Wendover Canal hosted an IWA Family Volunteering Day in August 2021. This year due to Covid regulations this was adapted to a taster of 4 hours length. This attracted younger participants and because it was arranged on a Monday, unfortunately NO Dads.
The day started with the required H&S talk, high vis, gloves and one 5-year-old even wore his own hard hat. Then into bricklaying, this became quite competitive, with fighting for the bricks. But under the expert eye of the IWA’s Alex Melson, a sturdy good wall was built, albeit in the middle of the car park.
Then off for a stroll along the towpath, 7 children, 6 adults, 2 wheel-barrows and a push chair. There was a purpose. We were out identifying the BUG, BEE, BIRD & BUTTERFLY population, an added bonus, was a peer down a rabbit hole. Along the way we also checked out the flora and berries on the hedgerow, and some lucky children also managed to find a few tasty damsons to eat.
As the bookings were taken in advance, the younger compliment was known. This enabled Alex to hone in on the skills available. He built a BUG HOTEL and brought this along for the children to fill. So, after a picnic lunch sitting on the grass at Whitehouses, the children were dispatched with the task of finding twigs, hollow branches, dead grasses and any other material which they could fit into the BUG HOTEL to make a comfortable home. Then, using second-hand bricks from the canal they built a HEDGEHOG HOUSE and covered this with natural vegetation to encourage future tenants.
The day was ALL GO, no time to dally, off went the contingent following the winding path along the woodland walk to the viewing platform. A short easy explanation of a pumping station followed, enhanced by Jenny Morris’s recollection of clearing out the cellars during a WRG work party.
Finally, the children were given handfuls of wild meadow seed, this they distributed with gay abandon on our future meadow area (Tidy Friday work party had strimmed an area ready in advance). As well as the publicity this gives the Wendover Canal, it encourages children into the outdoor environment. They all enjoyed themselves on this outdoor adventure. Hopefully they will make further visits to the area to check out any occupants in their BUG HOTEL & HEDGEHOG HOUSE.
By Jenny Brice, WAT Events, with pictures by Tony Borrill