Portsmouth residents invited to create a new haven for wildlife and the community in Eastney

A GREEN-FINGERED group will create a new wildlife haven and ‘community focal point’ in the city, with its first ever planting session this weekend.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 1:15 pm

Members of Wilder Eastney will be gathering on an acre of council-owned land opposite the Coffee Cup in Eastney to build raised flowerbeds and bird and bat boxes on September 26.

The team have gained permission from Portsmouth City Council to plant on the land and are inviting members of the public to join in with children’s activities and vision boards open to all.

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Year 2 pupils from Bramble Infant School and Nursery in Southsea, planted flowers outside the Co-op in Fawcett Road, Southsea, on Tuesday, March 23, as part of the Wilder Portsmouth scheme. Pictured is: (front) Zeynep Yalcin (6). Picture: Sarah Standing (230321-5343)

Jackie Collins, the group co-ordinator, said: ‘We want to make this space a focal point for community in Eastney. By boosting the variety of flowers and nature here we believe we can increase the diversity of community usage too; dog walking, kids playing ball but also gardening groups, nature enthusiasts, families having picnics and school workshops teaching about sustainability.

‘The pandemic has shown us that green spaces are vital to our wellbeing – let’s make the most of them.’

The project, which also includes planting herbs and a sensory garden, is being supported by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) and the Portsmouth Climate Action Board.

HIWWT local representative, Andy Ames, said: ‘People relaxing and having fun in nature is always a winning combination. We want to bring more life back to these green spaces, both wildlife and community activities.’

Re-wilding agenda - looking at how Portsmouth and other areas have embraced the movement to reintroduce wildlife to areas Pictured: Fran Carabott, Pioneer minister and Wild Communities officer, Andy Ames near a Bug Hotel outside St Margaret s Church, Highlands Road, Portsmouth on 30 November 2020. Picture: Habibur Rahman

And Nick Sebley, from the Portsmouth Climate Action Board, added: ‘Nature is in crisis; due to human choices that seem inoffensive in themselves but when carried out en masse have a devastating effect.

‘The good news is many people are facing up to the situation and making changes: this project is an attempt to do that on a small scale. The Climate Action Board is working with the Council to replicate such community groups across the city.’

Other existing wilding projects in the city include a community garden at St Margaret's Church, in Highland Road, a mural incorporating bird boxes in Francis Avenue and wilder streets in Whitwell Road and Tamworth Road.

Climate environment campaign launched by The News March 2021 in conjunction with Portsmouth Climate Action Board

The event will start at 10am on Sunday, September 26 on land at Marine Court Green.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a spade, picnic materials and musical instruments – as well as ideas for the future of the green space.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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