Wildlife areas are an excellent way of supporting our declining population of wildlife by providing them with the perfect home. Developing your school grounds with wildlife in mind, not only benefits a diverse range of plants and creatures, but also people! Creating a wildlife area will provide children and adults alike with the opportunity to experience a fascinating variety of species and habitats up close.
Designing your wildlife area
This is an excellent opportunity to get the kids involved. Explain to the children that wildlife needs four important things to live in the garden; food, water, shelter and a place to breed. Get the whole school involved, it is an excellent opportunity for children to work together on a rewarding project.
The lists above contain plants that are good for insects. Most can be easily obtained from garden centres or as seeds from recognised seed stockists. These lists are not exhaustive, but at least they serve as a guide. Make sure to plant native plants to ensure maximum benefit.
When to plant
The ideal time of year for planting, depends on what you want to grow. Read the labels of plants and seeds for instructions. If in doubt, ask for advice in your local gardening centre.
When to mow
It’s best to leave mowing as late as possible in the spring. Those flowers in the grass provide a vital source of nectar for early pollinators. Its also really important to leave mowing as late as you can at the end of the summer and into the autumn. All the flowers that have been bus making seed all summer need those seeds to grow to maturity if they are going to germinate later on. Its also a great idea to raise your mower up to the highest setting it can go to, there are lots of small flowers that will miss the chop and feed and those mini-beasts.
Do not be too tidy! For example; piles of twigs and leaves provide shelter for creatures and the seeds in a dead flower head will provide food for birds.
Chemicals can be damaging to the environment so by avoiding pesticides you will increase the number of insects living in your garden and this in turn will attract birds and other predators which will do the job for you! Do not use peat to enrich your soil as the demand for peat is destroying valuable habitats.
Do not waste water!
Collecting rain water with a water butt is a good sustainable way to water your garden.