Grow Greener with Garthdee Field Allotments Association

Tag: biodiversity Page 1 of 2

Eye Eye, who’s this?

Thanks to Paul (Plot 34) and Phil (Plot 35) for passing on these photos.

Photo Credit: Paul Plot 34

The story appears to be that the Sparrow-hawk was taking stock of its new surroundings after snacking on an unsuspecting Blackbird. Phil reports he was a very messy eater and not too bothered to tidy up afterwards either.

In full flight!

Photo Credit: Phil (Plot 57)

Thanks go to Phil (Plot 57) for making the photo available – and congratulations too for his quick reactions!

Encouraging Biodiversity

GFAA recently submitted a proposal to Aberdeen City Council for a project to enhance the biodiversity of our site. I am delighted to say that ACC have enthusiastically encouraged us to go ahead. Read on for more details.

Background
We propose to develop the under-used area positioned in the North-West corner of our site to create a wildlife-friendly habitat which will enhance the biodiversity of the local area. The area chosen was created when the contractors constructing the Pitfoddel’s Station Road pedestrian track and cycleway deposited waste materials (mainly rock and sub-soil) in the corner of our site. The resulting raised area (which we have named, “The Mound” is unsuitable for vegetable cultivation and has remained unused for many years.

Features
The development will include some of the features listed below, the exact number will be dependent on the availability of space and suitable locations. (Where features cannot be incorporated into The Mound suitable alternative locations on the Garthdee Field site will be sought.
• Native flowers and shrubs
• Log piles
• Bug hotels
• A wildlife pond
• A wildflower area
• Nest boxes
• Bat boxes
• Hedgehog huts
• Squirrel feeders
• Bumble bee nest boxes.

Benefits
Projects to encourage biodiversity were recommended in our recent Green Flag Assessment and this development will strengthen future Green Flag applications.
The creation of a larger habitat will enable greater variety of species to utilise the area than would be possible in the fragmented small-scale areas developed by individual plot holders.
The habitat created will provide a valuable learning setting for visiting primary pupils and youth groups.
The intended features will be attractive and beneficial to pollinators, birds, amphibians, hedgehogs, insects, bats and many other species.
Development and maintenance of the mound will deliver engagement opportunities working with nature over a wide range of skill sets for members of site’s volunteer group.
Creation of The Mound and its subsequent population by wildlife may act as a stimulus to other plotters to develop areas within their own plots thereby increasing the overall habitat availability on the site.

Management
The Mound Project will be led by Steve Jennings, the GFAA Committee Member charged with responsibility to lead and coordinate our efforts to enhance the biodiversity of our site. In the first instance we will fund work from our GFAA income and reserves, but we may seek external funding in the future.

Maintenance
The area will be maintained by our resident Volunteer Squad and/or interested plotters as coordinated by Steve Jennings.

Health and Safety
The area is already fenced on 3 sides and a new fence and gate will be constructed to manage public access. Visits by external groups will be supervised by a member of the GFAA Committee.
All works will be completed in accordance with Aberdeen City Council’s policies and procedures and in alignment with GFAA’s Volunteers’ Health and Safety Policy.

Visits by external groups will be risk assessed and monitored.

Further Information

Steve Jennings will be delighted to receive ideas for development or offers of help, or to provide further information on the project as it progresses.

Bluetits on Parade

Thanks go to Ruth (Plot 22) and Graeme (Plot 48) for providing these charming photos.

Photo Credit: Ruth Evans
Photo Credit: Graeme Falconer

If you have any other wildlife photos to share I’d love to have them for the site, or you could post them to the Garthdee Allotment’s FaceBook page. The more the merrier.

Prep for our wildlife pond

A team of our volunteers started work on a new wildlife pond up on the Mound last Sunday.

Pond construction team at work
Left to Right: Irene, Minta,Doug, Hilary

Adding the pond is one of several initiatives to encourage biodiversity on site being lead by Steve (Plot 72) on behalf of the Committee and our plotters and volunteers. Other features planned for the Mound include log piles and bug hotels. Recycled materials will be used wherever possible.

If plotters or volunteers have ideas for further projects to enhance biodiversity in our green communal spaces and across the site please get in touch with Steve directly, or by commenting below. He would love to hear from you.

The Garden Jungle

This is the title of a newish book (2019) by Dave Goulson, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex. It’s subtitled, “Gardening to Save the Planet” and that pretty well tells you what to expect.

This is no dull textbook however. It’s a lively read and full of unexpected and practical ideas as well as lots of good humour.

I was surprised to read for example, that the Oxford Junior Dictionary has removed the words, newt, acorn, minnow, kingfisher and dandelion. Why? Because these words are no longer considered relevant for children.

It seems to me this is a mistake on so many levels, it’s almost criminal.

Photo Credit: Phil on Plot 35

Amazon Link if you want to know more.

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