On a cloudy November afternoon, a group of keen conservationists arrived at a small oasis of wildlife in the middle of suburban Richmond. This group have been constructing wattle fences (or shelterbelts!) in different areas throughout the site, based on where they think they will provide the most benefit.

In an inspiring mix of education and conservation, this group of primary school children have been active participants in the promotion of biodiversity and protection of wildlife.

A wattle fence can serve many different functions, as these kids now know very well. Some had built theirs to protect an area of woodland from being disturbed by walkers:

Others had built them to protect trees or shrubs from the wind. Another group built one to protect an area of dead wood; an excellent habitat for small vertebrates, invertebrates, lichen and fungi- to name a few!

These techniques were brought together with personal relevance for the children, when they learned how important it was to leave a small gap between the bottom of the fence and the ground for smaller mammals to pass through. If we took this into account in our own gardens we’d be creating excellent wildlife corridors, especially in an urban setting.

When talking to Gina, who leads the group on behalf of Glendale, she stressed how crucial it is to talk to children about biodiversity and wildlife conservation with regards the tiniest of creatures and the habitats they need; as without them other species wouldn’t survive- including us! Even within the borough of Richmond there are species which need action to protect their habitats, such as water voles, stag beetles, bats and the song thrush- to name a few.

Educating the next generation of conservationists in this hands-on way gives us hope that we will continue to value our ecosystems and the creatures we share them with.



If you would like to take part in a conservation work day, Glendale runs sessions (for adults) too- and they will start again in January 2014. Keep a look out on the Nature’s Gym facebook page and the Glendale events calendar.