TRY your hand at minibeast hunting, herb tasting, seed-sowing and twig art at a free nature day taking place in Leicester this Saturday (July 23).
Family-friendly nature activities, talks and demonstrations will be on offer as part of Saffron Wild – a fun day designed to help local people learn more about the nature on their doorstep.
The event takes place from 10am-1pm at Saffron Heath, on Heathcott Road, close to Aylestone Recreation Ground. It has been organised by a local community group, Knighton Wild, with support from Leicester City Council and the Saffron Lane Neighbourhood Council.
The day will include talks and demonstrations about all kinds of creatures, including moths and butterflies, birds, honey bees, pond life and nocturnal animals, featuring footage filmed on-site with sensor cameras. Activities including painting, minibeast hunting and twig art will all be free, with free tea, coffee and squash also available.
There’s also the chance to take part in an on-site ‘Bioblitz’, where members of the public are asked to record as many different kinds of plants, bugs, birds and animals as they can, in one place, in 24 hours. This is a valuable way to learn about the ecology of a site, with the results uploaded to a national database, contributing to scientific understanding of local ecology. Magnifying glasses, ID charts and expert help will be provided.
Deputy city mayor for environment and transport, Cllr Adam Clarke, said: “This event is part of the Saving Saffron Brook project, a city-council led partnership aimed at improving ecology along the length of the Saffron Brook, also known as the Wash Brook.
“In many places, the brook is flanked by concrete. It’s an important waterway that is also part of the city’s flood defences, but we want to give nature more of a chance to flourish along the banks of the brook. Projects like these are vital to protect our city against the impacts of climate change.
“We’re working with lots of local groups and volunteers to restore natural habitats along the brook in Oadby, Knighton and the Saffron Lane area. Volunteering opportunities, school sessions and community events like this one are running alongside the ecological work as part of the project. It’s a great chance to find out more about the nature on your doorstep – as well as a welcome, free opportunity to entertain the kids during the summer holidays.”
The event is talking place at Saffron Heath, a six-acre, mixed habitat site managed by the Saffron Lane Neighbourhood Council, accessed via metal gates on the corner of Heathcott Road. The heath is a community nature reserve which groups can book to use for ecological education projects. Parking is limited at the site, so visitors are asked to walk or cycle if they can.
Saving the Saffron Brook is a partnership project led by Leicester City Council with the Trent Rivers Trust, Oadby & Wigston Borough Council, local groups and organisations. Funding is from the Government’s DEFRA Green Recovery Challenge Fund.
To find out more, visit the city council’s biodiversity web pages here: https://bit.ly/3IPPdn7
Find out more about Knighton Wild at https://knightonwild.org.uk/ and Saffron Health at https://srcentre.org.uk/our-projects/saffron-heath/