Rewilding our way to a sustainable future
York College & University Centre has teamed up with Askham Bryan College and local environmental charity St Nicks in a rewilding project which sees a once dark swathes of trees, with little open area, transform into a space where students can learn about nature.
The team have worked collaboratively to open groves by removing some of the trees to create wood-chip paths, allowing the area to be explored and enjoyed. The pond which holds the Great Crested Newts has had some attention and has a good depth of water in it now. The project will continue with the hedges being re-laid when the time is right and that will include those around the sports field closest to College.
Working with local charity St Nicks, the group have begun to establish a baseline biodiversity audit for the Forest School, which has identified that there are two different species of orchid on the site. This means that the area may be able to gain ‘Site of Importance for Nature Conservation’ (SINC) status which will help to bid for monies to do further work. The team is also committed to helping St Nicks create a wildlife corridor from the River Ouse to Askham Bog.
In the other parts of the project, most of the trees which have been planted in the ‘Jubilee Grove’ are showing leaf and part of the grass has been left unmown so a wildflower meadow can be grown.
Several groups of students have made use of the area as part of their curriculum. It is hoped that all teaching staff will incorporate the area into their lesson planning in the next academic year.
Looking ahead, there are plans to build in benches which will create an external wellbeing area, ready for Summer 2024. Like all things involving nature, you need to be patient!
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