ARAG was first set up in 1995 and has become firmly established since 2006. It seeks to promote reptile and amphibian conservation throughout the counties of Avon and North East Somerset. It aims to improve the knowledge of the distribution of our native Herpetofauna, educate the public and increase the awareness of the challenges faced by this group of animals.
ARAG is committed to achieving these aims through surveys, undertaking practical conservation projects, and assisting with local toad patrols.
If you are keen to join the group and participate in activities then please either visit the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/AvonRAG/ or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are visiting this site having seen a media clip or press release about toad patrols then hopefully we can help point you in the right direction. If you are outside of the Avon area please visit the following link.
http://www.froglife.org/what-we-do/toads-on-roads/tormap/ - This virtual map allows you to input your postcode and make contact with your closest toad patrol anywhere in the UK.
To join an ARAG toad patrol please visit the relevant Facebook group to download the details and to complete the insurance form. If you are not on Facebook please email email@example.com
ARAG Toad Patrols take place in Fishponds, Chew Valley & Bitton and we support independent toad patrols in Bath & Portishead too as well as at other sites throughout the former county of Avon. To find your nearest Toad Patrol visit the Froglife Map - http://www.froglife.org/what-we-do/toads-on-roads/tormap/
To join up with a toad patrol in Fishponds, Chew Valley & Bitton you can visit the relevant facebook page below. You can download the risk assessment and insurance forms from there. You can then email the completed insurance form to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you aren't on facebook then you can email email@example.com confirming which patrol you would like to help with and we can send you the relevant patrol pack.
Check out the link below for footage shot by ITV whilst out patrolling with our volunteers in Fishponds.....
Toad Patrols are now winding down across our area but we are still checking on sites each night for toads that may be returning from their breeding lakes.
ARAG Toad Patrols take place in Fishponds, Chew Valley & Bitton and we support independent toad patrols in Bath & Portishead too as well as at other sites throughout the former county of Avon.
To join up with a toad patrol please visit the relevant facebook page. You can download the risk assessment and insurance forms from there. You can then email the completed insurance form to firstname.lastname@example.org
After a very successful event in 2009, Bristol Water have organised another Wild at Chew Day. This is a fantastic opportunity to come and learn about the bugs, birds and beasts living in and around the margins of Chew Valley Lake. Bristol Water staff will also be on hand to discuss their management programmes currently being undertaken to preserve these habitats and species.
ARAG has conducted surveys around the lake and will be present on the day to chat to members of the public about amphibians and reptiles, in particular how to identify them, where to look and what you can do to help protect them. An excellent event for budding herpetologists!
If you are able to attend then we shall see you anytime from 10am at:
I look forward to seeing you all there!
Saturday 26th March saw ARAG run NARRS survey training at ELm Farm, a very apt location having strong commitments to local conservation.
Throughout the day, volunteers were introduced to many aspects of collecting good survey data. The first section covered the importance of working with landowners, site selection and risk assessment. This was followed by a very visual guide to the challenges in recognising our native amphibians from spawn through to adults (including some non natives). Identifying reptiles was shown to be less challenging, however recognising their range of habitats and spotting them within can be difficult for a first-time surveyor, but participants were reassured this would improve with practise in the field! Many surveying techniques were covered in detail including visual searches, torching, refugia, effects of seasonal and daily timing of surveys. The importance of correctly recording herpetological observations and other sightings of interest, were also highlighted.
After training everyone was invited on a walk around the farm to absorb the beautiful surroundings. Approximately 10% of the land belonging to the farm is preserved or deliberately planted for the benefit of native wildlife, some of which we were lucky to see! A couple of the ponds on-site were also investigated and found to be teeming with a diversity of invertebrates and toadspawn with a few newts swimming for cover from the ever-busy toads. A common lizard was also spotted nearby in addition to buzzards, hares and ammonites! There was also the opportunity to see refuges and nest boxes for owls, bats and doormice.
A huge thanks to ARAG for organising, Elm Farm for hosting and all those who attended for making it such an enjoyable as well as educational day. It's great to know there will be a number of squares surveyed in the Avon area this spring and summer!
Upcoming events will be listed here.