Love Your Garden Competition

On 26th July 2011 we began our Love your Garden competition. Fordhall Farm was joined by the Shropshire Wildlife Trust to begin six weekly events over the summer holidays trying to inspire the community to do more in their back gardens for wildlife. All events were free and were designed to give friendly tips and advice on how to invite all sorts of species into their gardens.

At the start of the year Fordhall Farm received a grant from the Big Lottery Fund to try and bring the community and wildlife together. Myself, Beth Kennett (Wildlife Officer at Fordhall Farm) and Sara Bellis (Wildlife Officer from the Shropshire Wildlife Trust), got together to see if and how we could work together and go about bringing this to life.
Other than little event days such as planting seeds ready for bees and butterflies, we wanted to come up with something that would bring together are own aims and that of the grant. Thinking of something that would bring a climax to the events and an overall aim and accomplishment to finish on was quite tricky, however, we finally came up with the competition that families and people of all ages could get involved in.

We had great fun in talking about things we could do and topics of events. All were free or low cost ideas, that invariably brought wildlife a safe haven and also could provide food for humans, such as lettuce.

The six events that were arranged consisted of a Wildlife Bioblitz, Marvelous Mammals, Amazing Amphibians and Reptiles, Brilliant Birds, Mega Minibeasts and a Wacky Wildlife Party. Overall we had nearly 300 people that came to the events, a quarter of those had never been to the farm before.

The winner of the competition was the person/family who made the most improvement and benefit for wildlife in the six week period within the Market Drayton area. There were various entries and on the 18th October Sara and I decided the winner. Ryan Kennedy from Shropshire radio came over to Fordhall ready to go to the winners home.

The winner being the Scott family. Joena, Jason, Jacob and Jasmine. After leaving the first event on the 26th they went straight home and began making plans for their wildlife garden pond. They made such brilliant habitats to benefit wildlife and to top it off they didn’t spend a penny. Follow the link below if you’d like to visit thier website and see how they went about making the changes to their garden.

The competition and running the events showed that people were very interested in learning more about wildlife and tips/advice they could pick up.

Even though the grant runs out at the end of this year, Sara Bellis and I are looking into continuing a ‘Family Wildlife Group’ for 2012. Keep a look out for that!!

Anyway, that’s enough from me. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you are interested in the Wildlife Group or any event.

Beth Kennett