About this Episode

In the first ever episode of The Wild Wight, we take a look at the most iconic mammal on the island Red Squirrels. we speak to Helen Butler MBE from the Wight Squirrel Project about the world leading scientific research they do monitoring the health of the Red Squirrel population on the Island and the changes she has seen over the last 30 years of studying Squirrels, and also about their citizen science Squirrel Survey which allows Island residents and visitors to contribute towards the world renowned scientific research that is carried out by Helen and her dedicated team.

We also take a quick look at iWatch Wildlife and ongoing project run by the IW Natural History and Archaeological Society to encourage young people to explore, enjoy, study and record the fantastic array of species here on the Isle of Wight. Throughout the year they focus on a species of the month and ask people to record sightings and observations. You can find a range of recording resources on their website. We will be following iWatch Wildlife throughout the series.

During December they take a look at Mistletoe, a parasitic plant native to the British Isles which has been closely linked to winter festivals for thousands of years, so we have a quick look at some of the traditions and customs surrounding the plant.

The second interview in this episode is a wonderfully insightful conversation with Woodsman & Coppicer Jon Jewett, about the state of Woodland on the Island. We talk about how woodland is managed, the difference between a copse, woods and forests, the challenges woodland faces including the fight against Ash Dieback Disease and the Wood-Wide-Web, the recently discovered fact that tree communicate to each other via a network of mycelium under the forest floor!

We finish the episode with some poetry from island based author Kathryn Rossati, in 2021 she embarked on a 52 weeks of nature poetry challenge to raise money for the RSPB, and she has very kindly recorded a few the 52 poems for us to play over the series. This months poem just had to be ‘A Flash of Colour in the Trees’ which as you might have guessed is about Red Squirrels.

Kathryn’s poem is set into an audio soundscape recorded at Castle Copse in East Cowes, a small but beautifully formed copse managed by Gift to Nature.

We will be back at the end of December for episode 2, and then releasing an episode at the end of each month right through until October 2023.