FRIENDS OF ASTON’S EYOT
Minutes of the AGM held on Thursday 10th November 2016 at 7.30 pm at the Gladiators Club, Iffley Road, Oxford.
Present: The Committee: Anthony Cheke (Co-Chair and meeting Chair) Ruth Ashcroft (Co-Chair), Laurie Burrell (Treasurer) Claire Malone-Lee (Membership Secretary) Timothy Lee, Penny Bassett, Greg Webster, James Martin, Thelma Martin (Minutes).
In addition, 18 others were present, of whom a list has been retained.
- APOLOGIES were received from Kay Millar, Christine North, Ivan and Jacqueline Wright, Pip and Nick Willcox, Chris Cullen, Richard Tarver, Steve Curran, Penny Newsome.
- MINUTES and MATTERS ARISING The Minutes of the 2015 AGM were accepted, proposed by Greg Webster, seconded by Jackie Ingram.
- ANNUAL REPORT RA presented and elaborated upon the annual report which had been circulated to members, highlighting that Roe Deer were fewer in number following Christ Church’s cull, the work done with the funds provided by the Patsy Wood Trust, which would be exhausted by December this year, the complications with the Pond Project which have led to its being shelved for now ,the Council’s valued assistance with mowing large areas and removing cut material, and our own work on keeping smaller paths open, for which activity an appeal for assistance was made to the meeting.
Work done on the Kidneys was outlined, in particular the “Pollinator Patches” following from Oxford Friends of the Earth’s Bee Project wildflower patch, designed to promote continuity of flowering and biodiversity.
RA noted that, although FOAE could keep current work ticking over there was much more that could and should be done, but this was not possible without additional active committee members and/or volunteers. One area of help needed was with mowing and strimming, use of the power scythe and/or manual scything, all heavy work. It was emphasised that Oxfordshire is at present a rural County but it was foreseeable in the light of proposed building plans that urban wildlife areas would be increasingly important. Another item was educational projects, the area being used for occasional Forest School lessons by various groups, but in an uncoordinated manner. An offer from the floor, from Alex Stonor, was made to help with this.
Resulting from a question from the floor, the City Council’s position on the clearance of Himalayan Balsam along the Thames would be ascertained.
Claire Malone Lee described the valuable work of the Patch Champions and recorded the Committee’s thanks to them.
Ruth Ashcroft thanked everyone who had helped with work on the Eyot during the past year..
The report was accompanied by a display of still photographs from the Calendar Competition curated by Timothy Lee and Penny Bassett, and TL was thanked for his work, together with AC, on the preparation of the 2017 Calendar.
- TREASURER’S REPORT Laurie Burrell presented his report, copies of the accounts having been provided at the meeting, which was accepted (proposed by Kate Patullo, seconded by Ruth Ashcroft)
- SUBSCRIPTIONS The Committee’s proposal that subscriptions should remain at £5 and £3 for concessions was accepted the meeting, nem.con.
- ELECTION OF COMMITTEE for 2016 -17. The Committee being willing to stand for coming year were duly elected, nem. Con. ( proposed by Jackie Ingram, seconded by Janet McCrae) There is space on the Committee for 3 people to be co-opted . Iona Argyle volunteered and will be co-opted at the next committee meeting.
- ANY OTHER BUSINESS and General discussion: Anthony Cheke reported an approach on behalf of BBC “Winterwatch” seeking unusual urban wildlife. The albino Badgers were suggested as being unusual and interesting, but fears were expressed that identification of the area would result in disturbance to them and the Eyot which would be unwelcome. The inclination was not to go with the idea, but further non-committal inquiries could be made.
The perennial issue of litter was raised. Litter picks will take place in January when all the nettles are down and detritus is most visible, and also in March as part of the “Oxclean” initiative. Councillor Williams agreed to liaise between Council general waste and the Parks department to see if the emptying of bins can be rationalised. Jackie Ingram will find out what happens to the University Sports Centre’s waste.
The Committee agreed with a suggestion from the floor that a polite, non-confrontational announcement would be drafted for the notice board, highlighting the dangers to wildlife from litter.
- The formal business part of the meeting having closed at 8.40 pm, Anthony Cheke then presented a short talk and slideshow, answering questions from the floor, on birds observed on Aston’s Eyot, those breeding there, and possible reasons for increase or decline in species present there and in the surrounding area.