BEES Urban Nature Reserve

Marsh marigold

BEES have created a small nature reserve on land rented from the University on the Laisteridge lane campus. The Reserve began life in 1990 and although it has seen several changes over the years, it still offers a wonderful space for wildlife near the city centre. It consists of two medium sized ponds, an area of trees and wildflower rich grassland. The ponds host a large population of Brown Hawker dragonflies and several species of damselfly. Birds regularly seen include goldfinch, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, blackbirds and thrushes.

Our priorities for managment this autumn are to remove some of the submerged and marginal vegetation to allow more open water. Unfortunately we have New Zealand Pygmy weed, an invasive non-native plant, in the pond which needs controlling. We will also manage the trees to allow more sunlight into the pond.

The Reserve offers a great opportunity for our conservation volunteer group and for local schools to visit for environmental education sessions which compliment the classroom curriculum.

See the gallery of photos.

 

Location

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Task List - BEES UNR

Friday 1st November 2013 BEES Urban Nature Reserve, University Campus, Laisteridge Lane, Bradford, BD5

More pond management was required today this time at the Urban Nature Reserve. We worked in both ponds and our aim was to remove the less beneficial plants like bog bean and water soldier. This will give the more beneficial plants like soft rush, lily, water mint and purple loosestrife a chance to develop. These are more beneficial to the aquatic insects. Plus remove some of the fallen leaves from the trees which reduce the oxygen in the water and cause the pond to silt up as they decompose.
Whilst this was underway others were removing the brash from the pruned Beech trees to create more useful habitat piles. Also, digging up the variegated archangel and replacing it with woodland flora like the red campion which gave an impressive display this year. The grass areas were cut and raked off and in the meadow area we were able to dig out some of the persistent weeds like dock.
Thanks to Andrew who surveyed urban ponds for a university project recently, was able to show us snails, beetles and insect larva and it appears the ponds are healthy for such an urban setting, but they will still need our careful future attention.

Today we worked with 10 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 5th April 2013: BEES Urban Nature Reserve, University Campus, Laisteridge Lane, Bradford,BD5

We returned to our outdoor projects with a visit to the Urban Nature Reserve. We worked on several different areas of the site, like clearing more of the snowberry and replanting with Rowan in the woodland area. Wildflowers were planted in the woodland and the slopes around the ponds; these will provide good nectar sources for insects. Insect and mammal trapdoors were put in place around the site, pruning of the beech hedge which will allow light to the ground flora and litter removed. It was a good days’ worth of management tasks that will benefit the wildlife on the site and add to the experience of visiting groups in the coming months.
But the endless winter continues and we worked with snow on the ground, there were at least a few signs of spring appearing like flowering primrose.

Today we worked with 10 volunteers.

Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 19th October 2012: BEES Urban Nature Reserve, University Campus, Laisteridge Lane, Bradford, BD5

This is the season for pond management as it is the least disruptive time for the wildlife that lives there. And so we set about clearing the vegetation that was beginning to dominate to give the other plants and creatures a chance to thrive. This is particularly wet and dirty work as we have to get the plants by the roots which are well below the water surface. But with usual good spirits, the task was soon got under way. We had managed to clear the top pond before lunch and worked on the lower pond after lunch. We had certainly achieved what we wanted to as both ponds had areas of water with no plants that did not before. This will allow the creatures like to dragonflies to use the area and will allow for pond activities to take place in future. We also carried out some other necessary management task, like clearing fly tipping including a mattress and wardrobe, cutting the meadow and grassy areas and further reducing the snow berry in the woodland, this will allow the woodland flowers to grow like the red campion.

Following the task we held a User Forum at Culture Fusion. This gave us an opportunity to discuss the project and future developments. We were treated to tasty apply cake and fresh apple juice. Then Sue and Kat gave us a presentation of the project that they had attended in Spain which Montse had organised in the summer. It looked a really exciting project in the mountains of Catalonian, looking after the environment there.

Today we worked with 8 volunteers

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Friday 30th Mar 2012: BEES Urban Nature Reserve, University Campus, Laisteridge Lane, BD5.

Thirteen volunteers work at the Reserve today. We undertook a variety of tasks including a little bit of woodland thinning to allow more light to reach the ground flora on the bank and railway cutting. We transplanted some red campion from the woodland area to the banking.

We removed nettles from the meadow and snowberry from the woodland area. Litter was cleared from around the site and the steps and path were topped up with bark that had been donated from RG group at the new ASDA building site on Cemetery Road.

The primroses, marsh marigolds and blackthorn were in full flower. Not only did we hear a chiff chaff, which will have arrived from Africa in the last few days, but had a really good view of one. Bumble bees, honey bees and small tortoiseshell butterflies were enjoying the sun, and there was female mallard on the pond.

Friday 4th Nov 2011: BEES Urban Nature Reserve, University Campus, Laisteridge Lane, Bradford, BD5

clearing the pondclearing the pondToday 14 volunteers undertook autumn management task on our nature reserve on the University campus. We worked in both ponds to remove some of the vegetation so that we keep enough open water to suit the dragonflies. We were surprised, and delighted, to see a dragonfly patrolling the pond, probably a brown hawker.

We also cut the meadow area and raked off the vegetation to prevent a build-up in fertility. There are rather too many nettle and docks in this area but we have been waiting to see what happens with the development of this land (it is no longer officially part of our reserve) before embarking a more radical change of management.

We also cut the vegetation around the ponds and on the railway line – this involved clearing a few birch seedlings that will overshadow the wildflowers.

A couple of volunteers remained at Culture Fusion with Nick to continue the tool storage construction.

See more photos here

Friday 27th May 2011: BEES Urban Nature Reserve

Fourteen volunteers worked today on a range of tasks to get the Reserve ready for educational visits during the summer.

One of the key tasks that we aimed to do was clearing the Giant Hogweed (an invasive plant with an irritating sap). However it seems like the hard work over previous years has paid off and there were hardly any plants evident. The ones that remain are in amongst the stones and hard to dig out, but the are not growing strongly so it should be straight forward keeping them in check.

The paths were cleared and vegetation cut around the entrances and benches. It was disappointing to find two bird boxes damaged, however a third is housing a family of blue tits. The Reserve lived up to it's name - BEES UNR - there were a tremendous number of bumble bees, of several species. A chiff chaff was singing, a damselfly was spotted as well green veined-white and large white butterflies. We had a look at some of the creatures in the pond and visitors will have further opportunity to learn about the wildilfe on the reserve on July 23rd open afternoon as part of the Wildlife Wanders programme.

Unfortunelty I forgot to take any photos - I will post some at a later date.

Friday 18th February 2011: BEES Urban Nature Reserve, Laisteridge Lane, BD5

collecting littercollecting litter Today we continued with our management programme of the urban nature reserve. In the woodland area we removed some of the snowberry bush because it was spreading and so this will give the opportunity for a range of plants to grow. Some of the ash trees were thinned and this will allow more light to enter and aid the ground flora. We collected litter and removed flytipping from around the site and then laid new woodchip to the steps and pathway. Today there were 20 volunteers and all this was completed by early afternoon, this allowed some of us to visit Brackenhill ULA where we collected 18 bags of litter while others constructed an owl box. Click here to see other photos of the day.

Friday 1st October: BEES Urban Nature Reserve, Laisteridge Lane, BD5

Working in heavy rainWorking in heavy rainToday was dominated by the heavy rain that fell throughout the day. However we perserved and continued with our work schedule. This was to work in the ponds to remove the dominant plants, these were bog bean and new zealand pigmyweed. The result will be to produce open water which is required by the dragonflies. Other jobs that were carried out were the cutting and raking of the meadow areas and the removal of flytipping.

The photo is such poor quality due to the rain.

Today we worked with 15 volunteers. 

 

Friday 3rd September: Bowling Park Community Orchard and BEES Urban Nature Reserve

We continued to carry out the necessary maintenance work at these sites.

Friday 19th February 2010: BEES Urban Nature Reserve, University Campus, Laisteridge Lane, Bradford, BD5.

Today we were able to carry out a number of maintenance tasks that will make the site easier to use for visitors during the year to come. We thinned out Ash tress, by repotting seedlings which we can use on other sites, and coppicing larger ones that we will allow greater variety in time. Litter and flytipping was removed which included a suitcase and a dressing table mirror. A fallen tree was removed. Several habitats were created which we found time consuming as we wanted to create good examples. Some of the vigorous growing plants were checked to allow better access during the summer months. We also welcomed two other visitors who are keen to showcase our work, a photographer and local radio reporter.

Today we worked with 19 volunteers, including 3 other European nationalities and 2 new volunteers.

See other pictures of the day by following this link.