Special interest groups

Living Churchyards So our churchyard was to be officially "closed". No more burials, and its care handed over to Restormel District Council. Some people heaved a sigh of relief, others worried. The Council could provide efficiency but not the loving care which the churchyard had always had, and which they felt it needed. And what about the environmental aspect'? What about chemicals? What about strimmers cutting everything within sight to a uniform length'? Something had to be done.

And it has been done! The Luxulyan Churchyard Pmject has been born, in which a group of volunteers work together with the Council. What could be better'? Everybody benefits. The Council provides expertise and the kind of work too expensive or difficult for us volunteers to do, such as managing the trees, making a new path or cutting the grass, and has assured us that chemicals will only be used as a very last resort. Meanwhile, we send the Council reports based on the work we do as a "group once a month, and individually when we can, so it is kept in touch with the project's development.

All in all, it's becoming most rewarding: the school is getting involved, a memorial seat is being donated,' we are proud to display a "living churchyard" poster in the church porch', volunteers with a Council colleague attended a workshop day at Kenwyn', and we've even registered with Restormel as an Agenda 21 project.

So if you live near a "closed" churchyard and would enjoy working in it, take heart!

Toni Olsson
Church warden at St Cyriac and St Julitta, Luxulyan

Common Frog & Common Toad
Common frog (left) and common toad but how common are they now?
Photo Stuart Hutchings

Reptile & Amphibian Group

I'm currently drafting a Habitat Action Plan for standing open fresh water (ponds

and lakes) as part of the South West Regional Biodiversity Initiative and one thing that s become very obvious is our lack of information on ponds - how many there are, what wildlife they support and which are the most important. Without such basic knowledee. it's difficult to conserve them.

One of CRAG's aims has been to gather that information, but to be honest we've failed so far. Now I'm hoping to get together with the dragonfly experts, birders. stonewort fanciers and others to "pool" our knowledge.

On a positive note, our amphibian and reptile work continues to generate a lot of public interest and we have played a key role in supporting the development of "RAGs" across the South West.

Mark Nichokon

RIGS Group

Many of us were shaken back in November by the Penzance earthquake. a little twitch of the earth's crust. On 16th March we all have a chance to see some of Cornwall's strata dancing to Padstow's May Song. I doubt that even Padstonians would claim that their beautifully invasive song could make the earth move, but with the slight aid of video technology it does. Tune in to Postcards from the Past, the last of the current Natural World series (unless it is moved yet again) and see the phenomenon. Certainly more than a trifling 3.) on the Richter scale!

At the RIGS AGM, Roger Jones, the pmducer, gave us a preview of much of the programme. Cornish heath, dyer's greenweed, golden eagles, hawk jets, Lizzie, purple saxifrage, great crested grebes, scorpions yes, all included as well as serpentine, Helman Tor, tinstone, ice ages. tolds and faults. I hope you will watch, and if you enjoy the programme you will write to the BBC and then we might have more geology on the box ... as well as more quirky programmes. Sex and violence in the Serengeti it is not.

The RIGS display, designed by Sarah McCartney, has been admired in London at Burlington House (in the Geological Society's accommodation), in Bristol at the anniversary symposium of the West of England Geologists' Association, and at Wadebridge at the annual conference of the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG).

The Royal Institution Christmas lectures this year are by Simon Conway-Morris on The History in our Bones - complementing last year's Planet Earth. an Explorer's Guide.

John Macadam

Bat Group

The new colony of greater horseshoes reported in the last Wild Cornwall has turned out to be lesser horseshoe bats. Not quite as endangered but still very interesting. This colony peaked at 92 bats in late July and is the second-largest colony of this species in Cornwall.

Bats would appear to have had a poor breeding season due to the very late spring. with numbers down at most roosts counted. However, the mild autumn has meant that bats are still flyin" and feeding in early November.

An interesting recent record was of a bat caught by a fishing rod at Dunmere Bridge, Bodmin, in late September. This turned out to be a female noctule and is making a good recovery.

Daniel Eva

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