Cow Minders Wanted!

Message form Gill James

Volunteer Induction Meeting August 4th 11am – Meet at the Temple

You will be delighted to hear that three longhorn English cows will be returning to Wanstead Park for the conservation grazing project this summer. They will arrive in late August and stay for about a month or until they’ve eaten all the available grass.

Volunteers are an important part of this project, to ensure the welfare of both the cows and the park visitors, many of whom will be entirely unfamiliar with longhorn cow behaviour.

If you are interested in helping, John Phillips, the man in charge of the main Epping Forest herd, will be a leading preliminary talk and walk around the grazing site when he will answer any queries.

The induction meeting is on Wednesday August 4th, 11am, meet outside the Temple. It is not essential that volunteers attend the induction meeting but it helps. The talk last year was fascinating.

Volunteer’s role

Judging by last year’s experience, the main role of volunteers is to answer questions from curious onlookers. The safeguarding function is to diplomatically ask people, especially small people, to stand about 2 metres away from the cattle and not to try to distract or touch them. Also to ask people with dogs to keep them on a lead and away from the cattle when in the grazing area.

Last year’s volunteering was a very positive experience. The vast majority of people are very enthusiastic and keen to learn and after the first week nearly everyone knows how to behave around the cows. The cows are placid and well able to look after themselves.

On behalf of both the Wren Group and Friends of Wanstead Parklands I will be making a rota and asking volunteers to sign up to cover at least one two-hour session every week for up to four weeks, with the first week being the most important. It is a good idea to work in pairs. Any variation on this can be negotiated!

Please let me know if you are interested in helping and if you can attend the meeting by sending your details here:

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