20 May 2011

Froglife Made a Splash in London

Froglife is reflecting on the success of the London Living Water project, as the three year programme comes to an end.  Volunteers, Friends Groups and young people have helped the groundbreaking project dig or improve 30 London ponds over the last 36 months.

Since the start of the project in April 2008, Living Waters officers Rebecca Turpin and Alex Draper have helped to create, restore and enhance ponds in the London boroughs of Haringey, Enfield, Hounslow, Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Bexley and Lewisham, meaning better habitats for the capital’s wildlife.
“Ponds, especially ones that are designed and managed for wildlife, are far apart and few in number in a heavily urbanised borough,” adds Dr Iain Boulton, Parks Projects Officer in Lambeth. “All of these new ponds are in places where access to natural space is always very limited, giving people living and working in Lambeth much better access to a series of water bodies that they can use for learning, relaxation, volunteering and most important of all, a greater understanding and appreciation of nature on their own doorstep.”

Over 1500 people have been engaged in this project from digging ponds and planting them up, to taking part in amphibian identification workshops, pond management training and family activities such as pond dipping and shadow puppet shows.

“I hope the wildlife pond will encourage other Friends groups to follow us in building ponds which will serve the community, local schools and of course our native amphibians for many years to come," said David Macdonald, Chairman Friends of Downhills Park in Haringey which benefitted from a new pond.

The ponds would not have been created or restored without lots of hard work, so a big thank you to everyone who chipped in and got muddy!

“We are incredibly proud of the Living Waters model. We’ve replicated it in Glasgow and aim to roll it out to other urban settings,” explains Sam Taylor, Froglife’s Deputy CEO. “This project really demonstrates a need for more urban ponds for wildlife, as well as the huge interest people have in getting involved in projects to improve their local area.”

Froglife continues to be the lead partner on the Standing Water Biodiversity Action Plan in London, and will be pushing for more and better ponds in the capital and other cities. We also have a development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for our Dragon Finder project to promote reptiles, amphibians and their habitats in London.

London Living Waters would not have been so successful without the help of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Biffawards, the SITA Trust, Grantscape, The Veolia Environmental Trust, Cory Environmental Trust in Britain and the Million Ponds Project as well as all the borough councils we have worked with.

Thank you!

All photos by Rebecca Turpin and Alex Draper

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