BGS blogs

Investing in nature

BGS and local community volunteers join together to plant 12 000 spring bulbs and help native wildlife to thrive.

Snowdrops flowering at BGS Keyworth
As part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability, 12 000 spring bulbs have been planted at our Keyworth site. © Melanie Leng, BGS/UKRI.

Part of our commitment to sustainability at BGS is developing our sites to support and nurture the local environment. A team of volunteers from BGS and Wild Things: Keyworth came together to help brighten up Keyworth village and provide a space for local wildlife to thrive.

BGS secured NERC funding for 12 000 spring bulbs to brighten our Mary Ward nature area at our headquarters in the village, providing a haven for wild animals, insects and birds.

How do you plant thousands of bulbs?

We knew that planting some 12 000 bulbs in one morning would be a challenge even for the more enthusiastic gardeners among us, so we began a recruitment drive to call on staff and volunteers from the community to bring their spades and help. Numbers began to grow and by the weekend we had managed to entice a gathering of around 30 staff and volunteers. Luckily it was a bright, warm morning so there was no worrying about planting in really muddy areas.

Armed with gardening tools, our staff and volunteers got down to the job of planting hundreds of beautiful native snowdrops, bluebells and wood anemone. Hopefully they will come into flower soon, providing nectar for early insects as well as a lovely display for walkers using the path through the woodland.

Wildlife on site

Having installed wildlife cameras over the winter, perhaps one of the most exciting developments has been watching the array of local animals who have been visiting the woodland over the frosty season, from beautiful muntjac deer to foxes, badgers, brown rats, buzzards and owls.

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Local wildlife caught on camera at the BGS Keyworth site.

As well as our feathered and furry animal visitors, we hope the improvements will be enjoyed by members of the public.

Recent improvements

The woodland has a right-of-way path maintained by the council and recently, they improved two patches of earth along the path, flattening them and installing handrails to aid walking. Other improvements include removing damaged and diseased tree branches. Some parts of the bramble will soon be cut down to allow new growth and keep parts of the woodland open.

A big thank you!

We couldn’t have done this without the support and help of our staff and WildThings: Keyworth, a local group set up in Keyworth to be a voice for the natural world and a shared way to do more to help. They recently helped to establish a Hedgehog Highway in the area and it is fantastic to be able to reach out to others in our local community and bring them together with BGS staff members to support the area we live and work in.

We’ll look forward to sharing some pictures of our work in bloom on Twitter @britgeosurvey in a few weeks’ time.

The Mary Ward nature area

The Mary Ward nature area is a small patch of woodland that runs behind the BGS site at Keyworth, which can be accessed from Platt Lane. It takes its name from Mary Ward College, the local college that used to be on the site and named after the famous scientist, artist and astronomer, Mary Ward (1585–1645), a nun who championed women’s rights to education.

About the author

Prof Mel Leng
Prof Melanie Leng

BGS Chief Scientist, environmental change, adaptation and resilience

BGS Keyworth
Find out more

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