Twenty six students from the University of Cumbria joined forces with Cumbria Wildlife Trust earlier this autumn, helping them plant wildflowers in a meadow in Hartley in the Eden Valley.
This is the sixth year running that first year conservation undergraduates at the University of Cumbria have assisted with planting wildflowers in this area of Cumbria. This year the students were planting on John Strutt Conservation Foundation land at Hartley, near Kirkby Stephen. Christa Nelson, Grassland Conservation Officer from Cumbria Wildlife Trust, explains why this work is so important:
“Hay meadows have been in serious decline nationally since the 1950s and this is just one of several projects we are running at the Trust, to restore them. Hay meadows are important not just for the plants they support, but they can provide habitats for many different animals, including the brown hare, insects such as the great yellow bumble bee, and birds such as skylark, curlew, lapwing and twite.”
She continues: “Our Meadow Life project helps to ensure that stunning meadows will be around for many future generations to enjoy. We are very grateful to the students who gave up their time to help us and are delighted to be working with the John Strutt Conservation Foundation.”
Dr Volker Deecke, Associate Professor of Wildlife Conservation at the University of Cumbria, said: “For our new first year students, the hay meadow planting presents a fantastic opportunity to learn about their new home in Cumbria and to experience some of its fantastic landscapes and habitats. Meeting the Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s Hay Meadows Team introduces them to some of the people dedicated to conserving Cumbria’s biodiversity and establishes links that will prove valuable for volunteering, dissertation research and student placements during their three or four years with us.”
Find out more about how Cumbria Wildlife Trust is supporting hay meadows in Cumbria at https://www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/about/what-we-do