Inspired by the creation of the magnificent wildflower meadows within the new Olympic Park, a group of organisations led by London in Bloom have formed a partnership to use the Games as a catalyst to enhance and improve other parks and open spaces across London and beyond. The aim is to promote the celebration and creation of both wildflower meadows and nectar rich plantings in order to encourage community engagement, enhance the local environment and increase biodiversity.
Last year we created 1,000m2 of new wildlife habitat through our ‘pacesetter’ programme. This was the creation of 8 new meadow areas at 7 parks and open spaces and one secondary School across Greater London. You may have spotted these meadows ‘pacesetter’ meadows on Hackney Downs (Hackney), Stoke Newington Common (Hackney), Waterlow Park (Camden), West Ham Park (Newham), Eastcote House Gardens (Hillingdon), Warrender Park (Hillingdon), Kneller Gardens (Richmond Upon Thames) and the John Roan School (Greenwich). We also ran a London wide schools competition to create ‘mini’ meadows in unusual containers in school grounds across the capital. Entries have now closed and participating schools should be in the process of sowing their meadow and creating their photo diary. 10 of the best designs will receive a voucher for the London 2012 shop and will be invited to a celebratory event.
Projects in 2012
‘Bland to Beautiful’ project – Funded by Awards for All and the Big Lottery we will be working with residents from a housing estate in Poplar, Tower Hamlets to transform 10 areas of grassland that are dotted around the estate into native wildflower meadows. Poplar is one of the most environmentally and economically deprived areas in the UK and this project will help to improve the aesthetics of the estate as well as educate the local people about the benefits that wildflower meadows bring to biodiversity.
The meadows will be designed and sown by children aged 5-11 from the estate who attend the local afterschool club, the Unity Group. This project will create up to 1,200m2 of new habitat, bringing local people closer to nature. Information boards will also be installed at each site so even more people can learn about the types of flowers and insects that can be found in their meadows. The ten meadows will be sown in late April/early May and will consist of a mixture of native annual and perennial wildflowers. We will also be working with another program called Meet The Species – for more information click here (insert link)
Hackney Downs – This project is funded by the Veolia Environmental Trust. Here we will be creating 3 new wildflower meadow areas on Hackney Downs resulting in 3,000m2 of new habitat. The meadows were sown on the 30th of March by 20 volunteers (16 adults and 4 children). One of the three sites will expand upon the ‘pacesetter’ meadow that we created last year.
This project will help to encourage more biodiversity to visit Hackney Downs and again will improve the aesthetic quality of the park. During the summer we will be carrying out biodiversity surveys to see exactly how much the new meadows have improved biodiversity. As with the ‘Bland to Beautiful’ project we will be using the same mix of native wildflowers.
Volunteer Events – Working with Thames 21 we have organized 6 volunteer events where we will be creating new meadows along the waterways and major spectator routes into the Olympic Park. The participants will help to improve the environment of these pathways for everybody to enjoy for years to come and will again create new habitat for bees and butterflies. The dates of these events are the 10th, 14th, 21st of April and the 9th, 15th & 18th of May. If you would like more information about where and what time these events will be taking place please email Hugo at firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Projects – These include enhancing a further two parks and open spaces by working with young offenders. Both of these parks are set to be in Tower Hamlets. We will also be selecting the 10 winners from out ‘Mini Meadows’ competition and raising awareness by creating the Winfield House/American Embassy Pictorial Meadow. Winfield House is the second largest private garden in London.
Legacy after the games:
FROM HERE! By ensuring that we use entirely native annual and perennial species we will help to resurrect the disappearing wildflower meadow habitat that has been highly publicised in the media. The new meadows will provide long lasting habitat for UK’s pollinators and with the right guidance and training, land managers will be
able to maintain these meadows for many years to come. The program will also encourage each participant to use the skills they have learnt from helping to create a wildflower meadow, to pass their knowledge on and have the confidence to create their own meadow.
For general enquiries contact:
Hugo Ross-Tatam, Mad About Meadows Project Coordinator
Phone: +44 (0) 203 2012 886