This month Follingsby Max welcomed the students from East Durham College to showcase the work and on-going land management by Durham Wildlife Trust and WL Straughan towards biodiversity on the 100 acre site located adjacent to Follingsby Park in Gateshead.
27 students from the college’s Houghall Campus, based in Durham were invited along as part of the community engagement event headed up by Durham Wildlife Trust. Durham Wildlife Trust will be collaborating with East Durham College Land and Wildlife students to preserve the site and show what can be achieved if developers place value on the preservation and maintenance of natural wildlife and ecology.
The event promotes an understanding to the students of the need for habitat management and conservation from the initial development stage of a site, and how to use their skills and training to work in the commercial sector, designing and managing landscapes. The students were encouraged to take part in planting the banks of some of the smaller ponds to encourage breeding of the one of the sites recorded and protected species, the great crested newt. WL Straughan assisted with the cutting and placing of the rocks in preparation to build the hibernacula’s, to provide shelter over the winter months.
Discussing the event, Adam Crolla, Lecturer of Land and Wildlife, East Durham College said:
Also commenting, Mark Dinning, Head of Conservation, DWT said:
Further comments from two of the students at East Durham College who took part in the event.
Grace Lawton, year 2 student studying Land & Wildlife Management level 3 Diploma at East Durham College said:
James Goddard, year 2 student studying Land & Wildlife Management level 3 Diploma at East Durham College said:
Speaking about the event, Dave Price Operations Director, Highgrove Group said:
In addition, 40 bird nesting boxes have been installed, mainly in the woodland areas. Yet, this is only the start, as more plans are underway to ensure the overall maintenance and development of the green infrastructure zone will encourage and support natural wildlife habitats on site. The site will be monitored over the next five years to ensure biodiversity is being increased, not just maintained.
The collaboration on Follingsby Max promotes an understanding of the need for habitat management and conservation from the initial development stage. Highgrove Group has spearheaded the idea from the outset back in 2017, working with the Council to understand how to bring this forward with their commitment to the on-going management of this new green initiative.