Article type Event
Published 10th February 2015
Add topic to FeedMe >
Staff make major bid to build an inspirational outdoor educational space
By Kristian Brunt-Seymour
An abundance of different wildlife has taken hold in the heart of Greenwich Peninsula.
Greenwich Ecology Park emerged from a project to regenerate the formerly industrialised area and has since developed into a flourishing educational environment where visitors can observe amphibians, birds, bees and butterflies that flock to the park.
Now, almost twenty years after the park was first established, plans are afoot to build on the hard work of its volunteers and full time staff by expanding its education and build an outdoor space for interactive classes.
Birds that flock to the park include Kingfishers, Herons and Moorhens as well as African birds like Reed warblers, Swifts, Sand martins, House martins and Common Terns throughout the Summer. Many of these birds as well as Blue Tits, Goldfinches and other smaller birds can be heard in the foliage as you approach the park.
Senior Warden Joanne Smith, who has been in ecology for almost twenty years, explains how each year the park has unusual oddities and new species of plant or animal, the latest arrival being native bee orchids, which are often found in British woodlands.
"It’s not just a pretty garden with a bit of nature. It’s really beautifully designed in terms of its habitats and what wildlife it attracts", explains Joanne, "None of the animals are brought in so anything that comes here has done so of its own accord. We’ve had special surveys done which found that we have fourteen species of dragonfly, one hundred species of moth and fourteen species of bee who have all be attracted by the habitat that’s been created. It’s been a natural progression."
One element to the park's success has been the prevision of freshwater, which Greenwich Ecology Park accesses not from the nearby River Thames but from a borehole deep underground London. It's this success that Greenwich Ecology Park staff wish to build on through the new classroom.
The scheme, which has been spearheaded by the National land management charity The Land Trust recently launched an appeal to raise £60,000 to build the park's classroom.
Over Christmas the park hosted a popular Winter Fayre where volunteers held stalls, had bucket collections and shared the park’s story – gaining support from the local community and visitors for this great cause, putting £700 towards the campaign.
In addition to inspiring children and adults to learn more about wildlife, conservation and the environment, the new facility will deliver hand-on education to over 2000 school children, train over 40 students in urban wildlife and conservation and teach new skills to over 150 volunteers, every year. This will enable the team to run much bigger events, such as pond dipping and bug hunting days, reaching out to over 2500 people.
"We want to keep up with the pace of development around this area", explains Joanne, "Many of our buildings were not purpose built, which restricts our educational visits, training and workshops we have. We’re bursting at the seams here."
The Ecology Park owners and national charity, The Land Trust along with the park wardens from The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) have joined forces with Spacehive crowdfunding platform to raise the £60,000 towards the new facility at the Ecology Park, using this site for the appeal: www.spacehive.com/frog
To find out more, watch the video, pledge and spread the word, visit www.spacehive.com/frog