Talks, walks, safaris and family fun at Sunken Garden Eco Gathering event

Sunken Garden Westbrook Photo Carl Hudson

The Sunken Garden in Westbrook will be the focus of a full programme of events this Sunday (October 3) as part of the Margate Now festival.

The Eco Gathering day will include a number of conservation, nature and ecology focused groups and organisations hosting discussion, learning and interaction around the main festival themes.

A series of public talks will take place in an on-site marquee, alongside family activities centred around local ecology, taking place throughout the day. A variety of stallholders will be sharing information about their work, signing up members, selling wares and inviting people to check out the ‘eco-village’ on the surrounding green

The Sunken Garden was designed and landscaped in the 1930s and is cared for by the Sunken Garden Society,

The society took on the management of the site in 2018 to enhance its benefits for both wildlife and people, following a long period of neglect and disrepair. The garden now provides a rich and colourful haven for bees, butterflies, moths, birds and many other species and is a popular spot with visitors who enjoy the floral displays and use the space for recreation, relaxation, and inspiration.

No booking is required to attend the Eco Gathering day.

Schedule:

11:00 – 11:30

Talk 1: Kent’s Plan Bee and bumblebee ecology of north Kent

Making A Buzz

This talk will look at why the north Kent locality is so important for bumblebees (and other pollinators too!) and what we can do to spread the word and help our precious pollinating insects. Delivered by Kent’s Plan Bee officer Emma Lansdell, who is helping to take forward the Kent County Council Pollinator Action Plan. Emma is providing maternity cover for seconded to Kent Wildlife Trust, employed by Bumblebee Conservation Trust and working for Kent County Council- this is partnership work in action! Emma previously worked as the Project Manager of Bumblebee Conservation Trusts ‘Making a Buzz for the Coast’ which finished in April 2021, and focused on conserving north Kent’s rare bumblebees, the habitats that support them and engaging and training people to take action for these precious pollinators. Making a Buzz for the Coast provided close support for the Sunken Garden Society and Thanet District Council was a project partner. Emma has previously worked in a number of ecology roles and for the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) unit for 10 years.

11:30 – 12:00

Activity 1: Magnificent Moths

In April 2021 Butterfly Conservation launched Kent’s Magnificent Moths, made up of Rebecca Levey as the Conservation Officer and Emma Pestridge as the Engagement Officer. This project is Butterfly Conservation’s largest ever area specific moth project! Our conservation efforts focus on eight moth species that call Kent their home. Rare and threatened moth species can be found across the UK, however, nowhere has more rare moth species than Kent. Here at the Sunken Garden, we will not just help debunk moth myths and offer close encounters with some of the most intriguing insects, but we also welcome families to help us plant seeds for caterpillars and spread the word of how cool moths are by making your own flying moth! You will learn about the vital role moths play in our ecosystems, how to identify different night and day flying species and ways you can attract them in your own gardens. A fantastic opportunity to see a diverse range of moths up close, which are just as beautiful and exciting as our native butterflies!

12:00 – 12:30

Talk 2: Gardening for biodiversity

Donna Richardson from award winning Enchanted Gardens, Whitstable will be delivering a talk about the importance of managing our gardens as pollinator friendly spaces. Enchanted Gardens Kent is a small family run nursery passionate about environmental protection and biodiversity. Specialising in bee, butterfly, moth and bat-friendly plants and habitats, Donna was one of the first to recognise this unfortunate trend of losing our insect populations years ago, when she set out to develop Enchanted Gardens – growing plants others dare not to. All of her flowers are selected for their pollen and nectar benefits, which sadly, within the industry have been forgotten in favour of profit and fashion. Donna teaches from Enchanted Gardens Kent and regularly offers various short courses in pollinator-friendly gardening.

12:30 – 13:00

Activity 2: Bee Walk

Join Kent’s Plan Bee officer Emma Lansdell as we look for bumblebees and solitary bees in the garden and surroundings. A great way to learn how to ID some of our fuzzy friends, and gain understanding around the importance of maintaining a range of flowers for forage throughout the seasons.

13:00 – 13:30

Talk 3: The ecology of green roofs and living walls in urban areas

Dusty Gedge will be discussing the huge benefits and importance of green roofs, living walls and other innovative wild spaces in our urban landscape for native biodiversity. Dusty Gedge is a recognised authority, designer, consultant, public speaker and TV presenter on green roofs. He has worked on GI Projects in the UK for the last 15 years. Some of these are recognised as seminal projects especially in London as well as advising virtually on projects across the world through his consultancy firm Green Infrastructure Consultancy [GIC]. Livingroofs.org is an independent organisation set up by Dusty Gedge in 2002 to promote green roofs and living walls in urban areas in the UK and around the world. The organisation has been a member of the European Federation of Green Roof and Wall Associations (EFB) since 2006 as the UK representative. Dusty Gedge is the current president of the EFB, an office he has held since 2008.

13:30 – 14:00

Activity 3: Sunken Safari

Peter Hasted (left) Photo Carl Hudson

Sunken Garden Society’s very own Peter Hasted will be delivering an interactive walk around the Sunken Garden, discussing its history and the formation of the SGS, the importance of community gardening whilst showing visitors some of the interesting and diverse flora species found within the garden space.

14:00 – 14:30

Talk 4: Wildlife Conservation in Thanet

Nik being filmed by the BBC talking about disturbance of Thanet’s seal colony

Thanet wildlife enthusiast Nik Mitchell will discuss the diversity of wildlife found across the isle, what we can do to support it, and the importance of being connected to nature. Nik is from Pegwell, Ramsgate and runs the popular Wildlife in Thanet Facebook page. He has been involved in programmes like Countryfile, Springwatch and The One Show, discussing his enthusiasm for nature and sharing advice on how to make wildlife friendly changes in managed outdoor spaces and gardens. Nik is a passionate advocate for protecting wildlife in our local landscape, and promotes understanding around minimising disturbance to sensitive wildlife and encouraging positive behaviours when engaging with our wild spaces.

14:30 – 15:00

Activity 4: Scavenger Hunt + with beach art!

Photo Thanet Coast Project

Join the scavenger hunt looking for clues of our marine life along the shore – including shark and ray egg cases – on this activity that includes sand/beach art at the end! Please note: You will need to wear suitable footwear and clothing for the beach, sand art and the weather conditions on the day. These events are suitable for families and especially children aged 4-11. All equipment is provided. This activity is led by the Thanet Coast Project www.thanetcoast.org.uk

The Margate now Sunken Ecologies festival ruins until October 10.

Find more events at https://margatenow.co.uk/now2021/

2 Comments

  1. On a positive note in Thanet, looks like a great event to support in Westbrook – nature doesn’t fail us tho’ some (only some) of humankind not so kind in return.

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