Bicton reaches into community

PUBLISHED: 11:17 02 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:26 11 June 2010

IN response to public interest in the environment and sustainability, Bicton College has launched a series of six winter lectures on East Devon Our Environment. Already providing full and part-time courses on-site for students of all ages, the college f

IN response to public interest in the environment and sustainability, Bicton College has launched a series of six winter lectures on East Devon - Our Environment.Already providing full and part-time courses on-site for students of all ages, the college feels it should expand to offer other members of the community a chance to learn about their area.Posters promoting the lectures will be available in Sidmouth library and shops, as well as libraries in other areas and through countryside and gardening groups.The lectures will be held at Dart's Farm, near Exeter, on Thursday evenings from January 10, between 7.30pm and 9pm.They will concentrate on the richness of East Devon's natural history, some of which is affected by current climate and environmental changes, and others that are an intrinsic part of the area.Kitrina Bishop, a member of Bicton's commercial team, said: "For this series, we have chosen organisations with very strong links to the local area and speakers who will share their knowledge and passion for their individual areas of interest. "These are all inter-related, and together create our beautiful wildlife-rich local countryside."We chose to feature the Jurassic Coast as it forms one boundary of our area, and is important as a World Heritage Site. "This links to the archaeology of the area, so we have asked Thomas Cadbury to talk about the hillforts, a distinctive, but probably overlooked, aspect of our topography."Annabel Keast, from the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, will explain the wildlife considerations undertaken by local farmers. These topics contribute to the possible development of public nature reserves through East Devon District Council and its education officer, James Chubb, will speak on this. Kitrina said: "The area is defined by the Axe Valley in the east and the Exe in the west, which are birding hotspots, so it was inevitable that we should include a talk on birdwatching. "We are fortunate John Woodland and Mike Tyler will share their expertise and knowledge with us."She has saved one of the largest natural influences until last - the weather - a major factor in all our lives, and local weatherman John Hammond will explain how East Devon's microclimates develop.Bicton will be following this series with a summer series on wildlife habitat development, a sustainability course and a permaculture taster weekend. Kitrina said: "This is the beginning of a new direction for Bicton College, following the vision of Devon as the Green county and linking with and promoting local businesses."We are keen to expand our environmental offering to members of the public, encouraging them to become part of the county-wide initiative to create a sustainable future for Devon."This lecture series is just the first item on an exciting agenda, which promises to involve many aspects of Devon's ecological and environmental issues.

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