The crystal clear waters of our chalk streams support an abundance of life, from water voles and brown trout to kingfishers and damselflies. These important habitats are precious to us, and with the value of the natural environment being recognised now more than ever before, we need to make sure our green spaces are treated with care and stay healthy.
By providing children with opportunities to have fun and unforgettable experiences discovering the outdoors and getting involved in their local green spaces, they gain a hands-on connection with nature and a much better understanding of the environment. If we can expand their educational experiences so they value wildlife today, they will protect it tomorrow.
In June children from Cheriton Primary School once again joined the Cheriton Conservation Volunteer Group in increasing the biodiversity along the edge of the Cheriton Stream by planting wildflowers.
The conservation volunteers have been planting wildflowers along the stream since 2017. Planting in the stream margins provides shelter for fish fry and waterfowl whilst allowing wildlife to move more freely between land and water, while all the plants provide much needed food for caterpillars and pollinators and add to the charm of the stream.
The children excitedly added buttercups, cuckoo flower, valerian, small scabious, meadow crane’s-bill and purple loosestrife to the ragged robin, viper's bugloss, devil's-bit scabious, and bird's-foot trefoil which were planted last time and have been growing well.
The wildflowers were once again kindly provided by Cheriton-based business Butterfly Cottage Garden Plants.
Adding beautiful blooms to the stream is just one initiative of the Watercress and Winterbournes Landscape Partnership Scheme. This five year endeavour brings together 16 partners and support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to protect, enhance and celebrate seven local chalk streams that together make up the headwaters of the rivers Itchen and Test.
Hopefully occasions for the children to engage with the conservation volunteers will continue to arise, whilst the schemes education programme will provide more opportunities for them to discover, explore and learn about their local chalk stream.
To find out more about the scheme click here