Yesterday evening gave a msitletoe presentation to Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust – a good, satisfying evening – and a bit of a contrast to my last presentataion to a GWT audience – just 2 weeks ago.
That was on canal restoration – a debate meeting jointly with the Gloucestershire Naturalists Society on the wildlife pros and cons of the local canal restoration (www.britishwaterways.co.uk/cotswolds). Reception there started with mistrust, and ended with a bit of it too. The issues are complex – though fairly easy in the early stages of the project where there are relatively straightforward ecological issues, solutions and enhancements. But it’s the later stages (some years off still) where problems arise – how to restore a long dry canal passing through an ancient woodland SSSI, full of ptotected dormice, without affecting SSSI status, woodland or the dormice? Or how to restore an inaccessible 2.5 mile tunnel, 200 years old, with significant roof falls and an interesting and protected bat population? All could be solved with research, over several years – and though we have the several years, we haven’t yet quite got the funding or commitment to do the research…
But I digress, as usual. What about the mistletoe do? Well, it seemed to go down well, lots of enthusiasm and questions. But I try to fit a lot in – biology, mistletoe worldwide, customs, myths, medicine, harvesting, growing your own, trade, contrasts with harvest and trade in the States, art nouveau, tacky Christmas art, conservation in UK, distribution in UK, national survey results etc. A bit demanding for me and the audience in 45 mins or so.
Oddly enough the Gloucestershire Naturalists Society have never asked me to do the mistletoe talk – only canals. When I suggested mistletoe to their meetings chap a few years back he said he couldn’t see how just one species could fill the time – I didn’t push the point, there wasn’t time….