As a new year’s resolution, we’re planning a new community nature reserve in our area of Leicester. If we’re successful, local residents will devote a small section of their garden to nature. We’re not asking people to go large on this: think of a social distance — two metres — and then imagine a square with each side two metres long — that’s all we’re asking for. It doesn’t sound like much but, if a thousand people devoted this four metre-squared of their garden to nature, that’s equivalent to the size of a football pitch and a small nature reserve.
This is roughly how the thinking behind the Felixtowe Community Nature Reserve goes (except they’re working in units of three square yards). We are adopting their idea in our locale on the east edge of Leicester and hope to create our own Evington Community Nature Reserve — all we need is a lot of people to join in.
Each household will shortly receive a flyer describing the scheme, along with a green pledge-card for them to display in their front window. The pledge is to create a space of at least four metre-squared in their garden for nature — sounds simple and hopefully is. Those displaying the pledge card on March 1 will receive a free pack of wildflower seeds to help get them started — just in time to sow them.
If the idea appears to be catching on, as a good number of pledge cards will testify, we’ll set up web-site and, as time passes and covid restrictions are lifted (fingers and toes crossed!), we’ll set about sharing good practice and perhaps start to develop some local green spaces as part of the reserve.
As to what people might do with their ‘social distance squared’, we’ve got some initial suggestions — many of which feature elsewhere on Little Green Shoots. In this article we’re suggesting five cheap and easy ways of creating your own nature reserve.
Let part of your lawn grow long
This is easy (no mowing!), cheap (free!) and rewarding. Just allow your grass to grow and, only a few weeks later, have fun identifying some of the wild plants and flowers you never knew you had. All manner of wildlife will pay your lawn a visit. We’ve seen grasshoppers, frogs and goldfinches and many more… (!). There are pros and cons — I cover these in another article here.