The Digital Wildlife Garden Official Launch
November 2021, as world leaders meet in Glasgow for COP26 to discuss climate change and the environment, local politician Delyth Jewell MS launched our Digital Wildlife Garden, and talked to some of the children and volunteers about their concerns and plans for their environment.
In 2021, Caerphilly Miners’ Centre received a Fat Beehive Foundation grant to fund virtual activity to support our physical climate change garden for the future.
The pandemic has made us think more widely about our climate change garden and how it can reach more people, how it could be digitalised to enable those isolating or confined to their homes to be able to enjoy our garden as much as those that are able to walk around it.
We hope this Digital Wildlife Garden will bring joy, learning and ideas to more people, as part of a sustainable ripple through our community.
In 2021 we were grateful to receive a Fat Beehive Foundation grant to fund virtual activity to support our physical climate change garden for the future.
Much of the physical work involves planting the garden to realise the design drawn up by Fiona Cloke in 2020, engaging with schools for both junior and foundation children, environmental volunteers and helping to support the mental health and wellbeing of the community that has been hugely impacted by COVID-19.
We initially secured a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund to convert a piece of waste ground into a Climate Change “Garden of the Future”.
We worked with Renew Wales and Social Farms and Gardens and set up three working parties’ meetings between November 2019 and February 2020. We used the expertise of David Thorpe, a climate change academic and practitioner to generate priorities and Landscape Architect Fiona Cloke to help us translate these into a design and plan of action.
As the project developed, a core team of our members took on responsibility for taking the garden to the next stage: Chris, Ann, Dawn, Kairen, Ian and Rosemary led on these activities and supported participation from the wider community.
During the next stage we secured resources and support from Keep Wales Tidy. This included some hard landscaping materials, compost bins, a water butt, a greenhouse and some fruit trees and bushes. Chris, Ruth, Louise, Phil and Katherine are pictured here as part of this work.
We have installed a specialist motion activated nature camera and a time lapse camera. There are links to these to follow. We hope this new access to our natural world will bring opportunities for gardeners and virtual gardeners to equally shape and develop our garden – to grown and learn and educate others.
And as the physical garden develops, it can be enhanced by wider information accessed online though this portal. We invite virtual gardeners to share facts, information, real stories, videos and photos of your own planting, growing and knowledge. We would love virtual gardeners to be part of the shaping of the garden and invite anyone to get in touch.
If you would like to focus on an area of the garden, research information on the plants, or give ideas on what else we could be doing, we can then share these online and with our gardeners.
We hope this technology can add more depth, a level of detail, and an opportunity for everyone to contribute and add photos or ideas for small changes to make a difference.
It was at this stage and in the middle of the first lockdown that we started to think more widely about our climate change garden and how it can reach more people, how it could be digitalised to enable those isolating or confirmed to their homes – to enjoy our garden as much as those that are able to walk around it.
A Digital Wildlife Garden to bring joy, learning and ideas to more people, as part of a sustainable ripple through our community.
As a charity working towards improving and supporting our community we have always focussed on our direct environment and linked this to wider environmental issues, climate change and sustainability as a whole. Working with the Fat Beehive Foundation we have been able to bring our work to a whole new digital community.
People shielding, isolating or unable to get out and about can enjoy the climate change work and wildlife garden from the comfort of their own homes.