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Celebrating twenty years of wildlife education - 08.07.09

The award-winning Sutton Ecology Centre celebrates its twentieth anniversary on the afternoon of Sunday 12 July with an old-fashioned summer fete.

Visitors will be able to enjoy free guided walks around the grounds, and a wide range of activities including face paintings, kids' crafts and far more besides.

The Friends of Sutton Ecology Centre will be running an innovative 'memory tree' project to encourage visitors to contribute to the living history of the grounds and eventually create an archive for the centre.

Opened in 1989, the council-run centre has provided a focus for local environmental, ecological and wildlife initiatives ever since. During that time, more than 200 full and part-time members of staff and volunteers have contributed to the success of the centre, including winning London in Bloom twice.

Volunteers and friends have always played a major role, with the Ecology Centre Volunteers and Sutton Nature Conservation Volunteers operating from the office for 20 years. Volunteers helped create the large pond and marsh area, planted woodland, established spring and summer meadows, developed organic vegetable gardens, greenhouse and forest garden, planned and built alternative energy, composting and recycling displays, as well as running innovative environmental education activities.

Thousands of local school children have visited the grounds to attend workshops explore the environment and learn more about nature with the centre's educational staff.

Cllr Colin Hall, Executive Member for Environment said,

"The Ecology Centre is a hidden gem and our old fashioned summer fete is the perfect opportunity to discover it for yourself.

"Over the last twenty years, the Ecology Centre has been at the forefront of the council's environmental policy, bringing a generation of school children the chance to learn more about nature and the wildlife all around them.

"None of it would have been possible without the many volunteers over the years that gave up their weekends and free time to create and maintain the grounds. This anniversary is a big thank-you to them and all the staff that make the centre what it is today."

Free to enter, the fete will be held in the grounds of the centre from 1 to 4pm. For more information, call the Ecology Centre on 020 8770 5820.

For more information about the Friends of the Ecology Centre, call Angela Baughan on 020 8647 3858.

Last updated: Thursday, 09 July 2009

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