21st March 2016
Thanks to the support of Tesco shoppers through Tesco’s Bags of Help funding initiative administered by Groundwork, Rabbit Ings has been successful in securing funding of £8,000 with Northumberlandia and Avenue Washlands securing £12,000 each.
This money, raised through the 5p carrier bag charge, will enable us to carry out a number of improvements to the sites which will not only encourage nature to thrive but will create valuable opportunities for the community to learn and experience the benefits of their local green space.
Natural Connections at Northumberlandia
This money will now enable us to carry out the Northumberlandia Natural Connections project which will involve the creation of new wildlife habitats and provide improved access for visitors to explore the site and learn about the natural world. A wildlife garden will also be created adjacent to the Visitor Centre and Café and a screened bird feed station will be installed to encourage more species to the site. Additional wildflowers will be planted to create more habitats and new nature trails and improvements to pathways will make access easier for families and those with accessibility requirements. More formal agreements will now be made with local schools to bring classes to Northumberlandia as part of curriculum led by ‘learning outside the classroom’ activities. This would involve funding buses to bring school groups to the site where needed, producing specific materials and guides to the site related to learning needs and additional time for the team to plan, coordinate and deliver educational activities.
Walls for Wildlife at Avenue Washlands
The Trust will be able to train volunteers in the traditional and sustainable craft of dry stone walling. This will provide shelter and habitat to a wide variety of wildlife species as well as reinforcing the natural pathway boundaries to protect visitors to the site. The Land Trust and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust will be able to install two artificial Sand Martin banks. The artificial nesting sites will provide a haven for Sand Martins, an important project as over the past 50 years, the European population of Sand Martins has crashed twice as a result of drought in their wintering grounds in Africa.
People, Ponds and a Rabbit at Rabbit Ings
The People, Ponds and a Rabbit project will allow us to carry out improvements to the area around a large pond at Rabbit Ings and to install a new pond dipping platform. This will enable school groups and other visitors to safely view and learn about the variety of wildlife that rely upon the site’s wetland habitats to feed and nest. The new platform will allow us to accommodate more users and improve safety for environmental education activities on site and provide the opportunity to view and learn about the importance of wetland ecosystems and the species that use these habitats, from dragonflies and damselflies, toads and water beetles, to harvest mice and reed warblers.
It was a very physical day but worth every moment. It’s great the give back to the community and to see the difference you made at the end of the day.
Tim Green, Skanska Corporate Volunteer
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