To celebrate the one-year anniversary of climate activist Greta Thunberg’s visit to Bristol, this weekend the Bristol and Bath Parks Foundation are announcing their Rewilding Project for the enhancement of nature at College Green. These plans are only possible because of the £15,575 raised by the public after the Fridays for Future demonstration. The Bristol and Bath Parks Foundation became custodians of this fund, which is now being brought to life in partnership with Bristol Cathedral, Avon Wildlife Trust, Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate and Bristol City Council.
College Green’s lawn was successfully reseeded over the last spring, so now the foundation plan to roll out their phased approach for further improving the green space. Working within the spring and winter planting seasons, their plan will encourage pollinating insects to thrive and plant life to absorb carbon emissions in the centre of the city.
Phase one, which will be initiated in April, involves creating seven wildflower meadows on a patch of rarely used lawn adjoining Bristol Cathedral. The meadows will be a planted with a mix of plant plugs from the Avon Wildlife Trust’s wildflower nursery and quick growing meadow turf. We can expect the meadows to flower two to three months after planting and offer colourful seasonal displays.
An information board explaining the importance of the meadows will be written and designed by Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate, the youth-led organisation who arranged Greta Thunberg’s visit to Bristol last year. The site will continue to be maintained by the council with support from local volunteers. Further plans for phase one include planting a native hedgerow, bulbs and flowering trees in the autumn months.
The council is proud to be part of the work being undertaken, after declaring an Ecological Emergency last year in response to the escalating threats to wildlife and our ecosystems. While the coronavirus pandemic has rightly dominated the local and national conversation, the threat to the species which inhabit Bristol hasn’t gone away. In addition, the benefits of a sustainable, nature-rich city to the everyday lives of Bristolians are undeniable after the events of a year which has seen most people with even more time to enjoy Bristol’s many parks and green spaces. This project demonstrates that all of us – from individuals to large city organisations – can take effective actions which protect both people and planet.