Thanks to a group of dedicated Swindon volunteers, wildlife enthusiasts visiting Red Lodge Pond nature reserve, near Wroughton, can now sit back and enjoy the natural world as it busily goes about its business.
The volunteers, who are part of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Active TOO project, have built and installed two oak benches around the large pond – a favoured site in the summer for dragonflies, damselflies and lizards.
“This is just one of the many activities the Active TOO group has been involved in since its launch in January 2007,” says Neil Pullen, the Trust’s Swindon Biodiversity Project Officer.
“It’s also a great example of how the practical work the volunteers are doing will ultimately benefit people as well as wildlife.”
The volunteers meet every Thursday and the first and third Sunday of every month to carry out practical tasks such as hedgelaying, clearing scrub and felling trees to encourage butterflies, building and installing bird boxes and creating bird screens, constructing compost bins, and taking part in surveying for wildlife.
The project is funded by the Cabinet Office and volunteering initiative GoldStar to encourage more people to volunteer.
Regular volunteer Sue Sawyer says: “This is the first time I have been involved in constructing and installing benches. We’re hoping these will encourage people to stop and sit down for a while, and simply watch nature go by. I was absolutely thrilled on my first time sitting on the bench to see a silver washed fritillary butterfly fly by – I had never seen one before and I hope others can enjoy similar wondrous experiences.”
Another regular volunteer John Sadler says: “The Red Lodge task was just one of many fulfilling and essential projects that we have carried out in 2008. Being a Wiltshire Wildlife Trust volunteer is an excellent way to ‘give something back’ to the community and it is also nice to make new friends whilst enjoying the beauty of the Wiltshire countryside."
If you would like to find out more about the project or how to get involved please contact Sarah Stebbing on (01793) 813592 or email: email@example.com