As I ran with my dog in Cross Flatts Park on Friday I noticed two people, one with a camera, one with a notebook, looking intently at a patch of grass. Now I’ve been watching this particular patch of grass for some months. It’s a semi circular strip near the bottom (Dewsbury Road) end of the park and it was first stripped, then left to grow taller than the surrounding grass and now its been cut again. Here was my chance to find out what’s been going on.
Mark and Sarah explained that the plot was part of a national survey looking into pollinating insects in urban habitats. This is one of ten sites around Leeds that will be monitored over the next few years, there’s another in Middleton Park. Sarah was from Bristol University who are leading the project and Mark is a researcher at Leeds University.
The study aims to find out what the best habitats are in urban areas to support pollinating insects. I care about this because I grow runner beans and courgettes amongst other things, whose flowers need pollination to produce vegetables. The site in Cross Flatts Park has perennial plants, whilst the Middleton Park site has annual flowers (like the wildflower meadows in Holbeck).