A Harrogate charity has scooped a top award for its commitment to wildlife conservation. Open Country, which helps people with a disability to access and enjoy the countryside, has received the Gold Award in the Wildlife Friendly Garden Awards for its efforts to increase the wildlife value of its plot at the Jubilee Allotments near Knaresborough.
Harrogate District Biodiversity Action Group’s award scheme recognises the good work of individuals, groups and schools to help local wildlife by creating havens for bird and insect populations to flourish. Open Country’s allotment is maintained throughout the year by the charity’s disabled members, supported by its staff and volunteers. This work is just one of many ways in which Open Country helps people with a disability to enjoy the countryside and get closer to nature.
Kate Leggett, Countryside Activities Officer at Open Country, said:
Throughout the development of our allotment we have always taken into account ways in which we can increase biodiversity alongside growing fruit and vegetables. We have had our plot for over eight years, but in the last year or so we have added some extra wildlife-friendly features, such as bug hotels, bird boxes and a hedgehog home. We always try to emphasise to our disabled members the importance of gardening with wildlife in mind and how it can actually help us; for example attracting frogs and toads to keep the slugs at bay and providing nest boxes for birds who will feed their young with caterpillars that they pick off our cabbages!
Members of Open Country’s ‘Wild About Wetherby’ team were presented with a certificate and plaque by Pamela Millen, secretary of the Harrogate District Biodiversity Action Group (HBDAG).
It is clear to see how hard Open Country’s members work throughout the year to create a wildlife friendly allotment and we are delighted to celebrate their efforts. Creating these havens provides valuable food, water and shelter for wildlife, helping to form green links across landscapes, allowing creatures to move between patches of suitable habitat and linking urban areas with the wider countryside. HDBAG champions groups and individuals doing small things to make a big difference to wildlife biodiversity.
Open Country combines conservation projects with its programme of countryside activities to open up opportunities for people with a disability to maintain their health and wellbeing, to meet new people and to enjoy fresh air and have fun. More information on their full programme of activities can be found at www.opencountry.org.uk For more information about Harrogate District Biodiversity Action Group visit www.biodiversityaction.org