Nottingham Green Guardians

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05/09/23

My personal reflections on year 2 of Nottingham Green Guardians

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The Nottingham Green Guardians programme celebrated its second year this August and we have had a bumper year of activities and some great volunteer story successes!

Thankfully the programme has been extended for another couple of years (and we hope that’s just a minimum), and we are all very thankful to all the volunteers and our partners who have helped to make this happen.

As I have just finished the most recent draft of my annual review for the boss, I (Green Guardian Sandra) decided to do a bit of a roundup of my year 2 highlights below;

Firstly, we continue to grow, a whopping 313 of you officially registered through the Volunteering Portal!

You then gave over 4,000 recorded hours to improve parks, nature reserves and green spaces across the city to improve areas for the benefit of visitors and wildlife.

Although I believe that everyone who volunteers and any time you can give (even if it’s the first half hour of a session) is greatly appreciated. I do think that the role/team that gave the most hours collectively needs a special shout out, over the last 12 months this was our Conservation Volunteers at a little over 899 hours. Our Conservation Volunteers journey around the city to look after various Nature Reserves and Local Wildlife Sites across the city with the support of our Park Rangers Simon and Danni.

Image below: Sellers Wood volunteers with Park Ranger Simon having a well deserved tea break

Simon, Park Ranger with Sellers Wood volunteers

You have planted over 7,000 plants and bulbs across the city in the last 12 months and over 13,000 new trees between October 2022 – March 2023, the highest on record at Nottingham City Council!

If you have met me at a planting session previously (or a little after tree planting season ends each year) you will know that as plants and trees are going in the ground that I get giddy, euphoric even as it genuinely fills my heart with joy to know that there are like minded people around who want to green the city.

Image below: Yes, that’s me after the final planting session of the 2022/23 season.

Green Guardian Sandra at the end of planting season in March 2023

We launched 8 brand new opportunities, including;

Arboretum Gardening Group who meet on the third Wednesday of each month and have already revamped one of the old flower beds (between the Waverley Street entrance and the aviary’s) and turned it into a fantastic alpine themed Rockery for all to enjoy.

Colwick Country Park Champions, who meet on the first Thursday of the month and have undertaken various tasks under the guidance of Country Park Manager, James from planting new hedgerows to sowing a new wildflower area the team are making improvements across the Country Park for wildlife to thrive.

Cemeteries Volunteers are one of our most recent additions, only having launched in May 2023 but have already overhauled the Garden of Rest area and there are plans already in place to continue these sessions to help create beautiful spaces for reflection and spaces for wildlife to flourish.

Image below: Colwick Counry Park Champions earlier this year.

Colwick Country Park Champions by the lake

We have slowly been increasing our online presence, improving our brand awareness and attending lots of community events to get the word out there. Ranger Danni started her own TikTok account with a mixture of wildlife content (as well as the occasional dog video) and our new website, yes this very one that you are reading this on went live in September 2022 and we’ve had articles from different Friends of groups as well as various members of the Greenspace and Natural Environment team. If you are looking for short articles to read, then check out the News and Volunteer Stories page for articles (we are always looking for more content so if you’d like to write an article for us to share then get in touch!)

We have also increased our range of non-public volunteering sessions. We launched our corporate volunteering programme so businesses can get involved and  and created and continued partnerships with various organisations including Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and their Young Rangers programme, Nottingham College Employability Students, Nature in Mind and Mencap.

Image below: Nest box making with the City Young Rangers, a partnership with Nottinghamshire Wildife Trust to engage young people with urban nature and conservation.

Nest box making with the City Young Rangers, a partnership with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to get young people involved in urban wildlife and conservation

Our Park Rangers have increased engagement sessions, including more family wildlife-based sessions including our Mini-Explorers during the school holidays as well as the ever-popular butterfly or bat walks at different sites. A more recent addition to the engagement activities would be our twice monthly wildlife wellbeing walks. I helped lead a recent wildlife wellbeing walk at Wollaton Hall and Deer Park and I can say it was not only an enjoyable walk. I got to spent time looking through my binoculars rather than a computer screen, had the chance to talk to the different attendees and tried to identify the different bees in the formal gardens, but it definitely improved my wellbeing and gave me a great feeling to end the week. If you havent joined us for a walk or event yet, then most of these are advertised through Eventbrite.

As we roll into year 3 with what I feel is a good baseline of opportunities for you to get involved, and us here in the team getting to grips and the amazing things that are possible, we are asking our volunteers (and potential volunteers) to feed back to us about their experiences and how we can improve so if you have a spare 5-10 minutes to answer 8 questions, please follow this link to give your anonymous feedback.

We can’t wait to see you at a volunteering session, guided walk or event soon!

sandra.horner
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