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CJS News, pick of today's headlines

CJS's pick of the countryside and wildlife news, updated weekdays.

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The value of outdoor recreation in Wales – Natural Resources Wales

We have published a new report demonstrating how the Welsh outdoors is both widely used and highly valued by people in Wales.

Image: Natural Resources WalesImage: Natural Resources Wales

Based on data from NRW’s Welsh Outdoor Recreation Survey, it provides a summary of the complex picture of outdoor pursuits in Wales between 2008 and 2015.

The report demonstrates the significant benefits that outdoor recreation brings to the Welsh economy, with £5.6 billion spent on visits to the outdoors by people living in Wales – an average of £12.74 per visit.

It shows how outdoor recreation contributes significantly to physical activity levels in Wales, with exercise and its associated health benefits given as the most important motivation.

The report also reveals how highly people value nature. Nearly half of those questioned said they are concerned about the loss of biodiversity in Wales, and the majority taking at least one action to help protect the environment.


First cycling for all festival – Lake District National Park Authority

A gathering geared to bring cycling to everyone beckons in the heart of the Lakes with Image: Lake District National Park Authorityspecially adapted wheels for riders with disabilities.

Showcasing the benefits of being mobile in the great outdoors, the Inclusive Cycling Festival is being staged at Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre on the shores of Windermere, on Friday 12 May.

Image: Lake District National Park Authority

Specially adapted cycles will cater for a wide range of abilities and people are being invited to roll up and have a go, while enjoying sensational scenery and beautiful grounds. The event is led by Cycling Projects, the charity behind nationally recognised programme, Wheels for All. By using specially adapted cycles, it provides quality, fun activities that are both physically and mentally stimulating for adults and children with disabilities and differing needs.

In the Focus on Overcoming Barriers we had an article from Pony AxeS, detailing a horse drawn transport system. Read the article here 


The first permanent Hedgehog Street inspired garden is launched at RHS Harlow Carr, Yorkshire – PTES

A Hedgehog Street inspired garden at RHS Harlow Carr, Harrogate, North Yorkshire will be unveiled for the first time today [Tuesday 25 April Hedgehog by Ali Taylor2017], by wildlife charities People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS), who have successfully coordinated the Hedgehog Street campaign since 2011, and work tirelessly to conserve the UK’s native hedgehogs.

Hedgehog by Ali Taylor

Created by award-winning garden designer Tracy Foster, this new, permanent Hedgehog Street garden showcases a smorgasbord of hedgehog-friendly features designed to encourage visitors to RHS Harlow Carr to make the green spaces on their doorsteps a haven for these prickly creatures. The garden is made up of a series of individually themed gardens; one contemporary; one rustic; and one Mediterranean. The garden’s hedgehog-friendly aspects include nesting sites and Hedgehog Highways, providing access to neighbouring gardens, safe water features, planting and vegetation, to not only encourage hedgehogs, but also other wildlife and prey.


Caterpillar found to eat shopping bags, suggesting biodegradable solution to plastic pollution – University of Cambridge

A common insect larva that eats beeswax has been found to break down chemical bonds in the plastic used for packaging and shopping bags at uniquely high speeds. Scientists say the discovery could lead to a biotechnological approach to the polyethylene waste that chokes oceans and landfills.

Scientists have found that a caterpillar commercially bred for fishing bait has the ability to biodegrade polyethylene: one of the toughest and most used plastics, frequently found clogging up landfill sites in the form of plastic shopping bags.

Close-up of wax worm next to biodegraded holes in a polyethylene plastic shopping bag from a UK supermarket as used in the experiment. Credit: The research team.Close-up of wax worm next to biodegraded holes in a polyethylene plastic shopping bag from a UK supermarket as used in the experiment. Credit: The research team.

The wax worm, the larvae of the common insect Galleria mellonella, or greater wax moth, is a scourge of beehives across Europe. In the wild, the worms live as parasites in bee colonies. Wax moths lay their eggs inside hives where the worms hatch and grow on beeswax – hence the name.

A chance discovery occurred when one of the scientific team, Federica Bertocchini, an amateur beekeeper, was removing the parasitic pests from the honeycombs in her hives. The worms were temporarily kept in a typical plastic shopping bag that became riddled with holes.

Bertocchini, from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), collaborated with colleagues Paolo Bombelli and Christopher Howe at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Biochemistry to conduct a timed experiment.

Around a hundred wax worms were exposed to a plastic bag from a UK supermarket. Holes started to appear after just 40 minutes, and after 12 hours there was a reduction in plastic mass of 92mg from the bag.


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