I think we can all agree that the past few months have been incredibly difficult, and we have observed a lot of change. However, not all change is bad, and it seems the current health crisis has brought about a newfound appreciation for nature (or maybe just more validation in a long-found appreciation). Despite restrictions in place due to COVID, some of our hardy volunteers have still been working hard to keep our nature reserve safe, accessible and managed for the wonderful wildlife. At a time when our natural habitats have never been so crucial, there is nothing else to do but salute their valiant efforts; protecting our green space for the sake of the species that use it – including us!
September saw us welcoming back some of the familiar faces that regularly helped us pre-pandemic, now following a new regime like everyone else. Luckily, a 24-acre nature reserve lends itself nicely to social distancing. You may think smaller groups and shorter sessions would mean getting less done but the volunteers have been working twice as hard to maintain their impeccably high standard of work. Thanks to their hard graft, we’ve managed the invasive Himalayan balsam on site to within an inch of its life, quite literally; we’ve scythed our glorious grasslands and removed cuttings, making way for next year’s growth and giving wildflowers the chance to flourish; and have been tending to our paths, ensuring they’re clear and safe for dog walkers, passers through, explorers, wildlife seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. And now the autumn season is upon us, we are primed for seed sowing. The volunteers have started to clear and sow patches all around the site including our grassland areas and path verges. This should mean next year, when you are strolling through the reserve to get your nature fix, you will find your path lined with colourful stands of wildflowers, abuzz with bees and butterflies.
Though we always try to praise the brilliant work of our volunteers where we can, it is always nice to get validation from others and last week we got just that. Once again, we’ve received a Green Flag Community Award! Our fantastic team have helped us to win this award every year since 2010 and this year has been no different, proving that not even a pandemic can stop our resilient volunteers from making St Nicks a place where nature can thrive, and our community can peacefully enjoy the great outdoors.
Thank you to all our volunteers who have been able to help out in the past couple of months. It is unfortunate that we can’t yet welcome back more of volunteers, but we certainly hope to see you visiting the site soon!