DRAG aims to raise awareness and understanding of the conservation of amphibians and reptiles, in Devon and the UK, through reptile and amphibian recording, and habitat management work. DRAG aims to bring together people with an interest in reptiles and amphibians.
If you would like to find out more about reptiles and amphibians in Devon, ask for advice or want to get involved with events and surveys, please get in touch!
If you are interested in becoming a DRAG member, send us your details so we can add you to our mailing list for exciting events and activities that are not always advertised on the website.
My colleague in RSPB forwarded this important email to me last week. If you care about our top nature conservation sites please take action now to stop George Osborne's proposals to weaken the laws to protect them. Sites of international wildlife importance in Devon include Braunton Burrows, Exe Estuary, Dawlish Warren, East Devon Pebblebed Heaths, Culm Grasslands, Dartmoor, Plymouth Sound and Estuaries, South Hams, amongst many others. These are home to many rare plants and animals, including sand lizards, great crested newts, dormice, greater horseshoe bats and birds. Many wildlife conservation organisations, including the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC), the Wildlife Trusts and RSPB have signed up to the Wildlife Link letter below to stop the proposals, see link below. If you want to take action yourself to let George Osborne know what you think of his plans please follow the RSPB campaign links below, it only takes five minutes!
DRAG Publicity Officer
"You are hopefully aware of the risk to the Habitats Regulations, one of the critical pieces of legislation that protects our natural heritage from bad development. George Osborne referred to them as “gold-plated” and a “ridiculous cost on British business” in his autumn budget statement, and there is now a growing movement to review and weaken them.
Well the Chancellor’s spring budget statement will be issued on 21 March, and this is your chance to directly email Mr Osborne to ask him to put the environment at the heart of our economic recovery.
To do this is easy - just go (http://www.rspb.org.uk/savingspecialplaces/index.aspx), fill in your email details, and follow the simple template. It took me just 5 minutes.
If everyone of us took this one single step, imagine what an impact we could have...one powerful team for nature! Spread this to our supporters and colleagues out there, and we will be one big voice for nature.
So please, take 5 minutes to do this now, and 5 minutes to persuade 5 others to do it to. We are all busy, but the stakes have rarely been higher.
"PS: over 30 of you wrote or emailed your MPs before Christmas on this subject, some of you wrote articles in local magazines, and many encouraged friends and family to lobby too. Thank you all, a brilliant effort! And if you want to see the collective response to Defra by Wildlife Link (the partnership of 21 wildlife NGOs), see (http://www.wcl.org.uk/docs/Link_response_to_Nature_Directives_060212.pdf). Once more unto the breach, dear friends..."
This years AGM will be held at Living Coasts, Torquay on Saturday 10th March. It will start at 1.30pm with a guided tour of the facility followed by the meeting at 3pm.
There will also be a meeting from 12 – 1pm prior to the tour for those interested in volunteering for this years Great Crested Newt survey programme.
All are welcome!
One Volunteer Toad Patrol Coordinator (TPC) and several Volunteer Regional Toad Patrol Officers (RO)
To help monitor and conserve breeding toad populations. Spread the word, collect information on local toad sites, set up warning signage, set up and help toad patrols. "Local toad populations are seriously threatened each spring when they cross roads to reach their breeding ponds, often on cold wet nights on country lanes. Mortalities can in some cases lead to entire population losses and are an increasing problem for toads. In order to improve this situation and assist with toad conservation Devon Reptile and Amphibian Group (DRAG) and Devon Wildlife Trust DWT Local Groups are looking for volunteers to help identify key road crossings and protect toad populations".
TPC: will act as main point of contact for sightings and offers of help, and will be supported by a network of other volunteers including Regional Officers who know about toads in their local areas.
RO: will collect local toad info, assist with setup and running of patrols in their areas and liaise with TPC
TPC: Good people skills, accurate data handling, use of car to visit sites if necessary. Liaise with and offer assistance to existing toad patrols if required. Start up and organize new toad patrols, willing to work at night, in rain, in rural or urban areas, help carry toads across roads. Good H&S awareness in such situations. Able to coordinate lots of people and data. Write up a report at end of the season. Liaise closely with ROs and DRAG Chair.
RO: Good people skills, accurate data handling, use of car to visit sites if necessary. Liaise with and offer assistance to existing toad patrols if required. Start up and organize new toad patrols, willing to work at night, in rain, in rural or urban areas, help carry toads across roads. Good H&S awareness in such situations. Able to coordinate lots of people and data. Liaise closely with TPC.
RO: local to their homes
The toad breeding season, Feb-March each year
Nicky Green on email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Devon-wide and local
Thanks to everyone who helped organise and attend the South West ARG Conference!
Although I may be slightly biased, as a helper, speaker and attendee, I felt the day was a success and very enjoyable. I think we can give ourselves a pat on the back! We’ve also had positive feedback from the other attendees too! In the end we had 63 people attending and we managed to raise money on the raffle and the DRAG Xmas cards.
We had round-ups of the year’s activities from DRAG, Avon RAG, Cornwall RAG and Somerset ARG. Everyone has been busy with guided walks, toad patrols and surveys around the region. These were followed by engaging talks on scientific field studies by Vicky Buller and Alex Sams and John Breeds’ slideshow of a lifetime in conservation. Jon Cranfield updated us on 'Make the Adder count' and, after lunch, fielded a discussion of how to raise the profile of reptiles and amphibians. Helen Fearnley highlighted the threats of recreational disturbance on herps; Toby Taylor summed up the smooth snake reintroduction project and David Orchard gave us an insight into the exciting Millennium Ponds Project. If you want further information on any of these talks please get in touch and we can put you in touch with the relevant speaker.
Photos of the event will be posted onto the photo gallery webpages in due course.
Have a great Christmas and New Year from DRAG! See our ecard in the photo gallery. Watch this space for more events and activities in 2012... Looking forward to seeing you then!
Devon Reptile and Amphibian Group
Upcoming events will be listed here.