(This post for the April edition of 'The Parishioner' was written before the full unfolding of the Covid19 crisis. Information about future events does not now apply but perhaps the broader message applies even more as gardeners spend more time nurturing their patch.)
Here’s a little thought to ponder. Do glow worms matter? Do they matter more than we do? I ask because the latest glow worm news is that their numbers have collapsed in the UK and are down 75 per cent over the past 20 years. We used to have several areas in Cookham where we could find them on balmy summer evenings but the records are getting fewer and fewer. And we did it. Whether it’s human-induced climate change and land management (earlier dry weather in spring and summer reduces the slugs and snails while overgrown grassland reduces their habitat) or individual actions (recently two Cookham residents have unwittingly destroyed sites) we humans are to blame. And does that matter?
As you’d expect at WildCookham we think it does. For a whole host of reasons. Each brick in the wall of life that we remove makes all life, including ours, that little bit more vulnerable. And anyone who has witnessed the wonder of a glow worm pulsing its light on a summer’s evening will know what a remarkable bit of life they are witnessing. These little one-inch-long wonders are, in fact, beetles, not worms, and the light is stimulated by the females to attract males.
Glow worms are one of so many animals and plants whose existence is dependent on how we behave. And a little thought can make a difference. So here’s a plea to us all. If you have any plans for your house or garden give some thought to how your plans may affect the other wild residents living next to you. And if you’d like some advice contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember: you really can make a difference. (And we’ll be trying to find glow worms on one of our outings in the summer: join us then.)
Join us also on our Bluebell walk in Cookham Dean on 21st April and look out for one of our fascinating What’s about? walks in April.
Details of all our events are on www.meetup.com/WildCookham, or via wildcookham.org.uk where you can become a supporter. And follow us at www.facebook.com/groups/wildcookham