Tagged with: News

Posts (84)

  1. The science and art of the National Botanic Garden of Wales are taking centre stage in China at the Wales Week celebrations. An exhibition at Nanshan Botanic Garden in Chongqing - entitled 'Barcode Wales: Beyond the Visible' features images and artwork illustrating the project to DNA barcod...

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  2. Today Rivers Trusts in North East Wales are holding a conference on the Management of Invasive Weeds in the River Dee catchment at Beaufort Park near Mold. The Trusts are co-operating on a major programme to eradicate invasive weeds from three rivers catchments, the Dee, the Clwyd and the Con...

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  3. A new walking trail has recently opened to commemorate the Hollywood star, Richard Burton. The trail starts at Burton's birthplace in Pontrhydyfen. Visitors can then listen to the Oscar-nominated star quote a passage from Under Milk Wood, the play by his favourite poet Dylan Thomas who also has walks dedicated to him in Laugharne near Camarthen. Signposts with facts about Burton's childhood and career are placed along the trail. The Richard Burton Trail is a three mile (4.8km) walk around the villages of Pontrhydyfen and Oakwood, surrounded by the Afan Forest Park. The trail was created by the council's tourism section with help from the Cwmavon Residents Action Group, Forestry Commission Wales and the Richard Burton Advisory Group at Swansea University. Find out more about a recent Weatherman Walk we did around Laugharne, following in the footprints of Dylan Thomas. BBC News - Richard Burton trail at Afan Forest Park opening

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  4. A couple of countryside stories have caught my eye this week. The first was a report from conservationists calling for urgent action to restore vast areas of peatland - including the Welsh uplands, in order to control levels of CO2 emissions. The International Union for the Conservation...

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  5. Accolades for our stunning Welsh coastline just keep on coming. The travel bible - Lonely Planet have just announced that Wales is a 'must-see destination for 2012', highlighting the All Wales Coastal Path as a potentially huge crowd puller in their top ten regions for 2012. The path aims ...

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  6. Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD) is the subject taking up our time on Country Focus this week. What's that you say? Well, quite, and as you may have already guessed - it's an American term for what medical experts are claiming is a recognisable condition, namely that people are increasingly becoming divorced from the natural world. This all started with the publication of a book entitled Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv where the term 'Nature Deficit Disorder' (NDD) was first coined back in 2005. Since then it's become a convenient label for a number of concerns and symptoms, ranging from behavioural problems, depression and other problems associated with low self-esteem. And all because we're 'without meaningful contact with the natural world' apparently. You can't deny that children in particular spend less time outdoors than a generation ago or at least less time unsupervised, mainly owing to concerns about traffic and strangers. At the same time, there's been a huge increase in organised sport for kids as an attempt (presumably) to redress the balance but whatever happened to scampering - the art of aimless, unstructured play in the great outdoors? The type of thing that involves climbing trees (think of the health and safety implications), handling creepy crawlies (think of the germs) and getting generally muddy (think of all the extra laundry). With a little research into the subject, there are stories to be found about doctors writing nature prescriptions, ordering patients to go on long walks, joining green gyms and learning bush craft skills. Outdoor play has also become a huge part of the school curriculum. When I was in primary school, we didn't even have any grass to play on, just a large concrete yard, but today the Foundation Phase is all about 'bringing the outdoors in'. Although having said that, a recent provisional report from the Schools Inspectorate, Estyn claimed that not enough was being done to encourage outdoor learning in Wales. Outdoor play They also stress that children under five learn better and develop quicker in outdoor lessons and that teachers could do more to create opportunities to get some fresh air into the classrooms (and vice versa). BBC News: Estyn call for more outdoor learning in Wales. That certainly isn't the case at Llanrhidian Primary on Gower, which I visited last week as part of my research for the programme. The school has its very own farm, housed in an internal courtyard within the main building, complete with hay bales, chickens and ducks! Two pupils in wellies were busy mucking out while I visited and were clearly enjoying themselves. Head teacher Donna Caswell also showed me the school's orchard, wind turbine and even pathways covered in Penclawdd cockle shells, claiming that the whole project has transformed the life of the school. She also told me that pupils are less anxious when they're outside and therefore learn better and faster than in an indoor environment. I was even able to buy a box of eggs on my way out, freshly laid that morning. You can hear more on the debate surrounding 'Nature Deficit Order' on Country Focus on Sunday, 30 October. Feel free to add your comments about this topic to the blog.

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  7. Sheep rustling is on the increase and becoming a big problem for farmers in Wales. I know this after making a radio series earlier this year about rural crime and discovering that as the economy nose-dives, criminals are becoming more organised and more audacious. I spoke to one farmer, (w...

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  8. I've been out and about in Haverfordwest today, a town which started a campaign three years ago to become 'plastic bag free'. A local campaigning group created a cotton bag, designed by schoolchildren, complete with the slogan 'Do Something Drastic, Stop Using Plastic'. The new re-usa...

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  9. Plans for a huge offshore wind farm in the Bristol Channel are to go on show to people across south and west Wales. Atlantic Array would be roughly 10 miles off south Wales and nearly nine miles off north Devon. Meanwhile, the first minister has reiterated his frustration that big onshore wind farm decisions are to be taken outside Wales. He warned that Welsh Government planning guidance had been overruled by Westminster. The turbines will be visible from the Gower, Pembrokeshire and north Devon coasts. Carwyn Jones, questioned by assembly members, said it meant large onshore wind farms could be built anywhere in Wales. A consultation on Atlantic Array has been held in Devon and the first of seven exhibitions in Wales opens in Porthcawl at the Grand Pavilion today. It is thought the development will cover an area of sea similar in size to the Isle of Wight. Developers claim it could provide the equivalent of more than 90% of the domestic electricity consumption needs of Wales. All this comes at a time when local councils and the Welsh Assembly are attempting to attract more tourism and watersports enthusiasts into south Wales. Plans are already in the pipeline for Swansea Bay to become a 'centre of watersports excellence' and feature sports such as sailing, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, surfing, rowing, windsurfing and kite-surfing. It will be very interesting to see how the proposed wind farm, spanning a large part of the Bristol Channel will effect local surfing and wind conditions at the surfing beaches in the area. South Wales currently serves a large population of surfers, windsurfers and kite-surfers who travel from far away, to enjoy the excellent wind and wave conditions found along this stretch of the coast with the M4 corridor making it easily accessible. A regeneration scheme is also going ahead in Porthcawl where a new Adrenaline Coast Festival gets under way next month (October 7-9). This includes a UK Pro surfing contest featuring 100 of the best UK surfers and a £2000 prize. Read more about the wind farm story on BBC News. Have your say in the comments box below.

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