! Download the membership forms, fill them in and follow the instructions.
Membership of Yorkshire ARG is just £5 per year which goes directly towards the work of the group and the conservation of amphibians and reptiles.
Just an update on the Gallows Hill Nature reserve area new ponds creation works which has been assisted by a donation from YARG and ARG UK 100% fund.
Two ponds have now been now dug and lined with bentomat, in an area adjacent to the existing pond along with a pond dipping platform to allow people to enjoy pond dipping and other wildlife activities. Material which was unearthed during the pond creation has been used to make a large hibernaculum too which was covered with soil. .
The ponds are already filling with water - see photos below:
The project has been supported principally by Otley Town Council and fund raising efforts by Friends of Gallows Hill (thanks everyone who came to the ‘Pondlife’ gig!) with further donations from Wharfedale Naturalists Society, Yorkshire Amphibian and Reptile Group, West Yorkshire Bat Group, Otley Beer Festival, Waitrose Green Token scheme and local businesses Haycock and Jay Associates and Ground-direct Ltd.
There will certainly be opportunities to participate in the project during the year as the pond become established to help out the Friends of Gallows Hill group. Feel free to visit and use the reserve over the next few weeks and months and see how the project is progressing!
Well done to Gordon and the team!! ARG money (and YARG funds) being put to good use!
See Yorkshire ARG Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/1572107566208899/
Another year has past us by and we welcome in 2018...! Happy New Year to Yorkshire ARG members and non members. We hope to have our annual meeting as usual in mid/late February following the HWM - details of which are below. I'll circulate details to members and add to the event page when we have a fixed date.
Dates for your diary – upcoming events: A quick reminder that bookings for the 2018 HWM which will be in Northampton on 3-4 February this year, close at midnight on 7th January. If you wish to go do make sure you have registered by then. One of the central points of our annual calendar, this is looking to be another great meeting, and we look forward to meeting many of you there. For more on this follow this link: https://www.arc-trust.org/
ARG UK is also sponsoring an important Scottish herpetofauna meeting, ‘The Amphibians and Reptiles of Scotland: Current Research, Future Challenges’, which will be held in Glasgow on 9th June 2018. Organised by Clyde ARG and the Glasgow Natural History Society, this conference will cover all aspects of amphibian and reptile conservation, and a number of our ARG folk are speaking. My understanding is that bookings are not yet open, but we have put a provisional programme on our web-page and will update it as soon as we have any news. https://www.arguk.org/get-
Following our Yorkshire ARG annual meeting held in early March we welcome YARG members old and new to join us in events and activities this 2017 season. We welcome any opportunities to undertake survey and training events, conservation activities or anything else which seeks to meet our objectives as a ARG.
Frogspawn is now becoming abundant at pond sites and the herps of Yorkshire are now awaking to the new season and are heading to ponds for breeding, basking and become well and truly active.
The Yorkshire ARG is essentially what the members make it - whilst we seek to offer events each year its up to you to provide ideas for events, provide insights of sites areas which may need further survey or assistance with enhancement or other events to raise awareness so please do let us know (see contact details). There loads of amazing habitats in Yorkshire to explore!
Look forward to see you over the course of the season and happy herping!
The Yorkshire ARG committee!
The Yorkshire ARG currently has around 50 formalised members - we are now gearing up to plan another years of activities, surveys and events in 2016. We are a purely voluntary group of individuals so events or activities are entirely led by and organized by our members. The group seeks to undertake and contribute to the national events and surveys being conducted by ARGUK, ARC and by other relevant organisations such as The Freshwater Habitats Trust.
Our group membership is geographical very wide ranging throughout Yorkshire with members scattered from Sheffield in the South up to Leeds, York and as far as Scarborough and Hull. Therefore we seek to ‘hook up’ our members who may live locally to one another and could collaborate to form a more localised survey/event team. Group members collectively have a wealth of herpetofauna expertise and survey experience; many work within private and public wildlife organizations, conservation agencies, are ecological consultants or are interested and enthusiastic herpetologists.
All events and surveys details are circulated to group members. We already have a number of new survey opportunities and event in our draft events programme as well as plans to continue some of those undertaken in 2015…details to follow soon…!
Most surveys and events are undertaken within the main herpetofauna survey season from mid March to end September each year.
So if you know of a great amphibian or reptile sites in Yorkshire, or ones which have potential to be great and would like to arrange a survey or an event at please do get in touch, we may be able to assist you!
The YARG is once again invited to attend the annual wildlife day at Stillingfleet Lodge garden and as such we are looking for YARG members (or potential new members) to assist on the day hosting the YARG stand and conducting pond dipping activities on the day (ideally one person with a GCN licence required). Gazebo and educational material can be provided. Please let us know if you are able to help out.
Yorkshire ARG has been invited to attend the Hagge Wood- Meadow Discovery Day.
Event is from 1pm until 4pm on Sunday 24th June 2018.
The Discovery Day is an afternoon packed full of family activities including nature trails and challenges, meet and learn all about native snakes in our reptile tent, identify bird nests, pond dipping, storytelling, face painting, bug tattoos as well as homemade cake. We will have picnic benches and rugs so don’t forget to pack a picnic.
Yorkshire ARG is hoping to attend and host a stand proving information to attendees about our native herps and undertake some pond dipping, If you can help out by hosting /assisting on the stand or pond survey activities please do let me know... its a great site and has a lot of botanical and invertebrate interest.
Amphibian Survey and ID Continuation of monitoring surveys at this Yorkshire Wildlife Trust site - this will be the 5th+ year of surveys being conducted by Yorkshire ARG. Great site for all species of newt; GCN , Palmate and smooth plus frogs and toads. Intend to undertake egg searching and daytime assessment plus installation of bottle traps and aquatic funnel traps recently purchased by YARG. On Monday morning (7th) traps will be removed and captures identified.
Meet at 5;30pm (on the 6th) at the Car Park off Stocksmoor Road (B6117), Midgley, South west of Wakefield (Ordnance Survey Grid Reference SE 275 152) – See http://www.ywt.org.uk/reserves/stocksmoor-common-nature-reserve
If you would like to come along please contact Andy or Clare Mcilwraith at email@example.com
Completion of the first of a number of GCN monitoring surveys of two ponds and a ditch on the Line Ways LWS. YARG members welcome.
Approximate times 20:30 to 22:30.
This will involve torching after dusk from the bank side.
Please dress warmly and bring a clu-lite or other high powered torch if you have one.
Chance of seeing smooth and great-crested newt.
Please contact Kate Wright via the Facebook page (or the ARG email address) https://www.facebook.com/events/154894025170630/ if you are intending to come as the event may need to be cancelled if the weather is poor.
Nell Bank - GCN Monitoring Surveys
One of our members; Gordon Haycock will be once again conducting GCN monitoring surveys of the GCN translocation ponds at the Nell Bank Centre in Ilkley.
The first survey visit is proposed for Friday 20th April 2018.
Meet at Nell Bank Centre Car Park at 7:30/7.45pm. http://www.nellbank.com/
Address is Nell Bank, Denton Road, llkley, West Yorkshire LS29 0DE.
Wear warm clothes and bring a torch if you have one.
YARG membership not essential but encouraged!
One of our YARG members Anne Carter is conducting a number of surveys of a local pond near York:
Monitoring surveys of two ponds in Stub Wood, a private woodland near Acaster Malbis, York.
Proposed Surveys Dates and approximate times are:
The surveys will involve egg searching and torching after dusk.
Please dress warmly and bring a clu-lite or other high powered torch if you have one.
Hoping to see Smooth Newt and Great Crested Newt.
Please contact Anne via our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/2134380533464546/ (or via the YARG email address) if you are interested in attending any of the proposed survey dates as the event may need to be cancelled if the weather is poor.
Lines Ways, at Great Preston in south east Leeds (see http://www.ywt.org.uk/reserves/the-lines-way) and it has now been designated a LWS for its GCN and smooth newt populations. YARG has previously conducted amphibian surveys at this site.
Preparing the area for new ponds with a fingertip search for amphibians. Please dress for the weather and bring a packed lunch.
If you want to help out please contact Gordon Haycock on firstname.lastname@example.org
Join us for an autumn meeting… comprising of pond clearing plus an evening social:
Gordon Haycock has organised a ‘pond clearing’ event at the GCN translocation ponds at the Nell Bank Centre in Ilkley. Join us on Saturday 18th November to help out improving the ponds at the site where GCN are thriving after a translocation conducted a few years ago. Would be good to meet up with YARG members old and new and any new potential members are welcome too.
The pond clearing is of two ponds at Nell Bank Centre which are choked with weed (mainly Canadian pondweed), which we will rake out and then leave on the bank for beasties to crawl back. Both are GCN breeding ponds and the work will increase suitability by creating open water. The work should only take a few hours (stay as long as you want). Gordon will be on hand to show people round the centre and provide details of the GCN translocation project.
Approximate agenda for the day (to be firmed up near the time)
Nell Bank Pond Clearance
2pm meet at Nell bank Centre, Ilkley
Short tour by Gordon Haycock
3-5pm approx. Pond clearing
Get cleaned up..!
~6pm Food at a pub or somewhere in Otley
Come for part of all of the afternoon/evening as desired. Pond clearance equipment provided (although if you have a spare rake bring it) . Bring wellingtons/waders and possibly a change of clothes (if staying for the evening).
Any queries please contact Gordon on email@example.com or Clare or Andy via ARG email.
Whatever your enquiry, we'd love to hear from you! Just email us and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
General enquiries - firstname.lastname@example.org
Data Requests - Unfortunately Yorkshire ARG do not hold records or have the provision to undertake record searches. Please contact the relevent local record centre; West Yorkshire Ecology http://www.ecology.wyjs.org.uk/, North and East Yorkshire Ecological Data Centre http://www.neyedc.org.uk/. South Yorkshire see http://www.ywt.org.uk/what-we-do/biodiversity/local-record-centres
The Yorkshire ARG Committee:
Chair: Andy McIlwraith
Secretary & Treasurer: Clare McIlwraith
Upcoming events will be listed here.