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.
Emerald and large red damselflies flickered around the car park to the Raeburn Open Space, as volunteers from Unilever in Kingston arrived to carry out some conservation work on this hidden away local nature reserve.
When most people think of Tolworth minds most likely spring to Tolworth Tower, I would imagine very few think about our Moated Manor. This medieval site dates back to 1086 and was one of the earliest settlements in the area. The building once stood in what is now aptly known as Tolworth Court Farm Moated Manor Local Nature Reserve, nestled away on the edge of Tolworth this is now a haven for wildlife.
Though it was a rather cloudy start to Tuesday the 27th of June, I was met with 21 beaming smiles at the car park of Hounslow Heath as volunteers from the Cisco internship programme arrived to get stuck in with some nature conservation work. Hounslow Heath is a 200-acre site nestled away in the heart of Hounslow, and despite the Heathrow flight path which is directly above the area transports you into a countryside environment.
On Saturday the 24th of June, Duke of Edinburgh volunteers arrived at Elmbridge Meadows to help remove the Himalayan Balsam that dominates the river the banks. These invasive pink flowered plants outcompete our native species, reducing local biodiversity.
On a sunny morning in June, Cisco volunteers arrived at the 2.6-hectare Moated Manor Local Nature Reserve. This beautiful area forms part of the wildlife corridor that lines the bank of the Hogsmill River and is an important refuge for an array of wildlife from nesting kestrels to badgers. For a relatively small area there is a great diversity of habitat types, including a meadow speckled with yellow meadow ant hills, a pond which marks the location of a medieval moat and a woodland with veteran oak trees, hawthorn and yew.
On a sunny Wednesday in May, we joined forces with the Lower Mole Project, South East Rivers Trust and the Kingston University Biodiversity Action Group to take on the Himalayan Balsam in the Hogsmill catchment.
Following one of the driest Aprils on record, Wednesday the 17th of May with its torrential downpours was the wettest day of 2017 so far. However, this did not dampen the spirts of the Cisco volunteers, who arrived at Hounslow Heath to help restore one of the most significant sites of Lowland Heath across London.
On Sunday the 14th of May, we joined an event led by Sustrans and a community group based at Malden Manor. Which sort to clean up the area and inspire and encourage more of the community to engage and care about the area they live in. Volunteers split into groups picking up litter throughout the area.