A few weeks ago I went to Shropshire Wildlife Trust's Annual Corporate Event titled 'What's on your patch'. The event took place at Pimhill Barn, Harmer Hill, Shropshire which by the way is a fantastic venue.
Featuring a range of interesting talks, the well-attended event was a great opportunity to learn and meet new people. Highlights including a talk entitled 'Insectageddon' which discussed the decline of insects in recent years and ways to help reverse this decline using a range of measures including adding green roofs and walls; ensuring connectivity is maintained between sites; careful consideration of habitat management regimes and planting more trees. Some measures are really small and simple steps but can make a big difference on a landscape scale. This is something that we should consider on all of our projects.
Another fascinating talk was a case study from Agro merchants where water voles were being monitored and their habitat was managed. Due to the lack of public consultation, local residents were concerned by the works taking place. However, all works were for the benefit of the local water vole population. The key message from this case study was to ensure community engagement in all instances as it can reduce concerns and improve perceptions. As a side point – gabian baskets were used on this site to stabilise the banks, and became homes to nesting birds almost immediately. This is an excellent example of how a necessary feature can be used to enhance the biodiversity on a site.
The final talk I would like to mention was from Capgemini who have recently developed a "TurfUOut" scheme which is aimed at making employees more active and more involved in their natural environment. Capgemini have enhanced the office spaces and external areas with the help of Shropshire Wildlife Trust. As a result a team of people from the company have got involved with the maintenance of the wildflower beds, greatly increase staff mental health and improving working relationships.
The event was well organised and promoted the message of encouraging biodiversity net gain and enhancements in all areas possible, no matter how small.