Season’s greetings


2014 has been a successful year for Orchard Park Wildlife Project – we’ve raised funds to have the OP Habitats Management Plan written for us by the Wildlife Trust Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Northamptonshire. We’ve also been able to purchase a few tools to help us carry out practical activities, and we’ve run a number of educational sessions for the wider community as well as tailored sessions for groups.

If you spend just a short time looking at our local species you’ll see how beautiful and fascinating they are, you don’t have to go far to see interesting creatures, you don’t even have to leave your house if you feed the birds. You might be surprised at how many regular visitors you’ll get if you provide just a little food for them each day – robins, collared doves, dunnocks, blue tits, great tits, pied wagtails, starlings, goldfinches.. The first step in encouraging people to care about nature is helping people to find out what’s there. Spending time with nature is also important for our health and wellbeing, OP residents are lucky – we’ve had a number of wildlife enhancement measures included in our community – for example there’s a wildlife area near the sports ground, hedges, several small wildflower meadow areas, and there’s a living roof on the community centre. Let’s make OP even better for wildlife and people.

Next year we have a family and wildlife friendly activity planned for each month of 2015. We really need your help to make these activities successful. We try to make each activity interesting and informative, and together we can learn practical skills like using tools, and identifying wildlife. It might also help you to meet people if you’re new to the area. If you can spare an hour of your time to come to the activities we’d appreciate it, or if you’re interesting in helping to organise events, then your help with that is welcome too. It doesn’t matter if you’re knowledgeable about wildlife, or not. Keep an eye on the blog and Orchard Park Wildlife, and Inside Orchard Park Facebook pages for more information.

Our next activity will be at 11.00-13.00 on 11th January at the wildlife area, we’ll be coppicing a willow tree and using the cuttings to make a bug hotel. Fortunately we’re getting help from a gardener who works at the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens, so he’ll be able to give expert instruction. If you can’t manage a couple of hours, then why not come for half an hour to help tidy up the wildlife area. It is so sad to see so much litter over there. If your children use the skate park, please let them know that the adjacent area is set aside for wildlife, and that any litter they leave there is dangerous to wildlife.

The robin photo above was taken in my garden in winter 2012, he or she is looking up as small snowflakes fall, you can see a couple on its head. Last week I was reminded about how robins navigate using quantum entanglement when I watched a programme by physicist Jim Al-Khalili.

I’ll leave it to Jim to explain more – see the video –

If quantum physics isn’t your thing, and you’re more interested in learning what practical things you can do for wildlife during the winter, then take a look at

Or if you’re looking for family activities why not see what the Wildlife Trusts recommend

Finally I’d like to thank everyone who helped, supported or financially contributed to the project in 2014. We hope to see you and some new faces at our activities in 2015. Best wishes for the holidays and 2015.

From the Surrey Wildlife Trust – wildlife gardening tips for winter

Blue tit, Orchard Park garden winter 2012

Blue tit, Orchard Park garden winter 2012

Click on the link above to get some tips on how to help wildlife this winter, from feeding birds, to making a nest box, planting a container, to providing water – the fact sheet and nest box instructions give all the information you need. The wildlife doesn’t know it’s Christmas, but I’m sure they’d benefit from such gifts as finding food and shelter becomes more important during the cold season.