Wildlife garden blog


Lee Valley Summer Wildlife Carnival 15th September 2012

posted 22 Oct 2012, 07:29 by WildPlace YourSpace   [ updated 8 Nov 2012, 02:06 ]

More than 1,500 people came to enjoy the Lee Valley Summer Wildlife Carnival, including Waltham Forest Mayor Richard Sweden, who arrived on his bicycle to cut a traditional red ribbon, officially opening the community wildlife garden at the WaterWorks nature reserve in Leyton.  


The Mayor said: “Conserving and encouraging wildlife in the city is so important and I am grateful to everyone who has worked so hard on the Wild Place Your Space project.  I am sure it will give pleasure to everyone who visits it for many years to come.”


The day included, animal mask salsa drummers, steel pan performers, bird costumes, a harpist, traditional Turkish folk dancers, a giant dragonfly earth sculpture, a massive liviing willow dome, facepainters, pond dipping, minibeasts, ballons, freebies, delicious food and hosts of local community groups who all contributed with music, colour, movement and food to mark the official opening of the WaterWorks nature reserve’s new Community Wildlife Garden.


Visitors listened to the hidden talents of one of our volunteers, Anna Skodbo, harpist and fashion designer performing live in the living willow dome, and had an opportunity to watch young people from the Alevi Cultural Centre and Cemevi performing the Semah dance, accompanied by traditional musicians. 


The Lee Valley Summer Wildlife Carnival highlighted the successes of the Wild Place, Your Space project and was an opportunity for our partners, funders and our special guests to join in the fun and celebrations.


The Wild Place, Your Space team would like to thank the following individuals, groups and organisations for their contribution in making the Lee Valley Summer Wildlife Carnival such a great success.


  • Wesley Kerr, Heritage Lottery Fund
  • Stephen Wilkinson, LVRPA
  • Chris Corrigan, RSPB
  • Jean Lambert, Green Party MEP
  • Rhythms of Resistance, Salsa Band
  • The Alevi Cultural Centre and Cemevi
  • Lee Valley Park Events Team
  • Lee Valley Park Youth and Schools team
  • Lee Valley Park Biodiversity team
  • RSPB London and South East England teams
  • The Conservation Volunteers (TCV)
  • Waltham Forest Asian Mother Group
  • Noor Ul Islam
  • Active Change Foundation
  • The Huddleston Trust
  • The Herbal Ladies
  • Pantonic Steel Orchestra from Hackney
  • Oval
  • The Bumblebee Conservation Trust
  • Union Hand Roasted Coffee
  • The Alevi Cultural Centre and Cemevi  
  • The Challenge Network
  • The 45 Wild Place Your Space volunteers helping at the Summer Wildlife Carnival
  • Since May 2011, 350 volunteers have contributed in creating the community wildlife garden.

New dragonfly earth sculpture completed

posted 17 Oct 2012, 07:18 by WildPlace YourSpace   [ updated 18 Oct 2012, 08:58 ]

More cob mixture is created by volunteers by mixing clay soil, water and straw together, Click here to see a video of how to make your own. Its a messy job but it is important to cover the dragonfly earth sculpture before grass turf is layed on top and before the hot dry weather comes.
Chris, volunteers and Joe, one of the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority rangers help to finish off the final stages of applying the cob mixture and cutting the lawn reinforcement material for the tops of the wings.
After soaking the dragonfly earth sculpture with over 300 litres of water, volunteers help to cut and install the grass turf and turf reinforcement materials. Now just for the head.
Our fantsatic artist Lucy Smith prepares the head of the giant dragonfly and carefully adds each colourful tile to create its beautiful eyes.
It has taken 28 volunteers, 2 staff, 1 artist, 32 school children, 100 recycled coffee sacks, 3 bales of straw, 20 tonnes of soil, and over 6 months to complete the Dragonfly Earth Sculpture at the WaterWorks Nature Reserve, so come to the beautiful garden and see it for yourself. Well done to everyone involved!


Tamil Relief Centre visit Myddelton House Gardens

posted 31 Aug 2012, 08:32 by WildPlace YourSpace   [ updated 22 Oct 2012, 10:16 ]

Members of the Tamil Relief Centre in Enfield visited the Lee Valley Park's Myddelton House Gardens to explore the beautiful gardens and have a picnic in the sunshine.
Myddelton House Gardens has lots to offer communities and its free to visit. The group really enjoyed discovering the wildflower meadow and feeding the fish in the pond.

London Gyspy and Traveller Young people have fun looking for butterflies

posted 31 Aug 2012, 08:03 by WildPlace YourSpace   [ updated 20 Sept 2012, 05:08 ]

Young people from the London Gyspy and Traveller Unit joined us to discover nature close to where they live, by counting butterflies at the WaterWorks Nature Reserve.
The group explored the even more wildlife at the WaterWorks nature reserve and took part in a black berry picking competition.
Lorraine Sweeney from the London Gyspy and Traveller Unit told us;
"Thank you for a wonderful day of outdoor nature activity.  The children and workers all had a great time.  The activities were well organised and fun with an educational aspect all rolled in to one, fantastic! 
The children gained a lot, it will be a lasting memory for years to come.   On the journey home they were all trying to remember the names of birds and butterflies."

Volunteers take the plunge making a clay and straw mix for the dragonfly earth sculpture

posted 24 Aug 2012, 08:22 by WildPlace YourSpace   [ updated 29 Aug 2012, 02:47 ]

Wild Place Your Space volunteers get stuck in mixing the clay for the next stage of the dragonfly earth sculpture.
Lots of hard work has gone into making the dragonfly earth sculpture and after completing the wings volunteers have finished off the thorax and the main body.

In Carnival spirit children from the Waltham Forest Asian Mother's Group get creative making minibeasts!

posted 2 Aug 2012, 02:21 by WildPlace YourSpace   [ updated 24 Aug 2012, 09:22 ]

Young people from the Waltham Forest Asian Mothers Group get into the carnival spirit, helping to get the garden ready for the 15th September Lee Valley Summer Wildlife Carnival with some great minibeasts.

Dragonfly earth sculpture begins to take shape

posted 1 Aug 2012, 07:31 by WildPlace YourSpace   [ updated 24 Aug 2012, 06:40 ]


Sunday 29th July 2012
Wild Place Your Space volunteers continued to work on building the dragonfly earth sculpture, which is now beginning to take shape.
The first challenge of the day was to find a new home for a family of Smooth Newts discovered by one of our volunteers Nico, who ensured they were safely transported to the wildlife pond area.
Next the team had to pack soil into the coffee sacks, kindly donated by Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, and position them ready to be compacted down to create a supportive base for the structure of the dragonfly wings.


Union Hand-Roasted Coffee are thrilled to be involved with the Wild Place, Your Space project, as they work sustainably and directly with many small-scale coffee producers. An example of some of their work is the Barretto Croce family in Brazil, who grow some of their Brazil coffee and farm their land to provide overwintering habitat for the migratory 'bobo-link' bird. Click on the link above for further infomation.

At the end of a long day the team relax and enjoy the progress made, well done to everyone.  

Giant Dragonfly Earth Sculpture - construction begins

posted 30 Jul 2012, 05:58 by WildPlace YourSpace   [ updated 1 Aug 2012, 07:21 ]

With a beautiful blue sky and lots of sunshine, volunteers from Wild Place, Your Space and the Alevi Cultural Centre & Cemevi joined together on Saturday 28th July 2012 to begin building a giant dragonfly earth sculpture at the WaterWorks Nature Reserve wildlife garden
The designer and artist Lucy Smith worked with volunteers and Wild Place Your Space staff to begin transporting our coffee sacks kindly donated by Union Hand Roasted Coffee in Canning Town.
First job of the day involved marking out the dragonfly outline and accurately measuring the dimensions and angles, based on Lucy Smith's design, inspired by children from South Grove Primary School.
Children used the WaterWorks nature reserve community wildlife garden for discovering wildlife to inspire their designs for the earth sculpture back in May 2012.

British Red Cross - womens group visit the Lee Valley Riding Centre and enjoy a picnic in the Community Wildlife Garden

posted 30 Jul 2012, 04:55 by WildPlace YourSpace   [ updated 31 Jul 2012, 08:57 ]

Wild Place Your Space organised an outreach session at the WaterWorks Nature Reserve with the British Red Cross womens' refugee support group.   Women and their children enjoyed a visit to see the horses at the Lee Valley Riding Centre, shared lots of delicious picnic food and made their own decorated willow head pieces to take home.
The horses were big hit for the group and everyone got the chance to see the horses up close and personal, includinig Whisper pictured below.
The WaterWorks Nature Reserve is a wonderful place to have a picnic with friends and family away from the busy city yet so close to where people live.  The group had a chance to relax and enjoy the activities in our community wildlife garden.

Willow dome created and chalk meadow prepared

posted 29 Apr 2012, 14:42 by WildPlace YourSpace

Saturday 28th April and another fantastic day in the wildlife garden: our dedicated Wild Place, Your Space volunteers were joined by an enthusiastic team helpers from Citi Group for a wet but very successful day.

Joana, Goncales, Edwina and Matthew removed the top layer from the remaining area of the chalk meadow - really tough work! The meadow is now ready for sowing with chalk loving wild flowers to attract different kinds of wildlife into the garden.

In the meantime, the Citi team got started on the last 3 willow arches, tying their newly learnt knots as they went! The first arch was soon ready to put into position.

Getting the arches into position was a tricky job, with both teams helping make sure the whole thing went as smoothly as possible.

All in all, a fantastic day! Great team work and some more wonderful results for the wildlife garden.

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