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‘Tis the Season for Boosting Nature

Our Boosting Nature project supports adults with Learning Disabilities to increase not only their physical and mental well-being but also their knowledge and understanding of the natural world by participating in environmental projects in and around Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.

From visits to the Kymin and managing meadows to writing a Letter to Tomorrow and visiting the Frozen Ark event. We have had an exciting month and we cannot wait to see what 2023 brings.

Visiting The Kymin

One particular community project Boosting Nature has been involved in is The Kymin in Penarth. Gwyrddio Penarth Greening project established the Penarth Growing Community to encourage and establish community growing and wildlife gardens in public areas across Penarth.

The Kymin is a wonderful location looking over the Bristol Channel. There are plenty of quiet spaces for the participants to meditate and reflect. This has led many to comment that attending is good for them, both emotionally and physically.

Many volunteers now take their family and friends there too. They feel passionate about the garden and feel a deep sense of fulfilment in actively participating in its development. 

Some of our Boosting Nature volunteers live in or near Penarth. By teaming up with Penarth Growing Community, we have found opportunities to enhance participants’ contacts with their community. 

In addition, we have been supporting a group to volunteer every month at this valuable community garden and space. Their involvement has provided a sense of belonging and of giving something back. Volunteering has allowed them to help plant up the orchard with some local heritage apples, pears and plums. 

Managing meadows

We also learnt about meadow management and food forests and how to plant them. By planting yarrow, comfrey, lavender, and honeysuckle in a layered system – as you would find in a guild in a forest – we hope to attract more pollinators and other insects, suppress weeds, improve soil condition, and increase nutrient levels.

For the most part, we spend our time between Forest Farm Country Park, Cosmeston Lakes, Porthkerry Country Park, Llandough Health Meadow, and Diana Gardens. Some examples of the work carried out are: 

  • Clearing overgrown brambles and cutting back trees to allow for more light and new growth
  • Clearing/creating new areas for pollinator-friendly planting
  • Clearing reed beds to encourage the return of native nesting birds 
  • Hay-raking to encourage wildflower growth.

A Letter to Tomorrow

In support of the Great Big Green Week at the beginning of October, our Boosting Nature participants had the opportunity to discuss the environment, biodiversity and the climate. Together, they wrote a Letter to Tomorrow. The letter aimed to persuade politicians to provide better opportunities for adults with Learning Disabilities to garden more, for better and greater rewilding, and also more protection for wildlife and their habitats. 

Visiting the Frozen Ark project

One of our most popular one-off events was in partnership with Cardiff University as part of their Frozen Ark project the project is a collaborative global effort to safeguard the DNA, tissue and viable cells of the world’s endangered animals. Cardiff University ran an accessible session for our participants where they could learn more about endangered species. We also got to try extracting DNA from a strawberry! This session was very different. It allowed participants to learn about environmental conservation on a global scale, not just in relation to their local area.

We continue to plan new and exciting one-off events for the New Year. We can not wait to share our exciting adventures and activities with you all soon!

Merry Christmas!

Nadolig Llawen!

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