CBWG AGM Annual Meeting 2019 Chairman’s Report

CBWG AGM Annual Meeting 2019 Chairman’s Report.

Once again I would like to give a big thank you to all the trustees, members and supporters of CBWG for all that has been achieved since our last AGM. It has been considerable. A positive difference continues to be made both on the reserve and on North Loop. 
People visiting the reserve often comment about what a special place it is and how grateful they are for what is being done to enhance their enjoyment of it. Nothing is done without commitment. I would like to thank all those who have tirelessly given themselves over the last twelve months so that the CBWG’s aim of promoting conservation and education on the reserve at Cromwell Bottom can continue.
I would like to thank David Langley for the huge amount of work he has done and the time he has given. I would also like to thank Rosemary for her role as treasurer. Since our last AGM we have welcomed Lyn and Hayley as new trustees. They and all our trustees have given up their time, made available their skills and without doubt have contributed to another successful year for CBWG.  
Let me outline for you some of the things that have been achieved.
Thursday workdays:
This has gone from strength to strength. I want to thank David Langley and Graham Haigh for all the planning and organising they do for this day.
A new workshop is now in place and fitted out. It provides an excellent space for planning and working and makes our workdays special. A big thank to Alistair, David, Graham and David Langley for being central to all of that. 
The Cabin continues to be at the hub of all we do as a Group on the reserve, providing a refuge from the weather and refreshments in the sun. A place where conversations and cake come together. I would like to thank all of those involved in making that the success it is. I would like especially to thank Jane and her team of volunteers for all the work they do on Sundays serving refreshments and giving out information. We are grateful for what you have done. No matter what the weather, our volunteers have opened up the cabin almost every Sunday. We are grateful. 
As a group working to promote and manage the reserve for people and wildlife much has been achieved over the last twelve months.
Other work done on and for the reserve:
(i) The bird-viewing area has been enhanced. We have rebuilt the screens and the fence around. 
(ii) We have been busy in the lagoon, cutting reads, making channels and doing tests. Plans for the restoration of the lagoon continue, but it has been and continues to be a complex project. 
(iii) The steering group charged with moving this forward have worked tirelessly over the last twelve months. The recommendation from them, accepted by the Trustees, is that in the short term the focus needs to move from excavation to bringing water into the lagoon to prevent the cycle of drying out that has occurred in the past. We are now working to make this happen.
(iv) (iv) Over sixty new nest boxes for Blue Tits and Great Tits were put up in 2018 and more have been added this year. All of which have been cleaned and some have been re-sited. We are grateful to Steve Downing for his willingness to come and record and ring the fledglings. 
(v) Three new oak benches, financed by a grant from Aviva, were put in place in suitable places on the reserve. This has meant that people with health issues, as well as others, can have a rest and take the opportunity to enjoy the views of the reserve. 
(vi) Last year we planted a wild flower meadow in front of the cabin and planted some shrubs at the back. Though this is still a work in progress it promises to provide a green space for people enjoying refreshments at the cabin to look out on and for insects to feed on.

Our commitment to conservation involves us in many things, from grass cutting and clearance to litter-picking and dog-bin emptying. All of this happens because people get involved.
Education is an important part of any group dedicated to conservation and we are no exception. Along with the work we continue to do with Duke of Edinburgh students and a local scout group we have now developed a learning and working partnership with Old Earth Primary School. 
This involves sixty children coming from the school to the reserve to be involved in activities in which they learn about the natural world. I want to thank David and Simon for all the work they have done in making this partnership a reality. It has been exciting for all of us to see the enthusiasm of the school children, the staff and the volunteers from the school and the way they have got involved.
At the other end of the educational spectrum we have established a partnership with Huddersfield University. Teachers and students visit the reserve as part of their curriculum, taking samples and doing tests which will further their studies. This helps them and us to understand the chemical processes at work in what used to be land that was once used for industrial purposes. 
Reaching out to families and involving young people in nature bases activities has and continues to be important to us. In 2018 we held our most successful Open Day yet. Birds of prey, animal viewing and handling, guided walks, pond dipping, face painting and stalls promoting wildlife plus some amazing weather all contributed to a great and successful event that engaged people of all ages.
Reflecting on outreach, our excellent newsletter team have continued to excel themselves. I want to thank Val and all those involved for their creative work. It’s not just the newsletter, I want to say thank you for the maps of the reserve and the posters and cards that are produced. As well as the newsletter team, Graham Haigh and David Langley have given a number of talks relating to wildlife which have been greatly appreciated. These have resulted in wider publicity and donations for the work of the Group on the reserve. Again, I want to thank them on your behalf.
Rosemary will be taking us through the accounts. I want to take this opportunity to thank her for the work she does. As I do so, I also want to thank Margaret Conroy for the excellent work she has done in getting the grants we have been able to get for our work on the reserve. I would also like to thank Hayley for the work she has done through Brighouse Ladies Circle in raising money towards the viewing platform which will be installed overlooking the lagoon this summer. For all those organisations, groups and individuals who have contributed financially I want to say thank you on behalf of CBWG.
Partnership is a key theme for us at CBWG. I want to acknowledge Robin Dalton’s role from CMBC Countryside Services. His commitment and contribution to the reserve has been an encouragement over the last twelve months.
In conclusion, all of these achievements take time, commitment and energy. We are therefore grateful to all those who volunteer to help CBWG achieve its aim of making a positive difference on the reserve at Cromwell Bottom. We could not have done what we have done without you. To each one of you we say thank you.

Allan Wolfenden ( Chair)

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