Project name: Prince of Wales Wetlands Tree Planting
Amount awarded: £20,000
Number of volunteers: 27 adults and 160 children
Number of beneficiaries: 800
The Prince of Wales Wetlands Project, run by the Borough of Enfield, aims to create a series of wetlands and habitats to enhance biodiversity, create flood storage and increase usage of the park by the local community.
Prince of Wales Open Space is a public park in Enfield Lock. The area is at risk of flooding from three surrounding rivers – the Lee Navigation, Turkey Brook and Small River Lee. The Open Space has the potential to store flood waters as a wetland, improve water quality of the Turkey Brook, introduce different wetland habitats and improve public knowledge of wetlands and sustainable urban drainage systems.
The Year 6 classes at the local primary school have a keen interest in the project, as the children have been involved for the past 3 years. They made suggestions for the design (which included leopards and sharks!); were part of the archaeological excavation, where a mammoth tooth and a 10,000 year old tree were discovered; and they have learnt a great deal about wetlands in the process, presenting their accumulated knowledge at a World Wetlands Day Celebration on 2 February 2018. Reconnecting the children to the natural environment and seeing the smiles on their faces are some of the favourite moments of the project leaders - especially as many of the children had never planted a tree before and not spent much time outside.
“More families will come together, the environment will be better, we are going to plan a wetlands festival in the summer and people can come and be together” – project participant (aged 10)
The Greener City Fund Community Tree Planting grant scheme has awarded funds of £20,000 for the planting of 40 heavy-duty trees, to add to 1,000 whips (small tree saplings) funded by the Borough of EnfieldThere have been 5 community planting sessions so far. Many different species of trees have been planted, including alder, field maple, poplar (white, black and aspen), birch (downy and silver), cherry (wild and bird), hazel, lime (common, large and small leaved), sak, rowan, black poplar and willow (grey, white, goat, crack and viminalis).
The Borough of Enfield have partnered with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust to deliver this project. In addition to the Greener City Fund grant and £80,000 of funding from Enfield Council they have secured £90,000 from the Thames Water Community Investments Fund.
“It is great to have a project that tackles multiple environmental issues and natural habitats. And having kids learning about wildlife in wetlands, gives them a desire to help with projects like this in the future and make our country more diverse. It is important to get people to understand more why we do this.” - Ian, project engineer
Throughout the planning and delivery of the project the Borough of Enfield have made sure to communicate and engage with the community and they recommend any similar projects do the same. They found that once people were informed about what they were doing and were invited to consultation meetings, they were more than happy to get on board and help with the project. They have also found that the further along they get with the project, the more interest there is in volunteering by members of the local community.
The project aims to create a friends group for the park, with project champions to assist in the after-care of the site. Enfield’s Parks Operations team will carry out future maintenance alongside volunteers from the friends group. Such works include: litter picking, vegetation management and cutting the wetland basins.
Participants are excited to see the results of planting when spring/summer comes. The children would like to host an event to teach the “grown-ups” all about wetlands.