Last week students from Writtle College’s Countryside Management Diploma worked alongside experts from Buglife to create a wildflower meadow for bees, butterflies and other insects at Canvey Heights Country Park, Essex.
The students involved enjoyed first-hand experience with the help of Buglife, the only Invertebrate Conservation Trust in Europe. They cleared vegetation to prepare the ground for wildflower seed sowing and sowing seed in existing areas of the park.
Jamie Robins, Buglife South Essex Stepping Stones Officer said: “The students sowed the seeds of wildflowers that are rich in pollen and nectar such as Common knapweed and Bird’s foot trefoil to help improve the area for pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies”.
The wildflower creation at Canvey Heights is part of a wider project to create Stepping Stones in South Essex. The three year project led by Buglife is funded by The Tubney Charitable Trust, Essex Environment Trust, Veolia ES Cleanaway Pitsea Marshes Trust and is supported by Castle Point Borough Council and Pinnacle PSG. In the last few years, Buglife and Groundwork South Essex have created a hibernaculum at Canvey Heights Country Park, using logs, earth and sand to provide homes for nesting and basking insects, amphibians and reptiles. The wildflower creation will surround the hibernaculum making the area a haven for insects.
Jamie Robins went on to say: “Buglife’s Stepping Stones project has been successful at getting the local community involved in habitat creation for wildlife. We are delighted that the Writtle College students were involved with sowing wildflower seeds, and we hope that they will re-visit the area in the next year or two and find it alive with the buzz of bees and other insects”.
Countryside courses at Writtle College are taught at Further Education level. John Spencer is one of the lecturers who teaches on the programme, and he said: “Students have been able to gain practical experience as well as being able to offer Buglife the benefit of their practical skills that they have learnt here at Writtle College. We look forward to a return visit to the meadow in the next couple of years”
Pictured – A Writtle College student sowing wildflower seeds at Canvey Heights Country Park - a photo by Jamie Robins