Friday, 23 February 2018

Public lecture: Evolution of the body snatchers: the secret lives of parasites


Prof. Robert Poulin from the University of Otago, New Zealand, will be delivering his lecture at the Wallace Lecture Theatre in the Main University Building (CF10 3AT) on Wednesday, 4th April 2018.
There is a free drinks reception at the Viriamu Jones Gallery at 5p.m. followed by the lecture at 6p.m. Ths event is free and open to all members of the public.
What's it about? :
The mere mention of the word ‘parasite’ is enough to fill the average person with contempt and disgust. Even professional biologists think little of parasites; they are widely seen as degenerate organisms running counter to progressive evolution. Yet parasites are capable of amazing things, and the lives they spend in the nooks and crannies of their hosts are as full and complex as those of any other organism. Many parasites sense what is happening outside the host and adjust what they do inside the host accordingly. Others live in structured colonies with division of labour, a phenomenon we normally associate only with ants and bees, or with humans. Perhaps most impressive, parasites can take control of how their host behaves, turning the host into a puppet and making it do strange things for the parasites’ own benefit. Professor Robert Poulin will take us on a tour of the world of parasites, debunk several myths about them, and promote a greater appreciation of their unique biology.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Greggs Grant

We have now spent most of our £1,000 grant on the ordering of native wild flower seeds and plugs to plant at 5 entrances to the Nant Fawr. Two days have been set aside in April for 4 local schools and the Friends to tackle the task; hopefully, this will coincide with starting the erection of new notice boards funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. We hope to make the areas more welcoming whilst keeping the plant species in line with those of the neighbouring woodlands and meadows. We are grateful for the support of Greggs in providing the funds for this community venture.

Workday, February 18th 2018

Although a bit damp and muddy underfoot, 16 volunteers turned up at the old reservoir car park. After a short walk to the bottom meadow the work parties were formed.
The first group tackled the path; this had narrowed considerably and the remainder was mainly covered in mud. The mud was scraped away and the path sides rediscovered by digging! It was disappointing when a runner decided to shout comments about the pointlessness of our efforts - no doubt he was unaware that the path he was using was laid as a result of hard work by the Friends, and he would have been unable to use the path at all if it hadn't been for the continuing efforts of the volunteers! At least the majority of comments we receive are appreciative.
The undergrowth and some trees to the side of the path were cut back by a second group so that the path was passable.
A third group tackled the plants surrounding the bench nearby. Brambles were cut back and the tree saplings thinned out.
There will be just one more attack on the undergrowth in the Nant Fawr area before we turn our sights on other tasks as the bird breeding season arrives.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

February workday

The next work day will be on
February 18th, from 10a.m. to 12 noon
We shall be undertaking: 
Cutting back of undergrowth and widening of the meadow footpaths

Meeting place: Old Reservoir Car Park (from the lane next to 127 Rhydypenau road)