WALKS – all welcome, start at 10am from the designated car park unless detailed otherwise.                      
 5 Mar            Kingston Gate car park
2 Apr            Roehampton Gate car park (+ Walk the Wall option)
16 April         DAWN CHORUS walk (meet at Sheen Gate at 5am)
2 May           SPRING BIRD COUNT (8am, details nearer time)
7 May           Broomfield Hill car park
Informal birdwatching walks – Fridays. Meet at Pen Ponds car park coffee kiosk at 9.30am.                                                                                                
COURSES – 10am start, short talk at Pembroke Lodge followed by a walk, Friends members only – no need to book – just turn up – coffee/tea provided.
19 Mar          SPRING BIRDS and BIRD SONG (Peter Burrows-Smith)
                     (The turnout for the January bird course was 45, so get there early)
21 May         ECOLOGY of RICHMOND PARK (Bill Elms)


Friends AGM. A reminder that the Friends AGM is on 16 April at the usual venue of King’s House School, 68 Kings Rd, TW10 6ES. We have changed the timing of the AGM this year so that it finishes by lunchtime, rather than going into the afternoon.
Doors open at 10.00 with coffee etc. available and we will finish by 12.30/1.00 and have lunch.
The speaker this year will be Andrew Scattergood, the new Chief Executive of The Royal Parks. He and Simon Richards, the Park Manager, will be ready to answer your questions and take part in a general discussion on the Park.
The full programme will be sent out with the Spring newsletter on 23 March.  
Next discoverers family event. 'Bones and Feathers' Workshop 20 March. Be a scientist for the afternoon – examine an owl pellet to find out what Barn Owls have had for dinner! Details here.
Beverley Brook planting. In February the Friends conservation team planted nearly 200 trees along the two sections of Beverley Brook that have been restored with part-funding from the Friends’ Ponds & Streams Programme. The trees will provide cover for fish from predation, cool the river in the summer with their shade and create a habitat for birds and insects.
You can read more on the website of the contractor, SE Rivers Trust. Also on their site is an interesting piece on the work itself – what was done, why and how – here.
Beanies, bags and aprons. The Friends has commissioned and designed some new souvenir items of the Park, to be sold through the Visitor Centre. The first items available include baseball caps, warm beanie hats, a sketch/note book, tea towel, a fine china mug, bags and aprons. Most of these should be on sale at the Visitor Centre by Easter or soon after. 
The new items feature the Friends deer and tree logos and other designs, which represent the Park's wildlife icons.  
All profits from sales will go to conservation and other key projects in the Park.  
May Ball. The Holly Lodge Centre is one of two charities benefiting from the Richmond May Ball – the Richmond event of the year – held on Friday 13 May, the evening before the Richmond May Fair. The Ball opens with a champagne reception, followed by dinner and dancing; it is black tie and tickets are £125. More detail on the Holly Lodge Centre website.

TRP change in status agreed. The government has agreed to the merger of The Royal Parks, which manages the Parks, and the Royal Parks Foundation, which raises money for them, into a new public corporation that will also have charitable status. A new 14-person Board is being recruited – 7 appointed by the Culture Secretary, 6 by the Mayor and 1 from the Royal Household; the Board’s Chair is currently being recruited. Andrew Scattergood will include these changes and what they mean for the Park in his talk at the AGM.    

Heritage Pavilion. Plans for a Heritage Pavilion to house the Hearsum Collection, an expanded Visitor Centre and some exhibition and meeting space, have been under development for some time. The bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund is being submitted in March by the Hearsum Collection, with Friends support. There is more information on it and an artist’s impression of what it will look like on the FRP website here.
Funding of parks. The Financial Times had an interesting piece on the funding of parks and other green spaces, which used the Royal Parks extensively as an example. Its headline was “City parks boost local economies, home values, the environment and public health, so why are they underfunded?” – a good question. You can read it here.
Telegraph photos. Posted on 11 February in Pictures of the day: Deer in Richmond Park on a cold and frosty morning in London. See it here