The project – helping to raise awareness of habitat loss for species due to climate change – was launched on September 14 with volunteers from Wednesfield spreading wildflower seed mix to develop a new 800 square metre meadow, as part of the city’s carbon reduction plans.
Local organisation, Our Cities Wild Islands who came up with the idea for the scheme and have planned the groundworks, maintenance, signage and involved the public in its plans, with the backing from Mayor Wolverhampton Greg Brackenridge and his ward funds.
The first area to be rewilded is 800 square metres of land in Wednesfield Park adjacent to the skate park. This area will be the largest wildflower meadow in Wolverhampton. A path running through the meadow will give access to people when it blooms next year.
Ryan Eddowes BSc (Hons) Founder/ Project Director, said: “Wilder areas will help increase insect populations, meaning more pollinators like bees and butterflies which are essential for pollinating food crops. Since the Second World War, the United Kingdom has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows, with a reduction in plant and insect biodiversity. Our Cities Wild Island aims to help protect the natural world by rewilding areas, such as roundabouts, roadside verges and parks allowing nature to thrive within our cities.”
Amber Stanley, Co-founder/Head of Creative also said: "It’s time we as a society understand the importance of nature and how we should be doing our utmost to protect it. Nature in all forms is simply beautiful and I’m so excited to be given this opportunity to spread awareness of its importance, educate others on what we as individuals can do to help and overall bring nature back into our lives! We must remember everything that is in this world is here for a reason. After all, nature can live without us but we can’t live without nature."
The 800 square meter area, once established and if it is only cut once per year, will store approximately 0.24 tonnes (240kg) of carbon annually. This may not sound a lot, but the more areas that are rewilded the more carbon stored.
Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Greg Brackenridge, said: “I’m delighted to support this scheme with the ward funding, and hope it will bring joy to residents across my ward over the coming years. The project, supported by many Wednesfield volunteering groups, shows just how passionate local people are about making a difference in their community. This small investment will bring huge dividends in terms of the wildlife it will attract and the opportunities it will bring to raise awareness of the issues of habitat loss for many species due to climate change.”
Councillor Steve Evans, the Cabinet Member for City Environment and Climate Change, said: “Nature and climate should work in harmony, which is why this project is ideal and shows how one can affect the other in a positive way. The council is committed to climate change, and if this pilot works, we will look to replicate it elsewhere in the city. Which is why we’re keen to see if local people/community groups have ideas where other areas like this would work best.” The launch also included the Staffordshire Regimental Association, which spread poppy seeds to commemorate the loss of friends and family during the Covid-19 pandemic. When the poppies grow and flower, people can return and reflect on memories of past loved ones.
Keep up to date on the project and find out how you can volunteer with Our Cities Wild Islands, by visiting Our Cities Wild Islands.
See interview with Councillor Greg Brackenridge, Mayor of Wolverhampton, and Ryan Eddowes and Amber Stanley talking about the rewilding project.