The university’s wildlife society is centred on a shared love and appreciation of nature, with the strong desire to experience and learn as much from it as possible. On trips to reserves around the UK, in between the passerines, deer, seals, raptors and more, we enthral in the wonder of wildlife. In doing so, we also appreciate the importance of giving back to the environment that we enjoy so much. We are all aware of the plight of nature and the battles it constantly faces. Our local wildlife is no exception and we all feel a direct connection to it. By volunteering, this wonderful nature can be maintained so that the wildlife can thrive and flourish, and for the human enjoyment of it to continue. Therefore, a vital part of our society is participating in volunteering events. With the wildlife society bigger than ever before, it’s already been a successful endeavour this year, with plenty more plans for 2017. We became helping hands for the Woodland Trust, the Bolton Conservation Volunteers (BCV) and the Ascension Paradise Garden and Community Space in Salford. It gave us the fantastic opportunity to join hard-working teams, learn from them and make a positive difference to wildlife whilst simultaneously having fun.
Our largest volunteering event to date was a habitat management project with the BCV team. It took place on the Woodland Trust’s largest site and we felt very lucky to be able to contribute to their existing work there. The site is a beautiful mosaic of grassland, moorland, as well as the woodland where our efforts were concentrated. A major task for the day was invasive species removal, concentrating on rhododendrons. The woodland was dominated with this invasive species, which restricted the sunlight to the floor and inhibited growth to ground flora. With endless enthusiasm and energy, we picked up bow saws and secateurs, and got to work with removing the plants near their base. This work made an instant and striking difference to the habitat; light flourished through the tree tops and the beech trees had room to grow. It was an immediate reward for our hard work. Tree planting was another task of the day. This aimed to create an aesthetically pleasing, natural hedge on the outskirts of the woodland. Once grown, it will also double as wildlife habitat for small mammals such as dormouse and act as ‘commuter routes’ for bats. Our energy had not yet diminished and we spent the afternoon creating a path through the woodland. This was achieved by forming path boundaries, bridges and a dry surface. Such paths are crucial for access to the public, enabling them to enjoy the woodland as a natural space within the town and as a recreational area.
Our interest in wildlife also took us to volunteering opportunities with a bee keeping team in Salford. From attending talks and tours of the hives, we
understood the importance of the bees to nature, as well as the imperative role of bee keepers to their success. Our members are now prepared and excited to start as volunteer bee keepers at the start of the season in April 2017.
We’re an ambitious and driven society, with plenty more plans for volunteering. This includes creating nest boxes for swifts, hedge laying at our local parks and participation in citizen science. Our passion to help the environment and its prosperity will drive many more volunteering achievements for the society.
Chairperson of the Wildlife Society