Kettering's Love Wildlife competition
Do you have a great wildlife friendly idea for how to boost diversity in Kettering?
Our Love Wildlife competition is being run to help support nature in the town - and we need groups to get in touch.
This is a chance for local schools, organisations and community groups to share how they would like to enhance Kettering for the local wildlife.
One big prize of £1,000 is up for grabs as well as 10 smaller amounts of £200 to be awarded.
Examples of projects that could improve natural habitats for wildlife include:
• Creating small ponds or wetlands
• Planting bee-friendly flowers or herb gardens
• All-season planting to offer a year-round food supply for insects
• Planting bushes and trees for birds and nesting
• Building bug hotels
• Creating mossy areas with wet logs to encourage fungi
• Creating a hedgehog highway
Groups need to send in details of their project and include a description of what they plan to do and where, costings for the project and a deadline for completion.
Charities, CIOs, community and voluntary groups, clubs, not for profit organisations School Parent Teacher Associations, Friends of groups, religious bodies and health charities are all eligible to apply.
The cash can go towards funding programme or activity costs which are directly relevant to the application, hire or purchase of equipment for meeting project needs and technical assistance. The project must also happen within Kettering town.
Councillors will then judge the submissions according to how well they will enhance habitats for wildlife, promote biodiversity and on the wider benefit to the community.
The competition closed at midnight on Sunday 26 February and entries are now being evaluated.
Community tree planting in Kettering
There are regular tree planting events in and around Kettering. These are posted on local Facebook pages including but not limited to: Kettering Eco Group, Natural Ise, Kettering Huxloe Rotary Club and Burton Latimer Community Group. If your group is organising tree planting and you wish to be listed here, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mayor of Kettering in 2021, Scott Edwards, planted a large oak by the Ise River, and this years' Mayor, Keli Watts supported the planting of a number of trees along the hedgerow of Christ the King Church.
Community tree planting has been particularly popular with scout and brownie groups, cadets and families, but individuals old and young have been loving creating some mini forests in their area. Following the Queens Green Canopy initiative, there is so much excitement around tree planting, and so much happening in Kettering - so get involved!
Suggestions for planting in community spaces
Do you have a suggestion on where to plant trees in your area? We want to hear from you! Please email email@example.com with your name, contact details and an outline of the proposed site,
Get a free tree pack
The Woodland Trust is a UK-based conservation charity that works to protect and promote the UK's native woods and trees. As part of their efforts to encourage tree planting, the organization offers free tree packs for schools, organizations, and groups who have permission to plant at a specific location. These tree packs typically include a variety of native trees that are well-suited to the local climate and soil conditions, and come in sizes of 105 - you can order up to 4 packs per season.
Tree planting packs get delivered in November and February time, and their tree packs go very quickly, so if you are going to apply you should do so as soon as possible - usually November packs are getting fully booked by August/September, and February are booked up by January. These aren't hard deadlines though, so still apply for a pack - you may still get one this time, and if not you'll be on their radar for next season.
If 100 trees is too much to plant in your designated area, speak to local volunteer groups such as Natural Ise and the Kettering Eco Group who order trees regularly and can likely offer you a smaller amount.
Green Tree School Awards
The Woodland Trust also operates a Green Tree School Award programme, which recognizes schools that are committed to promoting and protecting the environment. Through this program, schools can earn points by engaging in a range of activities related to tree planting, habitat creation, and environmental education. Over 13,000 schools in the UK are currently working towards their Green Tree School status.
Choosing your trees
One of the most important considerations when planting trees is to choose native species that are well-suited to the local climate and soil conditions. Native trees are adapted to the local environment and are more likely to thrive without the need for additional watering or other resources. They can also provide important habitat for local wildlife and contribute to the overall health of the ecosystem. Planting non-native species, on the other hand, can sometimes lead to problems such as invasive species, which can displace native plants and animals and disrupt the local ecosystem.
Check out the Woodland Trust's guidance on which tree would be best for your location.
Planting your trees
Planting season usually is November and February in the UK and these months can be an optimal time for tree planting because the ground is not frozen and the trees are in a state of dormancy. During dormancy, trees are not actively growing and therefore are not as vulnerable to transplant shock, which is a common problem when trees are moved from one location to another.
1. Keep the roots covered
When planting a tree, it is important to dig a hole that is deep enough to accommodate the root ball and wide enough to allow the roots to spread out and establish themselves. The hole should be dug to the same depth as the root ball, and the tree should be planted at the same level it was growing in the nursery or container. This helps to ensure that the tree is planted at the correct depth and can establish itself more easily.
2. Keep the roots moist
After planting, it is important to water the tree well and to provide additional watering during dry periods. Mulch can also be applied around the base of the tree to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
3. "Right tree, right place"
It is also important to consider the location of the tree and whether it will receive enough sunlight, water, and other resources to thrive. Planting trees in the wrong location can lead to problems such as stunted growth or death. Our local Grounds team have a motto "right tree, right place" - so once you know your location, seek some advice on the best trees to plant there. Local tree planting groups and other local experts may be able to offer advice to ensure the best chance of success, but the Woodland Trust has a wealth of information on choosing the right tree to plant.
Looking after your trees
While planting trees is an important first step in creating new forests or green spaces, it is important to remember that trees need ongoing care and attention in order to thrive. After planting, trees should be watered and cared for, particularly during the first 2-3 years as they establish their roots and grow. This may include watering, weeding, mulching, and protecting trees from damage or disease.
Biodiversity and rewilding
Rewilding is restoring ecosystems to the point where nature can take care of itself, and restoring our relationship with the natural world.
Rewilding is about all of us finding ways to work and live within healthy, flourishing ecosystems. Rewilding can enrich lives and help us to reconnect with wild nature while providing a sustainable future for local and wider communities. It can help stop species extinction, tackle climate change and improve our overall health and wellbeing.
More than half our species nationally are in decline and 15% are threatened with extinction. Native woodland covers just 2.5% of our land.
Benefits of rewilding:
- Draws down carbon from the atmosphere
- Helps wildlife adapt to climate change
- Reverses biodiversity loss
- Improves our health and wellbeing
Biodiversity is all the different kinds of life you'll find in one area—the variety of animals, plants, fungi, and even microorganisms like bacteria that make up our natural world. Each of these species and organisms work together in ecosystems, to maintain balance and support life
Want to know more? Read the Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs and Northants report
How can we make a start?
- Connecting habitats
We can do this with green corridors and wildlife bridges so wildlife can move and disperse naturally.
We can also plant seed bombs/wildflowers – you can buy these e.g. from the Woodland Trust, or make your own https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-make-seed-bomb
- Creating wildlife friendly parks, streets and gardens
Human impact on the earth can have a devastating impact on biodiversity. Small steps like keeping to walking paths, and not stepping through flowers or crops, can help protect what is growing there.
Many of us have limited growing space, so make the most of your space with vertical planting
- Create a vertical garden
Vertical gardens are a great way to improve the biodiversity in small spaces and gardens, and the can be very cheap to do. You can make one out of a leftover planter stood up, or we've even seen some innovative ones made from shoe holders.
Check out this guide from the wildlife Trust about how to create a vertical garden: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-create-vertical-garden
- Battle against weedkillers
The Council is starting to phase out glyphosate as a weedkiller as it has negative effects on pollinators, and there is evidence to suggest it is also carcinogenic. Consider organic weedkillers, ask for your street to not be sprayed, and reframe your thinking - those "weeds" on the pathway are actually a pollinator picnic!
Want to make your street glyphosate free? Pledge your support here!
- Create a 'Hedgehog Highway'
Make holes at the bottom of garden fences or leave spaces in or between walls so that mammals such as hedgehogs have a means of moving through gardens, and provide a water source so that they can remain hydrated, especially during hot summer spells and periods of drought where water is scarce.
Many refer to these as 'Hedgehog Highways', and a good place for these holes is behind a bush or wherever there's a bit of cover. This not only helps the hole be less noticeable to you, but also helps them to feel safe.
Leave piles of sticks, leaves and other garden litter during the winter when animals such as hedgehogs might be using them as a place to hibernate, and leave bushes, ivy, and trees uncut during the spring and early summer (start of March onwards) to avoid disturbing birds who may be nesting and rearing young in them.
- Make your vegetable patch wildlife friendly
Research the plants and vegetables that are local to your area and grow a variety. Each plant and vegetable helps to protect biodiversity and supports the wider ecosystem of your local area. https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-grow-wildlife-friendly-vegetable-garden
- Collect and conserve water
Fresh bodies of water are essential to biodiversity. Reducing the amount of water you use, by having a 5-minute shower or not running the water when washing up the dishes, can help protect vital wetlands. https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-conserve-water
Creating a small pond in your garden can be a really easy way to boost wildlife – some residents have got innovative and reused old pots to do this, such as one Kettering resident who dug his broken slow-cooker basin into the ground. Already his slow-cooker pond is teeming with life!
- Feed the bees
Bees pollinate nearly 90% of plant species and they contribute to more than 35% of the world's food supply. Give pollinators an extra boost in your backyard by planting a variety of wildflowers and native plants to provide nectar that will bloom throughout the season. You can also build bee boxes for native bees to make their home.
Kettering and Corby Councils have a shared initiative called Pardon the Weeds, we're feeding the Bees which has been widely copied.
Climate change can have devastating consequences for biodiversity. Reducing your carbon footprint by taking the bus or walking can help protect it. Getting active outdoors is easy, cheap, fun and good for your health. Take a walk at Weekley Hall Wood, The Northants Wetlands at Rushden Lakes or find a more adventurous wild walk.
- Buy local
Buying from your local farmer at a farmers' market or through a farm shop gives you the ability to find out how your food was grown and learn what they are doing on the farm to help conserve biodiversity.
- Reduce light pollution
Turn off outdoor lighting such as garden lamps and floodlights when they are not required to reduce the impact of night-time lighting on nocturnal species such as moths. Artificial lighting – particularly LEDs – can reduce activity, disrupt behaviour, and stop moths from carrying out important activities at night when most species are typically flying, such as feeding on flowers and laying eggs. This is most clearly seen through 'phototaxis' (flight-to-light) when moths fly around and bump into light sources.
Further resources and ideas:
- Build a bee/ bug hotel https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-make-bee-hotel
- Create a garden pond or water feature https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-build-pond
- Create a wildlife garden https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-start-wildlife-garden-scratch
- Make a log shelter https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-make-log-shelter
- Plant a butterfly garden https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-attract-butterflies-your-garden and improve your garden to support butterfly life: https://butterfly-conservation.org/how-you-can-help/get-involved/gardening/gardening-for-butterflies
- Build a bat box - Build a bat box | The RSPB
- Make a hedgehog home https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-build-hedgehog-home or 'Hedgehog Highway' https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-create-hedgehog-holeThis is also a great resource for ways to support hedgehogs in your area: https://blog.gardenwildlifedirect.co.uk/how-to-help-hedgehogs/ (NB this is a commercial site offering advice, and the Council does not endorse the company or its products but it might give you some ideas.)
- Grow a mini meadow https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-grow-wild-patch-or-mini-meadow
- Wildlife gardening projects for butterflies and moths https://butterfly-conservation.org/how-you-can-help/get-involved/gardening/wildlife-gardening-projects
- Feed and care for the birds https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-families/family-wild-challenge/activities/feed-the-birds/https://www.rspb.org.uk/fun-and-learning/for-families/family-wild-challenge/activities/build-a-bird-bath/
- Plant a tree https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-plant-tree
- Make your own compost https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/actions/how-compost-your-waste
- Get involved with your local community groups trying to improve biodiversity in Kettering (see below)
- Join a national conservation group or organisation (see below)
Local organisations involved in biodiversity work
- Kettering Town Council have £3000 for tree planting and biodiversity in our 22/23 budget. To get involved with the planned projects or to pitch a project in your area email firstname.lastname@example.org or come along to our next Climate Change Working Group meeting
- Natural Ise is a local group working to rewild and enhance the area along the Ise River, and has done a considerable amount of tree planting too. Join the Facebook group and get involved!
- The Kettering Eco Group has been planting trees in Kettering for the past three years, planting in February and November each year. Join the Facebook community or follow their page for information.
- Wicksteed Park have increased their biodiversity work and tree planting in recent years, and are always looking for volunteers. They currently are looking for help to develop the arboretum at the bottom of the park. If you are interested in seeing what they need help with, email email@example.com.
- Buccleugh Estates are looking to improve the biodiversity on their land, for which there is a lot of space and scope. If you are interested, get in touch via their website.
- 'Back from the Brink' is a conservation project in Rockingham. Get involved via the website and find out how you can help going on across Rockingham Forest to improve habitats, biodiversity and reintroduce extinct species.
National organisations involved in rewilding and improving biodiversity
Boyes et al. (2020): Is light pollution driving moth population declines? A review of causal mechanisms across the life cycle https://resjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/icad.12447?af=R