We love national nature days - they highlight many important things that we often take for granted and are relevant right here around Bartley Reservoir. This quarter we look at National Meadow Day, Love Parks Week, and World Nature Conservation Day.
National Meadow Day: July 1st, 2023.
It's National Meadow Day on July 1st, and we have three of the best right here alongside the reservoir. It blooms between June-August so be sure to take a walk through Bartley Meadows, located between the Picnic Area on Scotland Lane and the Sailing Club. Simon Needle, the Principal Arboriculturist and Ecologist for Birmingham City Council, used to manage this area as a Park Ranger and reports that the Meadows derive from the area’s agriculture past as farm and pasture land.
A council wide ecology assessment of all Birmingham’s assets in the early 90’s designated the area a Potential Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, and advised that the area would benefit from increased biodiversity, and so the council focused its efforts to improve and maintain the grassland that is now the meadows. This was the same report that designated Bromwich Wood as a Local Nature Reserve and other areas around the reservoir as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCS).
The council now receive a Higher-Level Stewardship Grant from central government to improve and maintain the meadows which is done by the Woodgate Valley Rangers and Parks Team, who also mow pathways through and around the edges of the meadows throughout the spring and summer months. As there are no longer any grazing livestock, the grant pays for a harvester to come to cut the hay that is left after the summer, where it is then donated to the local Urban Farm at Woodgate Valley Country Park.
The meadows have put on a great display this year! The meadows include Goats Beard, Yellow Rattle, and Ribwort Plantain, buttercups, and ox-eye daises to name a few. Take a walk and see what else can you identify there? There is one common orchid that grows in the field each year – can you find it? The display is usually best in July, and then in August the grasses grow tall, brown off, and tinges the entire surface with a purple haze around sunset. Help our flora data collecting by downloading the iNaturalist App to take pictures, identify species, and contribute to our data collection.
Love Park Week: 28th July-6th August 2023.
In association with Keep Britain Tidy is Love Parks Week. Parks matter to us all and their annual campaign celebrates parks, green spaces, and the dedicated volunteers and workers that look after them all year round. These vibrant, living spaces bring communities together and provide an opportunity to connect with nature in the heart of our cities, towns, and neighbourhoods, and that is certainly what we are trying to do here with Bartley Reservoir.
So join in this Love Parks week, to celebrate the reservoir, and support to make sure it is cherished, and accessible for all to enjoy. By using and celebrating the reservoir's green spaces, you are helping us to protect them for future generations.
World Nature Conservation Day: 28th July 2023.
World Nature Conservation Day is observed annually on 28th of July to remind us about the importance of nature and the need to protect it. This day stresses the need for preserving a healthy environment and natural resources to maintain a stable and healthy society. Saving plants and animals that face the threat of extinction is one of the primary goals of World Nature Conservation Day.
We at FOBR are beginning a programme of recording wildlife, habitats, and flora around the reservoir to catalogue the importance of the area and hopefully protect it from any future development. We know that there are sightings of bird species on the endangered list, as well as badgers, but we need to record and learn more about what else is there, particularly on the south and west of the reservoir. On August 12th we kick off with a 'Bio Blitz' event conducting butterfly walks, bat walks, bird walks, moth catching, and bug hunting. Come along and be part of this conservation effort in your local area.