Saturday the 18th of March saw 28 volunteers from the Ahmadiyyan community group and local councillors Raju Pandya and Terry Paton come along to the community clean up of Green Lane which links Berrylands to New Malden. The day had a fantastic family atmosphere where we worked to pick up litter and push some bramble back that is smothering native hedgerow that was planted in the past. Though bramble can provide good habitat for a range of species if not controlled it can dominate other species outcompeting them for light and nutrients.
The 11th of March was a beautiful spring day, Kingston Hill Campus was alive with bird song with greater spotted woodpeckers, great tits, wrens and robins all contributing to the splendid sounds of early spring.
On the first day of meteorological spring volunteers from the Knollmead Permaculture Reserve and Kingston Environment Centre helped to manage the community orchard at Alexandra Recreation Ground. The day had the expert support from Lewis who works for the Urban Orchard Project.
These trees were planted about 3 years ago, and have been somewhat neglected since. However, the trees have all survived well, and some were showing significant growth from last year.
On Saturday the 25th of September 43 volunteers made their way to Petersham Common, this included volunteers from Petersham & Ham Sea Scouts and our Duke of Edinburgh programme. We joined Ken who looks after Petersham Common, with the Petersham Common Conservators who are in charge of the sites management.
On a chilly morning 11 volunteers from the Kingston Cemetery Wildlife Group, met at the Cemetery to build stag beetle homes. Marina from the Kingston Biodiversity Network led the day, starting with a talk on these majestic invertebrates. Telling the group that these creatures can have a larval stage lasting 3-7 years living in dead wood, after which time they emerge in the summer to find a mate.
On a snowy morning in February, volunteers arrived at Kingston Hill Campus to take part in the Universities ‘woodland flora project’. Kingston Hill used to form part of the ancient woodland on Coombe Hill, and therefore is highly valuable to a range of biodiversity including many bird species like the great spotted woodpecker.
Twenty-five volunteers including Duke of Edinburgh Students and Kingston University students, continued the good work that we started before Christmas removing the invasive rhododendron that dominates the wood, (read the previous blog to learn more about rhododendron).
Saturday the 10th of September saw the first day of our volunteer/ Duke of Edinburgh conservation programme for the 2016-2017 season. This inaugural event was held on the normally restricted Tolworth Court Farm Moated Manor Local Nature Reserve. Though only a site of 2.7 hectares, it has a fantastic diversity of habitats from neutral grassland to wet woodland and a pond which is home to a resident heron and lots of smooth newts.