Last week signalled the end of the Easter Holidays for Wallington County Grammar School, and on Wednesday, with help from a few of the students, we made the final finishing touches to their new wildlife pond.
Back in March, the Biodiversity Gardens Project and Wallington County Grammar School started work to build a wildlife pond in the unused land behind the sports hall. This was done in the hope of attracting and providing refuge for local wildlife and to help the students to develop an interest in the natural world.
With some heavy manual labour and the help of a couple of the sixth formers, we finally finished the hole. By this point, a few of the younger students turned up to help and we had quite a good little work force. So getting our hands dirty, we covered the pond area in a layer of compact sand to prevent any roots or punctures to the liner.
With an army of students of all ages, we set about moving the earth from the pile to the edges around the liner to weigh it down. We then poured bags of sand and pea-shingle around the edge and had great fun stamping and compacting it down.
Upon returning to the pond two weeks later, disaster had struck! One of the joins between the two pieces of liner split and the water level had dropped down to this point. We realised that although the bentonite was a good sealant, it did not function so well as an adhesive. Using some 4 inch nails, we jerry-rigged a stitch through the liner to secure the two pieces together and then poured pea-shingle on top to add some weight.
With the crisis averted, we then set to work planting some native pond plant species around the pond, like these marsh marigolds, with the help of a couple of the younger students. At long last, the pond was finished! We hope that in the future it will attract more wildlife onto the school grounds and help the students to gain an how little changes to areas can really enhance the natural world
Matt Pendry. Biodiversity Gardens Project Assistant.