Friday 25 April 2008

Wilding the city

From my posts about foxes, trees and flowers, you might think I live in an affluent, leafy suburb such as Hampstead. I don't. Much of my local patch is housing estates, rows of run-down shops and struggling industrial units - a normal urban part of Greater London.

Yet many of those who live here are passionate about making their home area greener.

Jennifer, who lives in a small estate in Penge, SE20, is one such person. Since November last year she has been fighting to create a wildlife garden on a patch of wasteland.

Jennifer said: "I grow my own veg in my front garden and wanted some frogs. I thought if only there was a wildlife garden and pond nearby, it would help."

"I saw this patch of waste ground on Burham Close. It's only used as a dumping ground and a dog loo at the moment, and it's not nice for the kids to play on. That was how the idea started."

Other residents have joined Jennifer in wanting to create a wildlife area to encourage bumble bees, butterflies, beetles and other species that are slowly being killed off as more and more land is built on for new homes.

The residents are promoting the garden via signs in the area and are collecting recycled tools and equipment.

Jennifer said: "We have collected over £4,000 worth of goodies from Freecycle and are trying to get funds and grants from other sources, but this isn't easy. There is also a lot of council red tape. They are asking us to do a scaled drawing of the wildlife garden but I don't know how to do this and am trying to find someone who can help."

Schemes like this should be encouraged. They not only help nature survive in our city, they also make it a more attractive place for us to live.

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