Letter to the Welsh Government

If you’ve met me in person, you will know already that I can be rather opinionated. Particularly if the topic is concerning nature, feminism or cakes vs biscuits. Since my blog is about nature, I tend to only comment on the former here. Although I am willing to respond to queries about my thoughts on the latter two topics as well.

I am all for calling on the government and organisations to sort themselves out when it comes to wildlife and environmental protection, so when I head about the proposal to build a 6-lane motorway through the Gwent Levels, I was horrified – and relieved that there is an opportunity to let the government know my opinions on the plan.

I have personalised my response (see below), as I lived in south Wales for a year and I know how wonderful this wildlife is. Send your response too!


Re: M4 Corridor around Newport. Formal objection to draft orders – please forward to the Welsh Government.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to strongly oppose the Welsh Government’s proposal to divert the M4 motorway through the beautiful Gwent Levels.

A few years ago, I lived in south Wales and it was one of the best years of my life. I discovered the beauty of British wildlife there, from the humble cuckooflower to the majesty of red deer. I wouldn’t be the naturalist and conservationist that I am today if it hadn’t been for that year.

During this year, I worked as in environmental education, helping local children to discover the beautiful and special wildlife on their doorstep. The beautiful and special wildlife that you are proposing to destroy with this motorway. It breaks my heart to think of all the animals and plants that will be affected by this plan. I understand that something needs to be done about the M4, but this motorway through the Gwent Levels cannot be the answer.

I urge you to respect the protected environment and wildlife of the Gwent Levels and stop this new road from being built.

We need investment in a Wales that is fit for future generations, not one where our health, well-being and environment are put at risk.

Please ensure the Welsh Government receives this email so my objection will be considered and counted.

Yours sincerely,

Ms M Shersby

Some people do cuticle care …

… but I do caterpillar care!

What with this year being quite poor for moths so far, I have been since been focussing on learning more about caterpillars. After all, they are still moths … albeit young’uns. One of the best ways to do so is to raise them up into adults at home. Additionally, by looking after caterpillars, I am also learning about (and improving my) plant identification as they can be quite specific about what they feed upon. Below is an update on each of the caterpillars in my care.

  • Green unidentified (aka Jade): unfortunately died, no known cause.
  • Small brown unidentified (aka Fusspot): also died – appearance of small insects suggests it had been parasitised before it came into my care.
  • Garden Tigers (aka Fluffies 1, 2, 3): after a period of eating (and pooping) energetically, they have recently gone very sluggish. I hope that they are about to pupate.
  • Brown-tail (aka Arnold): was sluggish for a while, and spun itself a cocoon earlier this week.

I also have some recent additions to the family.

  • Lackey (currently no name): found on Thursday evening at Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve. It was evidently good timing as it then spun itself a cocoon overnight on Friday. Interesting to note, in some text I was reading about this species, it says that the caterpillars are gregarious (i.e. hang out together) and on plants such as blackthorn/hawthorn. Whereas this individual was found by itself, on oak!
  • Emperors (x12, no names): given to me by a wonderfully inspiring couple in Herefordshire – their adults had managed to hatch and mate without them noticing, resulting in many eggs! So they have given me some early instar caterpillars (an instar is a stage in a caterpillar’s growth).

In other news:

  • I was interviewed on BBC Dorset about the kestrels at Lorton Meadows.
  • Still no further responses from Red Magazine or the Radio Times.
  • I visited the Gloucester motorway services this weekend. This is actually more interesting than it sounds, as the services have been built with the local landscape in mind – read more about them here. Plus, the services have farmshops, which was extra pleasing as I found a cheese in there that I love but have only ever found at one other deli (all the way back in London).
  • My participation in the 30 Days Wild challenge has been going well I think. I’ve definitely been enjoying it!
  • My South African wildlife ID quiz for the A Focus On Nature Facebook page didn’t go down well – in hindsight, I’ve realised that it was uni exam season, so I shall repost it another time.