Student planting project brings hundreds of wildflowers back to Chester.

Posted on 21st June 2018

A group of student volunteers from the University of Chester is working with Sustrans, to bring colour and wildlife back to the Chester Greenway by planting hundreds of wildflowers.

Students Emma Taylor, Victoria Smith, Finn Holmes-Kellett, Dereka Bartholomew (bottom), Ellie Henagulph (top) and Kimberley Hoar.
Students Emma Taylor, Victoria Smith, Finn Holmes-Kellett, Dereka Bartholomew (bottom), Ellie Henagulph (top) and Kimberley Hoar.

Led by Joe Moodie, 26, from Hull, the group has planted a huge diversity of wildflowers along the Millennium Greenway, to bring the native plants back to the area, as well as insects and other vital wildlife.

The project is part of the University’s Welly Wednesday scheme, which has been supported by a University of Chester Community Project Grant, funded under the Santander Universities initiative. The Grant is administered by the Volunteering and Mentoring Team within Student Futures at the University.

For Joe, who is studying for a BSc in Conservation Biology, it is a project close to his heart. He said: “My passion is looking after environment. Next academic year I am going to be a Leader for the Welly Wednesday project within the University and setting up this wildflower planting day has helped me to understand what goes into the running of a project.

“As for the wildflower planting itself, there has been a loss or around 45% of invertebrates over the last 35 years, in the UK. The planting of wildflowers along the Greenway will hopefully attract more invertebrates including bees, butterflies and moths. Some of these are important pollinators and a decline in them will result in a decline of certain plant species. These plants can also attract certain bird species that are nectar feeders.”

He added: “The Greenway is also a popular cycle track, so as well as increasing local biodiversity it will improve the aesthetics of the Greenway for everyone who uses it.”

Joe has also been working with Jo Morison, Project Officer in the Volunteering and Mentoring Department and Jayne Rodgers, Placement Co-ordinator in Work Based Learning, who are both at the University. The project has involved volunteers from the local Sustrans Rangers, who look after the Chester Greenway. Jayne is also the Volunteer Co-ordinator for the Sustrans group. She said: “It’s been great to work with Joe and everyone to enhance the biodiversity of the route and to engage some new volunteers. We always welcome people who want to help with looking after the Greenway and anyone can get involved - find out more on the Sustrans website - www.sustrans.org.uk.

Jo Morison said: “I am thrilled that we were able to support Joe and Sustrans through our Santander Community Fund, in their bid to plant more wildflowers along the Greenway. This will provide so many benefits - to the local community, to University students and staff and to the wildlife of Chester. It is also a brilliant opportunity for students and staff to volunteer and make a difference to the local area by getting involved in the wildflower planting.”