Biodiversity Big Day Out
We wrote a blog post called ‘Banging the drum for biodiversity’ back in May when the weather was bright, the evenings were long and the beauty of spring was fully upon our Pembridge site. Now that the leaves have dropped and the nights draw in quickly, we haven’t forgotten our pledge to continue to implement a sustainable biodiversity programme.
As part of this ongoing work, we recently invited a local primary school to take part in 2016’s Biodiversity Big Day Out. This event is aimed at replenishing and improving the habitats here at our Herefordshire site. It’s also a great opportunity to bring some of the issues to life for the students and hopefully, inspire the next generation of budding David Attenboroughs.
The students kicked off the day by taking part in a seed safari with Dr Robert Widdicombe. Dr Robert is a highly experienced ecologist and knows our site well, having carried out the last few biodiversity reports. The safari introduced the children to the wide variety of plants present and the many methods of dispersal they use. Pupils had great fun passing around all different types of common seeds and mimicking how they are dispersed (particularly the helicopter motion of the sycamore seeds!).
Next, the pupils got a chance to get their hands dirty mixing up seed bombs. The bombs are a mixture of compost, clay, water and seeds. We had them line up and, at the count of three, throw the seed bombs towards our bumble bee bank. The bombs should help to replenish the wildflowers for next year and providing a vital environment for our colony of bees.
Of course, you don’t need a site as large as ours to be a supporter of biodiversity. To help the young people think about what they could do at home, we asked them to draw their dream gardens. Growing pack prizes were awarded for the most innovative garden idea, and for the garden with the best habitats.
Having dreamt big, it was time to get hands-on again. The children replenished our bug hotel by planting ferns, stuffing in hay, and adding extra leaves, twigs and pinecones. This will provide extra shelter for the insects. It also led neatly on to our next few tasks: creating a hedgehog house, hanging up bird feeders and going on a mini beast hunt.
Dr Robert was on hand throughout the day, answering questions and talking about the significance of each activity. To wrap things up, he gave a talk about the night life around our site, particularly the bat colonies. We listened to some frequency recordings and then discussed all about bats, how they feed, where they live and what noises they make.
The day was a huge success and we received some great feedback and ideas about what we could do next year.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the work we do around our site then take a look at our in-depth sustainability report.
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