One of the joys of the Conservation Project is that we can undertake tasks that improve the farm environment for both the beneficiaries and the public whilst also developing habitats for wildlife. The ladies and gentlemen who are part of the Conservation team take great pride in seeing the impact of their efforts, especially when they spot an animal they haven’t seen before!
Over the last few weeks, we have been concentrating on building a series of small walls around the shallow amphibian pond in the sensory gardens. Now is good timing for this job because it will be done before amphibians begin to emerge and as such will cause minimal wildlife disturbance. Taken from a pile of stones already on site these walls will provide a secure barrier preventing visitors from getting to the water and will also bean attractive addition to the otherancient drystone walls already on the farm.
We can then clear brambles, cut back vegetation around the pond and think of any other plants that could be of benefit to wildlife around the pond. The walls themselves will soon provide important shelter and nesting opportunities for a variety of species of insects, spiders, birds, amphibians and even small mammals.
They will even provide a place for native mosses, ferns and lichens to grow. There was much excitement on the team when, after finishing the first of these mini walls, the beneficiaries spotted a stoat popping in and out of the stones as if to check out the possibilities of this new construction!
We plan to furnish the gaps that intersperse the walls with a series of steel gabions. These mesh cages will then be filled with different materials such as logs, leaves, rocks and branches that will act as a series of bug hotels. The beneficiaries are already very excited about this next stage and have been busy suggesting ideas for how to develop these cages. One idea is to build a small wormery that could sit on top with a viewing panel so all who pass by can get a glimpse inside the worms wiggly world. It is really wonderful to see our beneficiaries thinking creatively about how to develop and improve the gardens and grounds that we care for and relishing their roles in stewarding and conserving this special place.
We are so very thankful for the beauty of God’s creation to bring hurting, damaged individuals to. Please pray for us as we seek to share Jesus’ love with these precious individuals, that we will have many opportunities to point people to our Saviour.