Ponds need people - local business volunteers help in Peterborough

Post date: 
29 Aug 2017 - 08:45
Member News

Wildlife charity Freshwater Habitats Trust welcomed the help of employees from BGL Group, who volunteered their time to monitor water quality and build new homes for wildlife at one of the UK’s most important pond sites.

Orton Pits, Peterborough, is a Flagship Pond site – one of 70 sites across the country that are home to our rarest pond plants and animals.  Freshwater Habitats Trust is working with communities to make sure Flagship Pond sites and their wildlife have a safe future.  When companies like BGL join the team, it bodes well.

Without help from local people, the nation’s finest ponds, like those at Orton Pits, and at Castor Hanglands to the north of Peterborough, will likely suffer the same fate as most other ponds: pollution, neglect or mismanagement, and the loss of the plants and animals that make them special.

Pete Case, Freshwater Habitat Trust’s Regional Officer, said: “Volunteers play an incredibly important role in helping to care for Flagship Pond sites. Everything from monitoring water quality to undertaking hands-on practical management work relies on their support, so having the enthusiastic staff from BGL to help us for the day was a real bonus. It was a pleasure to show the team around Orton Pits which is one of the best and most interesting freshwater sites in England, we are looking forward to working with them again in the future”.

Staff at BGL are encouraged to spend one work day a year volunteering in the local community.  Earlier this month, eight volunteers from BGL’s head office in Peterborough enjoyed building log piles to give shelter to the Great Crested Newts that the site is best known for.  The volunteers then spent the afternoon measuring pollution levels in some the site’s 320 ponds.  The water testing is vital for spotting pollution that could threaten the many other special plants and animals that have made Orton Pits their home.

Louise Powell, Senior Business Analyst at BGL, said “We were delighted to spend our volunteering day at Orton Pits, getting hands on to support the very important work of the Freshwater Habitats Trust – we were thrilled to see so many creatures and birds, including a few slow worms, a kingfisher and a deer. We came away with a real understanding of the value of the Reserve, what effects pollutants can have on our waterways and the importance in protecting these areas.  We look forward to helping again in the future.”

Laurence Jarvis, Head of Conservation at Froglife, said “We were very pleased with the work which staff from BGL carried out at Orton Pit. The wildlife homes will be valuable for a range of species including Great Crested Newts, Common Lizards and Adders. This volunteer input really contributes to the continued conservation of species and habitats on the reserve”.

Freshwater Habitats Trust’s Flagship Pond project is working with partners such as Froglife and local communities to protect 70 sites across England and Wales, with Heritage Lottery Fund support.