We are champions! Our Biodiversity’s Nature and Wildflower Meadow has been selected as a winner of a 2021 Bees’ Needs Champions Award, in the Local Authority and Community category. This is a National Award for a project that aims to help pollinators and the environment.
The judging panel was very impressed by the calibre of all the applications, but our efforts stood out as being particularly impressive.
Rebecca Pow MP, Under Secretary of State in DEFRA confirmed our win in this letter.
You can also watch a short video message of congratulations from Minister Pow, and view the other winners of the awards on our website, by clicking here.
‘Over 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930s. The effect on the numbers of pollinators has been dramatic,’ says Janet Redij-Gill, co-lead of the SPRA Bio team. ‘We’re hoping that our efforts will result in hearing and seeing more bumblebees lazily buzzing and bumbling about on sunny afternoons, more butterflies fluttering by, and more wildflowers to stop and admire.’
During the summer of 2021 the meadow was indeed full of native wildflowers, chosen specifically for their benefits to bees, butterflies and moths. Long grasses were kept too, serving as essential habitat for all sorts of invertebrates and as foodplants for caterpillars.
Fellow team leader Sharon Morris-Mottasher added, ‘we very much appreciate the support we’ve had working with Spelthorne Borough Council, and the donations and grants that we’ve received that enabled us to do this work. We’ve got lots more to do so if you’re looking to join a small and friendly group of dedicated volunteers please email us here – we’d love to hear from you.’
We hope to be installing our winner’s plaque in Staines Park soon!
Come and meet your SPRA Biodiversity Team as we hold our first post lockdown event.
We’re celebrating Bees Needs Week by holding a ‘Bees and Biscuits’ event in Staines Park on Sunday 24th July, 11am-3pm.
Fun and interest for all, with bee themed biscuits and buns, crafts and colouring in, seed bombs, selfie frames and more. We’d love to chat with you about our work in Staines Park and our future Biodiversity plans. Take a look at our award winning ‘Nature and Wildflower Meadow’ and see what we planted for bees and other pollinators. Talk with our very own Bee Man, Mr Philip Webb, and learn about all types of bees, from super cute and fluffy bumblebees, to sleek honey bees, and hardworking miner bees.
We hope to see you there, please come along and show your support for Team Bio. A flyer for the event is available here.
In September our team, along with members of the Egham and Staines Conservation Volunteers group, set about building 2 pyramid log habitats in Staines Park to provide some suitable habitat for our endangered Stag Beetles.
Habitats were built in accordance with guidelines from the Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and once completed were registered on the PTES database as a part of their conservation efforts for these fantastic beetles.
We are delighted to announce that the results of the Spelthorne in Bloom 2021 competition are in and SPRA’s ‘Wildflower and Nature Meadow’ was awarded 2nd place in the ‘Best Environmental Planting Project’ category.
The SPRA Biodiversity Team planted flowers particularly beneficial to pollinators, ensuring a long flowering season right through from early spring to autumn. Larval food plants for butterfly and moth caterpillars were included, and long grasses left in place for grasshoppers, crickets, spiders and more. The meadow has a depth and a richness to it that goes beyond the floral blooms, and you can read more about our meadow here.
The Awards Ceremony took place at Notcutts Garden Centre on 11th October 2021. Sharon Morris-Motasher and Eileen Webb attended on behalf of the SPRA Biodiversity Team and Cllr. Robin Sider presented the Spelthorne in Bloom prize certificate and £20 of Notcutts vouchers.
‘We’re delighted to receive this award and look forward to the meadow going from strength to strength, enhancing the park for visitors, engaging with the community and improving the ecosystem for our local biodiversity.’ said Janet Redij-Gill (Co-Team Leader) ‘I thoroughly enjoyed researching and designing the meadow and its thanks to the hard work of all of the Biodiversity Team and community volunteers that it’s worked so well’
We would like to thank our local community for their support and encouragement. To be awarded 2nd prize at our first time of entering the competition really lets us know we are on the right tracks to forge ahead.
It has been a difficult 18 months for us all and many of the plans the Biodiversity Team had were either cancelled or postponed. However we hope that everyone was impressed with the outcome of the Wildflower and Nature Meadow planting this year.
This is how we started – marking out areas for plants to go in. We received funding from three local councillors and the Two Rivers Eco Fund to help us purchased a number of plants. The plan was originally to work with local Cubs, Beavers, schools and volunteers to grow from seed but we had to change our plans with lockdown issues.
Eventually all was planted by the Biodiversity Team and other volunteers and hopefully you have seen the results over the past couple of months.
We plan to continue this annually and next year will again invite the local community to grow our plants from seed.
It’s worth mentioning a couple of activities we arranged in previous years
We invited the public to come along and plant 1000s of bluebells and snowdrops amongst the trees in the woodland area. It was a great day with lots of fun, and lots of cake!
Although we saw some of these flower this spring, it’ll take a few years for the bluebell carpet to become established!
Working with Staines Rotary group we invited everyone to help plant a river of purple crocus bulbs in recognition of Rotary’s ’Purple for Polio’ campaign. More cake and fun that day too! Watch out in early spring for the lovely river of crocuses to erupt in the middle of the train track.
Spring is in the air, lockdown is easing, our park is blooming back to life and we have marked the occasion with a new-look website.
We hope to add information on here not just about the work of our Residents Association but also those organisations and clubs that use the park regularly, including our friends at the bowls club and the Model Engineers.
Over the next few weeks and months we’ll also be adding in historical events since our formation with lots of lovely pictures. Don’t forget to follow us on our social media accounts to get the latest news and updates.
Our first AGM in two years is coming soon, please keep an eye out for it and we invite you to renew your membership or join afresh clicking on the Join Us link above. You can now apply and pay online!