Edward Mayer, from Swift Conservation (www.swift-conservation.org), spoke to the MOS on supporting swifts in our towns. He advises on swifts around the world.
He was an engaging and inspiring speaker and there was a good turn-out and informative discussion. The range of conservation and cultural swift projects was fascinating.
The MOS and Manx BirdLife have an initiative in Taking Action for Swifts and wish to hear of any swift nest sites that may be found (records to http://manxbirdlife.im/manx-birds/action-for-swifts/), in order to offer support to rebuild Manx colonies.
The next day, Edward provided training on the encouragement of urban biodiversity within buildings and development plans, supported by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture.
This involved a talk on options for greening features, then the group were tasked with making a major development more wildlife-friendly, environmentally positive, health-enhancing and pleasant to visit.
Discussions included the reasons for supporting and enhancing biodiversity, cost-effective and self-sustaining green roofs and green walls, sustainable urban drainage, what wildlife is most beneficial in the urban environment and how to support it, the visitor experience and associated mental and physical health issues.
It was an enjoyable and interactive training experience.