Nature isn’t Neat is a project that aims to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators, the actions that we can all take to support them, and how these can have a positive impact on other important issues such as reducing the decline in other wildlife and mitigating the impacts of climate change. The project was initially piloted in Monmouth and funded through the Welsh Government Rural Communities fund under the LEADER measure of the Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020 and has slowly been expanding to other areas of the county.
A key element part of the work of Nature Isn’t Neat has been changing the way the County Council manages its grassland on verges, open spaces and parks to create space for nature. We have been very encouraged by public support for the changes we have made to our grass mowing, and the appearance of many more wild flowers during the spring and summer of 2020.
The lessons learned from the pilot, and during 2020 led to a successful bid to the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Welsh Government for a grant that has enabled us to buy special ‘cut and collect’ machinery capable of cutting longer grass and removing the grass cuttings. This means we can manage our grassland more effectively and where appropriate increase this type of management.
The funding is also enabling us to work with more schools and community groups to explain what we are doing, and why it is important to make space for nature. To keep up to date with the project, please like our Facebook page or follow our Twitter feed.
We would really like feedback from local people, and encourage everyone to fill in this survey. (LINK) We want your thoughts on changes in management of green spaces, as we appreciate it affects the way that they look and the way that people can use them. There is a survey for adults and one for children and young people
In Monmouth a dozen volunteers have started to monitor specific green spaces counting the flowers and pollinators that appear in a 1 metre square. We would like more volunteers to help to measure the impact of changes to cutting elsewhere in Monmouthshire, as it will help us to understand if it is providing more flowers for pollinators and other changes to green spaces that benefit a variety of wildlife. If you want to get involved, please contact us – it involves visiting the same place once a month and counting flowers and insects for 10 minutes. Volunteers do not have to be experts or have any special knowledge. A video and instructions are available for prospective volunteers.
One of Nature Isn’t Neat pilot project objectives is to work with the grounds maintenance crews who manage open spaces and verges.
To do this we held a workshop with the crews to discuss what Nature Isn’t Neat aimed to do and how their working practices would be changing to improve the management of grassed areas.
- Nature Isn’t Neat Training Manual
- Welsh Government Action plan for pollinators
- Monmouth Pollinators and foodplants booklet
- Pollinator plants through the seasons: part 1
- Pollinator plants through the seasons: part 2
- Monmouth pollinator project pocket map
Thank you taking part and please send your comments and photos we would love to see them. And please spread the word about this project we need as many people as possible to help start making the changes.