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03 April 2022

idverde and Froglife Deliver Amphibian and Reptile Workshops

In 2021, idverde Bromley commenced with informal delivery of the ten draft idverde Biodiversity Action Plan on behalf of the London Borough of Bromley. A key element of this plan was wider community engagement.

The drafting of this plan coincided with research published by the University of Bristol highlighting the importance of allotments and gardens as the highest value land-use type for pollinators. As such, it was timely that idverde had decided to incorporate targets focussed on biodiversity within the Boroughs 53 allotments which idverde have a managerial oversight of.

Initially, this took the form of an engagement programme consisting of multiple elements. The Bromley Biodiverse Allotments scheme aimed to increase awareness and positive action for nature within allotment plot holders. This took the form of:

• A series of self-nominated “Biodiversity Champions” for Bromley’s allotments

• Annual training events for allotment plot holders

• Citizen science surveys

Due to the impact of Covid-19, the first two training sessions were conducted online. This allowed for a far greater attendance than face to face delivery and made the course accessible to those unavailable during office hours.

idverde Bromley’s Conservation & Education manager delivered two online workshops with a total attendance of 53 in 2021.

In late 2021, idverde were able to capitalise on a pre-existing relationship with UK amphibian and reptile-focused charity, Froglife to deliver collaborative face to face and online workshops. Froglife is a national wildlife charity committed to conserving amphibians and reptiles – frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards – and saving the habitats they depend on.

Froglife workshops

Froglife’s London Tails Of Amphibian Discovery project is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The project aims to benefit the UK’s beleaguered common toads through a range of engagement and practical conservation activities. The opportunity for Froglife to work with idverde allotments to achieve mutual objectives allowed us to mobilise workshops for early 2022 delivery.

A total of 38 participants took part in one of two face to face workshops, kindly hosted by Bromley’s Dorset Road Allotment & Leisure Gardens, and a further 50 participated in an online webinar for those unable to attend in person.

“This programme is a very important one for Bromley. With a large number of allotment federations and increasingly ecologically aware membership the opportunity to inform plot holders and hopefully improve the biodiversity on Bromley’s allotments is of huge value locally. Many of the Borough’s allotments were already doing great work for nature so engaging with people has been like pushing through an open door and those involved so far have really risen to the challenge and embraced nature even more than they had done so previously.”

We intend on progressing the project in 2022 by including support for allotment groups to run their own reptile surveys on site. By providing the materials and training, individual allotments can monitor reptiles on site. Bromley has high populations of our common lizard species; the viviparous lizard and the slow worm, and allotments can be favoured by the latter. They are also a fantastic addition to an allotment given their preferential prey of soft-bodied invertebrates, i.e. slugs!

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