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Help local wildlife spring into action 01.03.12

A new wildlife project is springing into action and asking for residents' help to support Sutton's wildlife.

The Ecology Centre's Biodiversity Gardens project helps people learn how to make their back gardens and open spaces more wildlife-friendly. As spring approaches, the project is shining a light on what lives in Sutton and how traditional gardening skills can be used to help local wildlife.

The start of spring means that frogs, newts and toads will soon be emerging from hibernation, and getting involved can be as simple as sending sightings and photographs of frog or toad spawn in to be recorded. By building up a picture of what lives where, the Biodiversity team can help to work out what residents can do to help the creatures in their local area.

If you have a bit more time, the team runs half-day workshops for schools and community groups on how to develop their land to support more wildlife. The time is free and you may be able to get free materials. You can also volunteer long-term, as the group are looking for people who want to find out more about social media, events, biodiversity surveying and more.

Cllr Colin Hall, Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change on Sutton Council, said: "We're lucky to have a wealth of different plants and animals living in our back gardens here in Sutton, but small changes and developments in gardens can have a big impact on the creatures that live there.

"One of the best ways to support wildlife is by working with what you already have. Small changes, such as leaving some long grass around lawn edges can make a big difference, as can enhancements like building a log pile, creating a pond or leaving small holes at the bottom of walls and fences, which will allow animals to travel around freely, often what they need to flourish in our urban environment."

Most of the council's biodiversity records focus on what lives in public spaces like parks or nature conservation areas, with little information existing about what lives in the borough's gardens, school grounds, allotments and churchyards. The Heritage Lottery Funded Biodiversity Project was launched last year to find out more about what lives in these areas, and what could be done to support it.

To find out more about traditional wildlife gardening, or any of the Get Involved activities, visits us at http://projectdirt.com/group/biodiversitygardens. Alternatively, you can contact the project officer on 020 8770 5818 or anna.parry@sutton.gov.uk.

Last updated: Wednesday, 11 April 2012

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