A Walk on the Wild Side
Frank reports..... The first post pandemic vocational visit , organised by Chris Birch on 16th July, took a party of 13 for a guided tour of St Nicks, a 24 acre nature resecrve site less than a mile from the City centre which claims to be the green heart of York - a centre for nature and green living.
The charity started as ‘Friends of St Nicholas Fields’ in the 1990s by transforming a former landfill site into a thriving Local Nature Reserve. In May 2002 a party of 20 rotarians had visited the site and Graham Wilford recalls you could then see right across the site, tracks had just been established and planting was underway – very different to the wildflower meadows and mixed native woodland today and accessible to all.
Ivanah , our very knowledgable and enthusiastic guide explained how the site had developed over the years and last year achieved a milestone – 1,041 different species of flora and fauna now recorded. That’s quite an achievement for an ex-landfill site!
Since that time the renamed Charity St Nicks has also significantly expanded its aspirations with its vision to encourage York to be a city where people value wildlife, the environment and each other equally to sustain a rich and healthy life for all.
They have an impressive track record and encourage and support local groups to improve their own green spaces at 20 locations across the city. Pre pandemic they had over 240 regular volunteers and around 800 children engaged in environment educational activities .
Recycling Teams in the city have diverted 379 tonnes of recycling from landfill – all collected by electric vehicles and pedal powered load-bearing tricycles and the Charity has been placed in the top three in a national award for excellence in recycling and waste management.
A 5-year Ecotherapy Programme, funded by the National Lottery Community is recognised as one of the top three mental health service providers in York, and last year provided over 3,000 hours of delivery including a 40% increase in one-to-one mentoring sessions.
A very informative and enlightening morning - amazing what you can learn in 90 minutes about the active committed people and positive achievements in our community.