The Start of a Newt-iful Friendship
Autumn is the season of change and for Skelton Grange Environment Centre, the season began with the grand opening of a brand new pond with a large dipping platform which will allow 12 or more children to safely investigate the habitat at the same time.
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, a group of children from St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in Beeston were on hand to perform the very first pond dip, to find out what sorts of amphibians and invertebrates had begun to inhabit the pond!
“Pond dipping has always been a big part of our work with schools and other groups,” explained Project Officer Toby Roberts. “It’s a great way to learn about habitats and life cycles – and catching a newt or a water boatman is a really memorable experience for the children we work with – whatever age they are!”
Construction of the new pond was carried out by The Conservation Volunteers, the environmental charity who manage Skelton Grange Environment Centre. Businesses from the surrounding area provided funding for the work on the pond. First Direct contributed funds for materials and the digging of the pond, and also sponsored education sessions for local schools to use the new facility. A grant provided by WREN and Yorkshire Water assisted with the running of a series of community training days, where local volunteers were also given the opportunity to help with the construction of the pond, as well as gain skills in landscaping, planting, and carpentry. Volunteers from First Direct also got their hands dirty and got stuck in with the construction work!
Peter Cox, WREN’s managing director, said “WREN makes a difference to people’s lives by awarding grants to community and environmental projects, and we are delighted to support The Conservation Volunteers and their valuable work at Skelton Grange Environment Centre.”
There are lots of events going on at Skelton Grange with drop-in volunteering every Friday. For more information, please check the website www.tcv.org.uk/skeltongrange for further details on the range of opportunities available.