On Saturday Risley Moss Action Group (RIMAG) hosted an event entitled Wildlife Wonders at Birchwood Shopping Centre’s Micro Park.
Organiser Paul Speake, RIMAG chair, said “It was a lovely warm sunny day. We invited eight partner groups to take part to help raise awareness of Birchwood’s natural environment and wildlife.
“We had experts as well as enthusiasts to answer questions, give out free leaflets and activities for the young along with wild birds of prey on display.”
The wildlife partners taking part included Carbon Landscape Partnership, Warrington Nature Conservation Forum, Friends of Gorse Covert Mounds, Friends of Birchwood Forest Park, Friends of the Walled Garden, Birchwood Plant and Seed Swap, Birchwood Hedgehog Rescue and Wild Wings of Prey.
The unpredictability of British weather produced a few gusts of wind around midday. The first casualty was the Hedgehog Rescue gazebo that was blown over and had to be dismantled. Ironically hedgehogs are an endangered species, but it was the lovely hand-made ones that needed to be rescued. They were available for adoption at £5. The second gust hit the next-door Friends of Gorse Covert gazebo where Jill’s frog dip game was being enjoyed. The frogs took fright and dived below the water line.
Jenny Griggs Carbon Landscapes – Community Engagement Co-ordinatorsaid, “No sooner had we rescued the hogs our gazebo flipped over backwards. We realised that the best way to stabilize it was remove the sides because they were acting like sails and carried on without incident.
“We were very grateful to Birchwood staff and Nigel Balding for their prompt help in the recovering the gazebo. I noticed the two girls who had been working on a Carbon Landscape activity, hadn’t moved inch. They’d been so engrossed in colouring and carried on for a long time.”
Geoff Settle, Warrington Nature Conservation Forum (WNCF) chair said, “We were sharing Jenny’s gazebo and our identification leaflets and books were scattered. The books are written by Rob Smith, local author and ecologist, about the birds and amphibians of Risley Moss.”
Rob is selling his books and donating the proceeds to a RIMAG fund that will go towards the costs of a replacement for the Observation Tower that was burnt down. A model of the replacement was on display at the RIMAG table.
Paul concluded by saying that “We are very grateful that Birchwood Shopping Centre for letting us use the Micro Park. It is a lovely outdoor space with play facilities and picnic tables.
“We are pleased to have achieved our main objective of raising people’s awareness about the variety of wildlife in Birchwood and how to get involved.
“It was great to see Jenny Griggs from the Carbon Landscape Partnership. All the groups here today have an association with the project that extends from Wigan to Warrington. It incorporates the Pestfurlong and Risley Mosses as well as Rixton Clay Pits, Woolston Eyes and Paddington Meadows. You can discover more by going to their web site https://carbonlandscape.org.uk/ .”