While our local wildlife might be seeking out places to over-winter, there is no rest in the Biodiversity Gardens office as we wrap up our Garden Survey Initiative. Over 20 homeowners took part, as well as 8 schools, housing estates and churches. This pool of information should give an invaluable insight into biodiversity in private land, thus helping our understanding of it across the Borough. The sites will be revisited next year (with permission of course!) to see if any improvements have been made, and if so whether they have had an impact on the garden’s biodiversity.  For now, we have conferences and BioBlitzes to plan for next year, as well as the re-design of the Ecology Centre’s Exhibit Wildlife Garden! 

Wildflower Meadow @ Wallington County Grammar School

Biodiversity Gardens has been helping Wallington County Grammar school create a wildlife garden escape behind their sports hall. Before the summer holidays, students planted a large area of meadow with great success (see left picture). They are now looking to plant an edible hedge and create a compost area. The project has also teamed up with the Biodiversity Education Officer to run a series of autumn workshops in support of National Tree Week.  10 schools were selected on a first come, first served basis and will receive a free tree, assembly and tree-planting workshop.
Don’t worry if you’ve missed out; next year we are producing a wildlife calendar/journal and are giving schools the opportunity to choose a month and get their students involved in the design and content. The journals will provide invaluable advice on how to make your garden more wildlife friendly with key tasks to do, hints and tips, useful contacts and fun activities for the family each month. If you know a school that would like to get involved, contact the Project Officer on 020 8770 5818 or email anna.parry@sutton.gov.uk.
You will see us at various events across Sutton as we team up with Sutton Ecology Centre, Eco Local, Sutton Housing Partnership and other organisations. See the events listings for more details. The beginning of October saw our second workshop at Westmead Allotments with EcoLocal. With an army of small helpers we weeded the newly created area of meadow in the wildlife garden, chose the perfect spots for our bird boxes, filled up bird feeders with tasty treats, made a mini bug hotel AND created mini beasts for the children to take home. It was certainly a busy day!
Our team of volunteers have survived a busy summer of surveying and can now enjoy developing their own projects. Two of our volunteers have found permanent employment in the conservation sector while another has taken up casual work as an ecological surveyor. Next year, we will be recruiting three long-term volunteers to take on specific roles within the project including surveying, publications and events. Watch this space!

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