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Poole-ing out the Stops for Wildlife

by Gerry Lynch last modified 17 Jul, 2017 05:08 PM

Grant helps protect native plants in Branksome Park churchyard

Poole-ing out the Stops for Wildlife

Phot (C): Michael Day. Used under Creative Commons 2.0 and amended. See creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

A wildlife group based at a Poole churchyard is today celebrating the news that it has received a £7,399.00 funding boost from SUEZ Communities Trust (formerly SITA Trust).   

As advised by Dorset Wildlife Trust in their Living Churchyard Project, All Saints Wildlife Group at All Saints Church in Branksome Park aims to eradicate the invasive species of Rhododendron ponticum and bamboo so native plants can flourish, and the community can enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Funding will also provide necessary tree work, supply wildflower plants for two prominent locations, purchase habitat boxes and composters. A portable notice board will keep the community informed about the project and encourage them to join the group.

The wildlife conservation group aims to create suitable habitats, record and publicise what wildlife is seen within the churchyard: flowers, birds and other mammals, lichens and insects.

Jim White, a Trustee of Dorset Wildlife Trust and one of the advisers who visited the churchyard in 2014 when All Saints Branksome Park first took part in DWT's Living Churchyards Project, said, "Dorset Wildlife Trust is so pleased that All Saints Branksome Park takes part in the Living Churchyards Project and is delighted that the enthusiastic group has taken the initiative to seek special funding for their work to enhance wildlife in this lovely churchyard. It will be especially good to get to grips with invasive, introduced species like bamboo which can spread rapidly and crowd out many attractive, less aggressive native plants that are much more valuable for wildlife".

At present, older members of the community are observing and recording to identify species present in the churchyard. Younger people (eg brownies, cub scouts and youth club members) will be encouraged to join in.

Joint working with the Local Authority Environmental Officer in charge of the adjacent Branksome Chine will ensure that many of the public will enjoy the results of this work. The churchyard is well used and maintained. The orderly Victorian graveyard has several interesting memorials, surrounded predominately by close cut grass. By broadening the number of nectar producing wildflowers growing in the churchyard butterflies and moths will be encouraged.

Pete Sessions of SUEZ Communities Trust added “Churchyards are wonderful spaces for wildlife and we were thrilled to support the All Saints volunteers in their important work to enhance the habitat for native species.  SUEZ Communities Trust provides grants through the Landfill Communities Fund. This important source of funding is celebrating its 20th year and in that time has provided such worthy projects with more than £1.4 billion.”

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