Today The Deep welcomed a group of Animal Care students from Bishop Burton College, East Yorkshire, with a mission to creating a native wildlife haven on the banks of the River Hull in an area of under-utilised urban scrubland.
The students volunteered their time as part of their work experience programme and planted 60m of native hedging, including species such as Hawthorn, Crab apple, Field maple and Dog rose to develop a new site for wildlife to move into.
As the plants mature, it is hoped to see the arrival of wide a variety of animal species including insects, spiders, birds and even small mammals.
Rebecca Oldridge of Bishop Burton College explains why the project is so crucial to the college: “Work experience is a vital component of any animal care course, and I wanted to take the students somewhere where they could see the difference they would make as a result of their hard work. They will learn the value of conserving habitats and green spaces, be able to relate ecological systems and food chains to their work and improve their identification skills of plants and animals. They can be proud of assisting and experiencing the wider work involved in conservation.
“Providing the opportunity for additional teamwork and volunteering, the site we will be working on can be followed up with future visits, not only with this particular group of students to see the progress, but other courses that study topics related to ecology and environmental biology as part of their Animal Management course.
“The animal industry is huge and varied and this experience serves to show the wide range of tasks that can be undertaken to help animals and the environment, showing the students further options for their progression through their education.”
After rotivating the ground in preparation for planting, Stoneledge Aggregates kindly donated two tons of top soil to aid in the community initiative. As well as the hedging plants, Photenia and Red robin will also be added to allow staff from The Deep to harvest the leaves to feed a variety of their insects.
Phill Robinson, Aquarist and Invertebrate Keeper at The Deep said: “It’s great to have this support from Bishop Burton College. The work the students are undertaking will help increase the diversity and availability of plants in the area, which is vital to the care of some of our animals. The species being planted will also ensure we have plenty of varieties to not only cover the summer months, but the winter too.”
After the initial planting has taken place and the new habitat has been able to establish itself, the management of the site will be continued to be maintained by a community of volunteers and utilised as an area for student projects relating to ecological study and management.
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