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The Isle of Wight Biodiversity Partnership have supported a special Wildlife Award category in this year’s Wight in Bloom competition as part of the International Year of Biodiversity celebrations happening across the globe throughout 2010.
Gold, silver and bronze wildlife awards were presented to the three best wildlife friendly gardens in the competition at the ceremony earlier this month at the Riverside Centre.
A wildlife friendly garden is one planted to encourage wildlife and may incorporate a range of flowers or habitats which ideally provide shelter and food for a wide range of species such as birds, mammals, insects and amphibians throughout the year. Gardens cover about 6% of the Island which potentially provides a great resource for our wonderful wildlife.
The expert judges – Dave and Hazel Trevan on behalf of the IW Natural History and Archaeological Society and Nick Webb, IW Council Countryside Ranger were extremely impressed by the standard of the entrants and variety of gardens which included school wildlife spaces, community projects, businesses and private individuals - all having excellent features benefiting wildlife.
The overall winner receiving the gold award was Northwood Primary School whose enthusiasm for their wildlife space from both the pupils and staff clearly impressed the judges along with an outstanding diversity of habitats and good use of water recycling and composting.
They were closely followed by the Vectis Road allotments (VERA) in East Cowes – a community allotment where plot holders work closely together. Highlights here included the community beehive and impressive organisation of the site as a whole.
The bronze award was given to Afton Park Apple Farm who demonstrated that businesses can also do their bit for biodiversity. The nature trails, long grassed areas and multitude of wild flowers providing ideal food for insects as well as a wonderful setting for a cup of tea and a slice of cake scored highly!
Nick Webb says “The gardens the judges visited were truly inspirational from the variety of habitats at Northwood Primary School, the beehives and range of planting at Vectis Road allotments to the beautiful flower rich garden leading to the extensive orchard and meadows at Afton Park. These sites demonstrate that gardens can be beautiful and also havens for wildlife with the right design and management. Well done to all the entrants and keep up the good work.”
For more ideas on wildlife gardening and to add your garden to England’s newest communal nature reserve visit www.bwg.naturalengland.org.uk.
Images left to right: Gold winnners - Northwood Primary, Silver winners - Vectis Road Allotment holders & Bronze winners - Afton Park Apple Farm.