30 September 2016

As part of our Wildlife Connections campaign we have been working with local community groups, our Wildlife Champions, to make a difference and enhance their space to become more wildlife friendly.

These community groups are also inspiring other members of the community to get involved and take action before we lose our amazing local wildlife.

As part of our campaign to create a network of wildlife friendly spaces across Cheshire, we ran a Community Garden Design Competition to help one lucky group build an amazing space for wildlife.

Community groups sent in their designs and our judging panel went through each one to see which would offer the most benefits to wildlife and the local community. And we’re delighted to announce Dig the Quarter as the winners of our garden competition and Neston Community and Youth Centre as the runners-up!

Nick Rowles, people and wildlife officer at Cheshire Wildlife Trust, was one of the judging panellists who went through the garden design applications. He explains:

I was very impressed by the level of entries to the wildlife garden design competition. I felt that the Dig the Quarter design showed a real understanding of how to garden for wildlife in a small space, and will hopefully transform an underused piece of land into a valuable asset for the whole community.

I think the Wildlife Connections project is an excellent way of getting communities to take action for wildlife locally.

Local community group Dig the Quarter with Chester Zoo staff at the Wildlife Connections festival

The winners, Dig the Quarter, tell us more:

The Garden Quarter is a vibrant and active community but sometimes the area can look a little uncared for.  A group of us decided to do something positive to change this through planting and encouraging wildlife, hence ‘Dig the Quarter’ was born.

We want to enthuse people to create an environment where wildlife can flourish in an urban setting and the zoo competition offered exactly that. Creating a wildlife garden will involve everybody and, with the help of the zoo, we can learn something as we go. We are so excited about winning and have a host of people who want to get involved either in building or using the garden including Scouts, Brownies, students and an older person’s home.

We hope people will meet new neighbours, learn new skills and become motivated to practice in their own gardens. Our project will create a tranquil patch of countryside within the City and space for talks, activities and teaching boards to learn about our environment. We take a pride in the Garden Quarter and will dig it in a big way!

We will also be working with Neston Community and Youth Centre, the runners-up of the garden competition, by providing them with the materials they need to help transform their local space. They’ve been doing an amazing job letting all the communities that use that centre know the actions they can take to help wildlife. 

We’re really looking forward to helping both community groups develop their wildlife friendly gardens in a few months’ time and we’ll keep you posted with how they get on.

It was reported earlier this month that over half our UK species are in trouble – the state of nature in the UK is worrying. That’s why it’s important we ALL do as much as we can to help. Find out how you can get involved in Wildlife Connections here.