It was a blustery morning on Saturday the 21st of October, before the volunteers arrived on site for a busy days work Sivi the Biodiversity and Landscape manager for Kingston University and Scooby the dog helped to prepare the University’s sports fields in Tolworth for the volunteers arrival
The leaves were full of autumnal colour on the morning of the 4th of October as 20 pupils from the local school Radnor House arrived at the woodlands at Orleans house. The day marked the schools, ‘Make a Difference Day’, in which the pupils undertake a range of social action tasks in the local community. And this group was very excited to help improve the woodland for the wildlife that lived there.
‘Plop’ a sound that was once frequently heard along the banks of the Hogsmill, as a startled water vole lunges from the bankside into the relative safety of the river. However, in recent years our river has fallen silent from these splashing sounds as our water vole population has collapsed. Water voles were once common across the United Kingdom, though they are now the fastest declining mammal in Britain.
On the 20th September, 19 Cisco volunteers ventured to the Tolworth Court Farm Local Nature Reserve, it was fantastic to see familiar faces returning to volunteer with us as well as some new faces too! As with all our volunteer sessions, we kicked the day off which a nature walk, where we talked about yellow meadow ants, honeybees, woodpeckers and kestrels – all of which can be seen across the site.
14 Sept 2017. At the Kitchen Garden in Marble Hill Park - also known as the 'Model Market Garden', in tribute to the market gardens that were abundant here a century and more ago. With about 70m of fence left to paint inside and out we did not really expect that the job could be done in a single day. But a super-focussed team from Cisco made this a reality by completing the job - and they showed every sign of enjoying themselves whilst doing it. We now have a fence that looks smart and is better protected against the elements and fungal growth that would shorten its life.
During the last two weeks of August the Lower Moles, working with the Kingston Environment Centre and the Environment Trust helped to lead a project to repair and improve the footpath that follows the Hogsmill River in Elmbridge Meadows, which currently is almost impassable in winter months especially to those with mobility issues.
2 Sep 2017. Twenty Duke of Edinburgh students joined volunteers from Headstart and Kingston University on Saturday to fight back the invasive bamboo near the pond on Kingston Hill campus and to prepare the ground and sow wildflower seeds in the meadow. Our host was Sivi Sivanesan, with Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group.
The August sun was on full display on Saturday 26th, as volunteers made their way to the Raeburn Open Space Local Nature Reserve. This 5-hectare area has suffered much neglect in recent years, however this is all set to change with Thames Water Funding the Environment Trust to help restore the site and engage the local community.
After a few days of unsettled weather the sun was shining on Friday the 4th of August. This was very fortunate as we had an army of 47 volunteers making their way to the Raeburn Open Space and Elmbridge Meadows to help tackle the infestation of Himalayan Balsam that dominates the banks of the rivers. The volunteers were from the three-year Cisco apprenticeship programme and were all very enthusiastic about getting stuck in.
On Saturday, the 8th July volunteers looking to learn about the wonderful world of dragonflies (otherwise known as Odonata), joined us for a workshop led by London Wildlife Trust’s 'Water for Wildlife Project'. We at the Environment Trust and Kingston University are helping to deliver this project throughout the Kingston Borough.