naee-logoWalk to School week starts today.  Every year Living Streets puts together a fun themed challenge to take on while walking to and from school.  In 2017 400,000 children and their families joined the challenge and got a taste of the many benefits the simple act of walking can bring.


Countryside Classroom says you can follow the example of Anderton Park primary school which FaceTimed a Farmer so their pupils could learn about farming in general and British farming in particular.  The school has signed up all year 3, 4, 5 and 6 teachers, and most have already had FaceTime calls with their link farmers, who include dairy farmers and quinoa growers. You can read more here.


LEAF (in partnership with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) has produced ten posters that showcase how science and technology benefit farming. The topics are:

science, technology, soil, water, biodiversity, grassland management, animal welfare, animal feed, plants and wheat.

A booklet to go with the posters is coming soon.


If vernalisation is not a concept you’re familiar with, then last week’s Life Scientific is the place to go for illumination.  In fact, everyone reading this is familiar with the vernalising process, if not with the scientific name.  It is, after all, what’s been happening around us for the past few weeks as spring finally replaced winter.  In the programme, Jim Al-Khalili talks with Professor Dame Caroline Dean of the John Innes Centre in Norwich who focussed at the molecular level on the individual cells and genes that flip the flowering switch.  Dean has also recently been awarded the 2018 L’Oréal-UNESCO award for Women in Science Laureate.  The Awards celebrate the many eminent women in science all over the world.


Between 2015 and 2017, PondNet staff collected data on the presence of Great Crested Newts from more than 230 1 km grid squares, and over 670 ponds.  They used conventional survey methods, but also a new technology of testing water samples for tiny pieces of newt DNA left in the water, called environmental DNA (eDNA).  Thanks to funding from Defra, Natural England and the Heritage Lottery Funded People, Ponds and Water project, and support from Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and Amphibian and Reptile Groups, this is the first ever national eDNA survey across the world.  The report is here.


Pine marten or osprey?  Which are you rooting for in this Woodland Trust video of egg-raiding.  Had it been a human egg-taker, there would have been utter condemnation, but as a marten, it’s hard to apportion blame.  Good pics show the precarious balance of life in the wild.  Last Friday was endangered species day, but ospreys are not endangered; nor are martens.


More from the C&NN New Nature Movement


Climate Action says that wind power was the second-highest form of power generation in the UK across the first three months of 2018.  The UK’s 8,886 onshore and offshore turbines produced 18.8 percent of all the country’s electricity, more than the 18.7 percent from nuclear power plants.  At its peak on 17th March, wind energy (flowing from Siberia) passed 14 gigawatts for the first time, supplying 47.3 percent of all UK electricity, another record.  As we type this, Grid Carbon shows that wind is only generating 16%, but solar is 25%.

Meanwhile, a study: European wind generation within a 1.5˚C warmer world [*] argues that he UK and large parts of northern Europe could become windier if global temperatures reach 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels, according to a new study. Researchers from British Antarctic Survey, the University of Oxford and the University of Bristol combined data from 282 onshore wind turbines collected over 11 years suggest that large areas of Germany, Poland and Lithuania could become more viable for wind power in future. But the biggest increases in wind could be seen in the UK.  Wind power is central to a low carbon economy.

*J.S. Hosking, D. MacLeod, T. Phillips, C.R. Holmes, P. Watson, E.F. Shuckburgh, D. Mitchell is published in a ‘Special Collection: IPCC Special Report on Global warming of 1.5˚C’ in the journal Environmental Research Letters t (17 May 2018).


National Insect Week is 18 to 24 June this year.  Every two years, the Royal Entomological Society organises the week to encourage people of all ages to learn more about insects.  You can visit the website for events and teaching resources.


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