St Nicks

Centre for nature and green living

17 May

Spotlight on: Bumblebees in spring

Nothing quite confirms the arrival of spring like the first bumblebee sighting of the year as they emerge from hibernation. The low hum of their wings as they zoom past is always a comforting sign that nature is buzzing back to life after those quiet winter months. Wind back 6 months or so to the […]

12 Apr

Wildwatch Winter 2017/18 (Dec – Feb)

Highlights Rare mammal sighting.. visiting Winter geese and an early Summer visitor.. camouflage in the Environment Centre Pond.. and a tiny, tiny new plant! Weather A colder than usual three months (December to February) with many frosty mornings and, especially after Christmas, several snowy ones, meant that wildwatching at St Nicks was a rather chilly […]

02 Apr

Spotlight on: Woodland Birds

Of the 24 acres of St Nicks, nearly 60% (14 acres) is classified as woodland – a prime habitat for birds. So it’s no surprise that St Nicks has a rich variety of woodland birds. Woodland birds are more often heard, rather than seen, especially in the Summer, when they can be hidden by foliage. […]

20 Mar

Biodegradable or Compostable: what’s the difference?

Biodegradable and compostable are words that are often used interchangeably but they really shouldn’t be. Biodegradable refers to any materials that break down in the environment – for example a plastic bag over time will disintegrate into smaller pieces but these can still be harmful to organisms and soils. Compostable items on the other hand […]

12 Feb

January highlights: meeting UK’s ‘King of No Dig’ and Open Day

Reflections on and pictures of two big January events, written by St Nicks Outreach Officer Ivana Jakubkova who can be contacted via ivana@stnicks.org.uk.   No Dig Gardening: talk & seed swap on 30th January We were extremely pleased last year when Charles Dowding accepted our invitation to visit York as part of his North of […]

08 Feb

Spotlight on… Otters

Looking back, it is clear to see that otters (Lutra lutra) had a rather difficult time throughout the 20th century; they were hunted, much of their wetland habitat was destroyed and the introduction of poisonous pesticides led to dramatic declines. When used, these pesticides were washed and leeched into watercourses where they were then ingested […]

24 Jan

Spotlight on… Woodland structure: the understory

A woodland can be split into distinct layers of vegetation: • the canopy: top layer consisting of the tallest trees which receive lots of light • the understory: the herb or field layer which includes our native spring wildflower bulbs and other plants such as grasses and nettles • the ground layer: what we find […]

22 Dec

Ecotherapy diary: participant stories

Absorbing and relaxing, helpful, welcoming and friendly, and giving people the chance to learn new things about nature are just some of the ways people describe the Ecotherapy programme at St Nicks. In this blog, three of our participants share their personal stories about their Ecotherapy journey, showing that we really do help people in recovery from […]

19 Dec

Wildwatch Autumn 2017 (Sep-Nov)

Highlights Golden swimmer in Tang Hall Beck, butterflies in November, a galling season and a big “charm”! Weather Autumn weather for Wildwatchers included two completely sunny calm mornings, but was otherwise mostly dull and cloudy with a few sunny spells. There was little or no rain on our walks, and windy days were rare. These […]

04 Dec

Derwenthorpe Wildwatch: October 2017

We saw a slight drop in temperature as autumn took hold in October and though there were a few less invertebrates to be seen, we had some great afternoons for bird spotting and there was still plenty of flora to be seen around Derwenthorpe. Birds We saw a lot of the regular bird species each […]