The award-winning wildlife garden is a quiet and secluded haven for all visitors and residents - breeding and migrating birds, amphibians, mammals (including humans!), a wide range of insects and other invertebrates.
It is used by local schools for environmental education and by the wider community for general recreation, celebration days, open evenings and weekends.
The half-acre wildlife garden at the rear of the Roots and Shoots site is a truly unique open space in Central London. With the main part of the site (including gardens, barn, greenhouses, raised beds, the Learning Centre and another half acre of public open space) it combines an excellent list of insect species and good numbers of breeding and migrating birds with education and accessibility for schools and the general public.
Its secluded location - surrounded on three sides by private housing and on the fourth by the main training area of Roots and Shoots - makes it a peaceful haven for wildlife and people within sight of the House of Commons and the sound of Big Ben. It is an exciting and accessible space for both children and adults whilst maintaining safety and wildlife value. The accompanying Wildlife Garden Study centre is currently being rebuilt and will open in early 2016 as the Natural Roots Building.
The new Natural Roots Building will replace the old Wildlife Garden Study Centre from April/May 2016. On the same 'footprint' as the old building, with similar proportions to keep it 'wee-wooden-house-looking' it will be more flexible than the old building with well considered exhibition and projection spaces and a sensible office for the gardens manager. New features are a 'display window' for when the building is closed or booked by a party, a 'video window' for running the latest short videos/slide shows of life in the gardens and a verandah for a hammock and a guitar (south facing but now with shade too!). The verandah will also be an excellent outdoor teaching space to use alongside the new greenhouse and raised beds that will be put in place alongside the Natural Roots Building from April 2016. Click on the first image below to see the page from this year's Annual Review about the centre (though the cladding is different - it now has very beautiful cedar planking on roof and walls).
Inside there will also a be a wood-burning stove so that evening events in the winter period can be made very attractive. The idea of the building is that if a party is not using it for booking casual visitors can move in, look at displays, then out the other side to the oak barn and finally into the Wildlife Garden. There will be a small wildlife library. It will also be of great benefit for volunteers to relax and have tea - the office also contains a mini-kitchen.
The new building willl need more than just one post to keep it in full use and make the most of it so we are putting togther a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a 'Food Heritage and Biodiversity Worker' (spring 2016).