It has been a busy year for all the special agents in their own ways.
Agent P has continued to care for the environment, picking up litter, being involved in Forest Schools at his Primary School and studying local wildlife. He noted many types of butterflies during the summer and made regular visits to a local honey farm where he can look closely at bees in a wide variety of settings (telephone boxes, chimneys, trees, roof spaces and so on). He also used the moving hives to look inside at the bee colony. Agent P knows how important bees are for pollinating plants and also for all the uses we have for their honey and bees wax. Agent P’s favourite part is the honey tasting! Agent P also likes going to Rosemoor Gardens where they have many conservation areas. On his last visit Agent P found a snakeskin on the gravel, which many people had just walked past. Agent P visited the Wheale Martyn China Clay museum and was amazed at the amount of frogspawn in the clay settling ponds.
Agent A has continued with her voluntary work at Ferne Animal Sanctuary. She goes once a week to walk the dogs and now also gives up another day to help in the restaurant. Agent A spent a week working in the Ferne Charity Shop to help raise money for the Sanctuary. She also gave up one of her Sundays to help at a local fund raising event. Agent A was given some silkworm caterpillars by the chef at Ferne. The caterpillars look just like Concorde aeroplanes at the front! It was difficult to find mulberry leaves for them to eat but the kind people at Forde Abbey let her go and pick leaves from their mulberry trees. The caterpillars spun their cocoons before pupating. They then hatched out and the butterflies mated and the eggs are now sitting waiting to hatch out in the spring. Agent A wants to encourage other young people to have silkworm caterpillars next year. She found out from the lady at Forde Abbey that if you feed them on beetroot leaves their silk comes out pink so next year she is going to try this. Agent A was shocked to find out how silk is produced for clothes and wrote an article (attached). She was also shocked to find out that in one area of China all the fruit trees have to be pollinated by hand with a little paintbrush because all the honeybees have been killed by pesticides.Agent A also wants to help younger children coming into care by acting as a mentor for them by answering questions that they might have and generally sharing her positive experiences of coming into care.
Agent S has continued to go dog walking once a week for the Dog’s Trust and to help promote their work. Agent S also worked with a lovely Rottweiler called Meena to help her with her socialising skills. Meena has since been successfully rehomed.
The Dog’s Trust have recently committed to helping the Mdzananda small animal clinic based in Cape Town in South Africa. The clinic operates out of six metal sea containers and is located in a township where poverty and unemployment is rife. The clinic not only aims to improve animal welfare but to empower local people through creating jobs, outreach work and one-day initiatives. All the little actions in this country are enabling a big action as yet again compassion reaches out to embrace and empower around the globe – one World / One Community.
Agent Diamond was very pleased this year that despite all the wet weather lots of butterflies came to visit her buddleia trees. On one sunny morning there were over 30 on one tree including red admirals, tortoiseshells and painted ladies. Agent Diamond has developed her garden to be a wildlife garden and this year has seen many toads, frogs and slow warms. All through the Summer a hedgehog has come to feast on the slugs and snails and also quite enjoyed some cat biscuits! Agent Diamond has continued to feed the many wild birds that come to her garden and was really delighted to see the kingfisher as she walked along the local canal – a flash of iridescent blue amongst the golden hues of the autumn leaves.
Very importantly at this time of year Agent Diamond has not totally cleared her garden but has deliberately left piles of sticks and small branches in different areas. This not only provides hedgehogs with somewhere to hibernate but also provides important shelter for insects such as ladybirds. Underneath these piles are often found toads and frogs as well as centipedes and millipedes. The bushes and trees remain unpruned as they give shelter to the smaller birds and provide valuable food sources through berries and seeds and the insects that can also be found on them. It is also important to make sure that that there is water in the garden for the birds especially when it gets colder and puddles etc are frozen.
Very sadly this Autumn Agent Diamond’s faithful doggy friend reached the end of her life. Agent Diamond missed her lots and so now has another dog. He is called Boy and came from Ferne Animal Sanctuary. He might be big but he is a total soppy top and is working with Agent Diamond as a befriender dog, taking young people for walks and sharing some of his calm and confidence with them.
The Foster Care Company that Agent Diamond works for already has branches abroad and is starting to spread it’s important work to other countries such as India, where children and young people are in desperate need of shelter and nurturing so that they too can have a chance of not only surviving to grow up but to also to be able to have a sustainable future.