After months of anticipation and hard work, we’re delighted to announce the opening of our exciting new wildlife garden. Based at the home of WWF-UK in Woking, the garden forms part of WWF’s learning experience for schools and youth groups, as well as being a place for members of the local community and staff to visit and enjoy.
The idea for a garden was born in 2014 during a workshop with the Schools & Youth team and some key individuals; Kate MacRae (AKA Wildlife Kate who has appeared on Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Gardeners World), Louise Moreton a teacher from Wicor Primary School in Fareham, and Christiane Dorion who works with us as an education consultant. These key WWF supporters have played a vital part in making our garden a reality.
Developed by Twigs Landscape Design, the garden features an apothecary corner, a woodland area and a wetland. Situated right next to the diverse habitat of the historic Basingstoke Canal – the site also features specially commissioned community-built installations and beautiful planting schemes – created to attract a wide array of local wildlife!
It’s really exciting to think that what was a disused plot of land full of weeds and rusty old cans has now been transformed into a wildlife haven, providing an excellent opportunity for hands-on learning for our young visitors at WWF.
As part of our Schools & Youth experience we’ve also introduced a new Wildlife Explorers workshop that will take children on an exciting discovery trail around the garden. Armed with clipboards, spotting sheets and magnifying glasses they’ll have great fun discovering the plants and animals making their homes around the Living Planet Centre.
Back in our Learning Zone, they’ll be encouraged to ‘Build a habitat for Wildlife’ and create their own ecosystem where plants and animals thrive, or play the ‘Flower Challenge game’ which introduces the life cycle of plants and the many tricks flowers use to attract pollinators.
Young children are always inspired by the natural world and our workshops provide a fun, engaging way for them to learn about nature and how everything around us is connected – habitats, plants, animals and people. We’re really proud of our garden and the way it showcases how we can encourage wildlife and support biodiversity in urban areas – even on the smallest patch of land.
In our work here at WWF we aim to encourage young people to explore the natural world, develop their understanding of sustainability issues and consider actions they can take to help protect the environment. Having the wildlife garden as part of that learning experience is a real asset and we hope that young people visiting us will be inspired!
Our Schools and Youth programme and family activities have established the Living Planet Centre as a venue for quality learning and engagement experiences, and WWF-UK as a valued member of the local community. Since opening to the public in February 2014 we’ve welcomed over 16,000 participants to our workshops.