There are many ways for individuals, groups, businesses and schools to get involved in nature conservation in Westminster.
Create a wildlife area
Whether your outside space is large or small, there is something you can do to make your home more friendly for wildlife.
Here are a few ideas:
- Plant a window box with flowering plants and nectar for insects
- Hang up some well-stocked bird feeders. Keep them clean! Common diseases of garden birds are spread by food contaminated with the droppings and saliva of infected birds.
- Build a log pile in a dark and damp spot in your garden and watch the insects move in.
- Let your grass grow wild in some areas of your lawn.
- Plant wildflowers and native bulbs providing nectar for insects such as butterflies and bees.
- Create a wildlife pond.
- Provide fruit and nectar for birds and insects by selecting shrubs and trees such as hawthorn, holly, cherry and elder. Grow climbers and creepers as shelter for nesting birds and nectar for insects. Plant trees and shrubs of different heights and sizes as shelter for small mammals, birds and invertebrates. Remember to avoid cutting back your hedgerows and climbers when birds are breeding (March to August) as you are in danger of disturbing a nest. Breeding birds are protected by UK laws.
- Use peat-free compost or even better make your own.
- Harvest rainwater in a water butt and use this to water your plants.
For more advice on gardening for wildlife:
London Wildlife Trust
Royal Horticultural Society
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Add wildlife features to your building
There are many different ways to create a place for wildlife in buildings both old and new.
- Create a green roof, roof terrace or roof garden. For examples of green roofs, go to: www.livingroofs.org . To design a green roof for biodiversity, providing habitat for black redstart, one of Britain's rarest breeding birds, go to: www.blackredstarts.org.uk
- Plant creepers, creating vertical habitats up the sides of walls and fences to create nesting sites for birds and nectar and sunspots for insects.
- Build bird bricks into the design of a new building or as part of the conversion of an old building.
- Build homes for bats as part of the design of a new building or as part of a conversion. Go to the Bat Conservation Trust: www.bats.org.uk for more advice.
Go to a wildlife event
Many organisations in Westminster and across London are arranging wildlife events for all ages.
Set up wildlife activities at your local school
There are many ways that primary and secondary schools can learn about the natural environment that surrounds them through both classroom and outdoor learning.
Here are some ideas:
- The London Wildlife Trust delivers Out of School Hours Learning Wildlife Clubs. A team of experienced environmental education teachers delivers sessions, usually at lunch or after school, that contribute to specific learning outcomes in the National Curriculum. Subjects covered include Biology, Geography and Citizenship. In addition to reinforcing areas of the curriculum, the clubs also engage children with the natural world.
- Sayers Croft Field Centre is a residential centre specialising in environmental and outdoor education and offers Westminster schools discounted rates.
- Zoological Society of London offers:
- Westminster schools the opportunity to take part in an environmental outreach pilot programme
- Free admission to all children from Westminster schools on an educational visit
- A programme at London Zoo for Primary and Secondary schools linking directly to the national curriculum. It features a range of different activities for Reception and Key Stages 1 - 4 and for Post-16, including A-level. Many of the topics are focused on the Science curriculum, but this programme also looks at English, Citizenship, Geography and Humanities.
Record the wildlife you see
Visit the Greenspace information for Greater London (GiGL) website www.gigl.org.uk, register and submit your details. You'll need to know what you have seen and where and when you have seen it.
Sponsor a wildlife project
If you would like to contribute financially to a greener Westminster, then we can offer advice on how. Get in touch to discuss ways that working in partnership can make a difference not only for wildlife but also for local communities across the city.