Roots and Shoots, Kennington, London
Roots and Shoots (Kennington, London) was given The UK MAB Urban Wildlife Award for Excellence for their work aimed at providing high quality enjoyable community environmental education and a wildlife garden enabling contact with nature in the inner city. Roots and Shoots exemplifies an outstanding and imaginative programme promoting in depth understanding of sustainable development combined with a wildlife garden that is a place of peace and beauty for deprived multicultural communities.
Roots and Shoots' Wildlife Garden was developed on a derelict site from the Second World War. A typical year will see 1500 – 2000 school children learning about habitats, minibeasts and growth alongside events for the whole community such as 'Spring Science Day' or 'Apple Day'.
The area has been designated a 'Borough Grade 2 Site of Importance for Nature Conservation'. The biodiversity is monitored. A diverse range of habitats have been developed over the years, including two areas of meadow, a perennial summer meadow with uncut grassland in the wild garden and a more heavily managed meadow with annual beds on the adjacent Lambeth Borough site (part of Lambeth Walk Doorstep Green). Wild flowers provide nectar for insects and support colonies of yellow meadow ants. The meadows are cut with a scythe by hand each year, to control grass species.
Our 2 ponds in the Wildlife Garden support a large population of smooth newts and frogs as well as many aquatic insects. Reconstructing the older pond has reinvigorated its species list with diving beetles, water boatmen and many dragonfly and damselfly nymphs ready for 2012.
Frog population ranges from 60-100 at spawning time and the largest count of newts was over 600. We have 36 recorded species of bee and at least 30 species of wasp identified. We play an active role in the recent surge of interest in bees throughout the capital.
The Wildlife Garden has been planted with a range of native and garden plants with the aim to be functional as well as beautiful, with an infrastructure of large shrubs and trees. Shrub roses and herbaceous plants provide scent and colour as well as a food supply for the residents of the garden. Wildlife enthusiasts and gardeners find it a pleasure to visit.
The garden is created with wildlife and people in mind, welding pleasure, conservation and education together seamlessly. We now have excellent interpretation and educational resources for bees as indicators of biodiversity at Roots and Shoots. Two garden corners we call William Blake's Paradise Corner and the Dragon's Den, the outdoor classroom sheltered by vines, and the Trellick Bee Tower exemplify the many elements that capture the imagination of adults and children as they wind their way through the dense vegetation.
Linda Phillips (Director),
Roots and Shoots, Walnut Tree Walk,
London SE11 6DN .