Saturday, 16 February 2013

"Hi" From Our New Engagement Worker PLUS an Update

NOTICE: Sat 23 Feb - Our cameras may be offline for a few hours from 09:30 this morning whilst we install new equipment. 

(Please see an update at the foot of this post about nest cleaning etc)
Ian Layton
You might well be asking “What exactly does a 'Peregrines and  People Engagement Worker' actually do?” – and that would be a really good question! Nobody has ever tried a project quite like this before - so, although we have lots of ideas – I and the two Nicks are very much learning as we go along!

Let me share with you the general ideas behind the project. We all know that the peregrines are magical – or “amazing” if you prefer Nick M’s turn of phrase! – and that through the work that they and many others have already done, they've brightened a great many people’s lives, either through the Watch Points or via the webcams, or through this very blog. Well, my work aims to ensure that the Peregrine’s magic is shared with an ever wider audience.

Some of this will be done by adding to the educational work of the project, and we have already begun discussions with colleagues in primary, secondary and special education to see how we can best help them use the peregrines within their different styles of teaching. (see previous blog post and also the new 'Schools' Tab

Other efforts have also begun to better include those people within the city who have yet to experience that magic. We’re really keen to include people from different cultures – and to see how we can get people with a range of disabilities to become involved too. Work has already begun with our colleagues at the Cathedral and with the Cathedral Quarter to explore the different things we can offer between us.

This may mean that some of the Watch Points may operate a bit differently this year. Whilst all the Watch Points will be open for anyone who'd like to see Derby's peregrine falcons, some sessions will be tailored to meeting specific interests or the needs of particular groups. For example – we may run a session where “signers” are available to explain the wonder of the peregrines to people who rely upon sign language. We hope in this way to include ever more people, whilst not excluding those who like things the way they are.

One thing that has already become very clear is that the peregrines offer huge potential to not only brighten people’s lives, but also to further the wider cause of conservation. There’s no way that even if the two Nicks and I worked 24/7 we would be able to fully develop that potential – so (as in the past) we are working to recruit volunteers to help us make the most of the brilliant opportunity in front of us. So, if you have an interest in the falcons, and also in working with people with disabilities, or from different cultures or in environmental education – and fancy helping out – don’t hesitate to contact us! 

There’s lots more I could say about why it’s important to the wider conservation cause that we try projects like this – about how the peregrines might strengthen the very identity of Derby and Derby people (as the Crooked Spire does for those of us from near Chesterfield), or about how engaging children via webcams in classrooms can help them care about wild places and the things that live there - - but maybe that’s best left for another time!  

So a big 'thank you' to everyone for your warm welcome, and I'm looking forward to meeting more of you on line, or face-to-face in the months ahead.

Ian Layton (Peregrines and People Engagement Officer
Ps. Nick B tells me that a peregrine has been using the crooked spire in Chesterfield....clearly Derby's magic is spreading - though there's no evidence that this bird is one of 'our' youngsters.....

Contact Us:
You can reach us in many ways:
  • Leave a Blog comment on the most recent post here
  • Contact us via Twitter here
  • Contact us via Facebook here
  • Write to the Peregrine Project c/o Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, East Mill, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 1XL.
  • Telephone DWT on 01773 881188 (during office hours)
  • Or
  • Visit our WatchPoints on Derby's Cathedral Green during the breeding season.

    UPDATE: 19th February: today Nicks Moyes and Evans abseiled down to the nest to clean it up, clean and realign the two existing cameras and fit a new one (just viewable as a black 'blob' on the far wall of the platform). All went very well though it took over six hours in all! Lovely sunny day but a bit cold for the two chaps hanging by ropes, warmer for Nick B inside, feeding new cable down through the tower to the ringing room and commenting back to the abseilers about camera angles etc. Much more about this in a few days time when Ian's post above has had time to register.... NB (Ps you should notice the difference when you log on to the cameras. Pps. The new pud cam that looks across above the nest will be fitted shortly). 


Hilary, B'ham said...

Hi Ian, I've just read your blog- all good. I'd like a mention of the many "Derby Peregrines" supporters who don't live in or around Derby. Many of us live long distances away and are happy to travel to Derby. The set up at Derby is unique and wonderful. I have a fair bit of experience of other Peregrine sites round the country and none in my experience compare with Derby. I hope to be involved again this year with the watchpoints. All the best Ian.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary. The project would certainly be far weaker without the support of people like yourself. One of the great stories that has developed over the years is the support the project has received from people and schools across the country, and the interest it has attracted from overseas too.
I'm looking forward to meeting some of you "exiles" at the Watch Points - I'm sure the knowledge and enthusiasm you have will certainly rub of on those who come to view the peregrines!

Anonymous said...

Great to hear from you Ian, welcome! You may just have the best job in the world. As "Derby's baby" at the Aylesbury Project, I will definitely be wanting to get involved in some way and will contact you offline. Speaking of Aylesbury, we are just about ready to hit the on switch of our revamped webcam. Hi Hilary in Birmingham, yes, what's not to love about Derby. Have you looked at the "Cluster Map" of where the bloggers come from - it's literally all around the globe. Where was/is it that Jenny watches from - is it Hong Kong? (and I recall she even visited in person) I'm ashamed that there's only two of us in Bucks, beaten by Japan and Iceland (and many others) I also recall a conversation some time ago that there was a watcher in the Cook Islands although the project never managed to make contact and find out more.

Anonymous said...

Hi just a quick question, what is the black dome looking thing on the side of the nest platform! is it a new camera?

Nick B said...

Hi Anonymous: yes indeed that is the new camera. It was white but Nick M has masked it so it is not so intrusive.
He is still trying to work out the best way to use the new images and there will be a new blog post about it hopefully at the weekend or shortly after.
Could be exciting!
Nick B

Helen said...

Fantastic views of both peregrines on the platform this afternoon. Lots of head bowing and calling taking place, followed by some nest scraping. They don't seem to have noticed the new camera at all!

Helen said...

Lots of activity on the nest platform this morning. It's been wonderful to watch the female peregrine scraping in the gravel. You can really see how powerful her legs are. She seems to be taking more notice of the new camera today and even had a few quick pecks at it! Certainly hasn't stopped the nest preparations though!