Save our Magnificent Meadows is the UK’s largest partnership project which aims to transform the fortunes of the country’s vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife. We are one of 11 partners in this project which is led by Plantlife and primarily funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Since the start of the project we have been involved in a range of community engagement activities to raise awareness of meadows’ severe decline and to get communities inspired by and involved in the protection and restoration of precious wildflower meadows and grasslands.
This Spring and Summer, with the support of the Wildflower Society, we ran wildflower identification sessions, which got volunteers out and about looking through Field Studies Council guides, wildflower books and hand lenses to learn the characteristic features of different species.
During the sessions, our Community Engagement Officer for Save our Magnificent Meadows, Pippa Rayner, introduced the volunteers to different species of wildflowers and grasses that we are working to conserve at a range of our reserves such as Draycott Sleights, Cockles Fields and Cheddar Wood.
The Volunteers had a lot of good things to say about the sessions, and loved the chance to see that their hard work was making a positive impact on wildlife habitat. Some particular comments included:
‘A great day’s work with a fantastic group. We achieved a beautiful fence and learned about hawkbits and cat’s-ears.’
‘It was a super day in all respects, maybe hard work sinking the post holes in. The cowslips, green winged and spotted orchids were fantastic. Great reserve and great company. Good teamwork.’
The sessions were a huge success and volunteers were able to learn more about wildflowers, extend their identification skills,
Following the success of the sessions, we are hoping to continue them until the end of the project next year, and even add in vegetative Identification in the Winter. This will not only be a great way to help build the identification skills and confidence of the volunteers, but bring home to them how crucial their conservation efforts are in protecting wildlife and their habitats for future generations.
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All photos © Matt Sweeting