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A Harrogate leisure and fitness club is setting its sights firmly on winning gold this summer.
But the “medal” the staff and members of The Academy Health Club and Spa are striving for has nothing to do with sport, but everything to do with improving the environment and supporting wildlife.
It has taken up the gauntlet thrown down by the Harrogate and District Wildlife and Biodiversity Action Group to create a Wildlife Friendly Garden within its grounds.
Academy member Carolyn Rothwell (left), Academy Managing Director Philippa Shackleton (far right) with Horticap workers Stuart Chisem and Carl Crooks
To achieve gold status, The Academy has to implement at least 12 wildlife-friendly features from a list of 24.
These include installing bird boxes and recycling water butts; planting drought resistant plants and nectar rich plants, not using chemical weed killers; composting and creating a long grass area.
The Academy’s push for gold is being led Academy Managing Director, Philippa Shackleton and Tennis Club Captain, Carolyn Rothwell, who is also a member of the Harrogate and District Wildlife and Biodiversity Action Group.
Carolyn has drafted in the help and expertise of Horticap, and The Academy maintenance team, Alun Stevens and Ted Gaddas, who are planting wild flowers, creating an Olympic flower meadow, herb garden and “Mediterranean” patch with planters.
We have our sights firmly set on the gold award. The club is set in five-and-a-half acres and has some great environmental attributes, which include the beck, some wonderful mature trees, hedges, plants and a thriving birdlife.
Working with Horticap, we are aiming to make The Academy even more wildlife friendly by planting shrubs and plants that attract a diverse variety of animals and insects.
Academy Managing Director Philippa Shackleton said:
I’m delighted that Carolyn is leading this project as she has so much drive and commitment.
It was her idea to bring in Horticap, and they are doing a wonderful job. Carolyn has also got the crèche involved who are going to help open a bug hotel!