Community nature reserve celebrates first year

A PROJECT to make Emersons Green a thriving haven for wildlife has celebrated a successful first year.

Emersons Green Community Nature Reserve was set up last January to encourage people to care for wildlife in gardens, parks, greens and verges across the area covered by the town council.

Deputy town mayor Bobbie Sunderland, who is also a member of the Friends of Emersons Green Park, said the project had seen a “fantastic response from the community”, with 243 gardens registered for the scheme so far.

Bobbie said: “‘It has been a remarkable year, not only for the number of gardens involved but also for the very real transformations reported.” 

A gathering at Emersons Green Village Hall to celebrate the project’s first anniversary was attended by 30 people.

Bobbie told the event some success stories from the project, including from resident Sharon Townson, who had changed her whole approach to her garden to think about what plants birds preferred and how to change the architecture of the garden to encourage nature.

Bobbie said: “She said that her pond was like the village hall for her wildlife, with everything visiting it, and recalled how once she had simply sat by her pond to watch for several hours as a dragonfly larva hatched out.

“There was also a report of a whole garden transformation from just grass and fence to a remarkably diverse and interesting habitat, while another told of making the simple, but important step, of removing artificial grass and replacing it with a clover lawn.”

The event also included a talk from South Gloucestershire Council ecologist Sally Pattison and a celebration complete with birthday cake.

Emersons Green Community Nature Reserve is encouraging more people to register their gardens with the project and is organising events, which will be announced through the town council website. 

Information is also being shared via the EGTC Community Nature Reserve Facebook group, which has more than 200 members.

The project has recently relaunched its Community Seed Bank, a facility for people to bring seeds from their garden to swap for other varieties of flowers, vegetables and herbs, or to take home in return for a small donation to the Friends of Emersons Green Park.

The seed bank is being stored at Emersons Green library, where people can access it by asking at the desk during staffed opening hours, and will also be taken to Community Nature Reserve events.