JM: What prompted you to set up Wild Stroud and what are its aims?
CC: We met at my kitchen table at a meeting for a hedgehog project. We both wanted to encourage more people to get involved with wildlife gardening and thought an open gardens scheme dedicated to wildlife gardens would be a way to achieve it.
We knew that to get enough people to confidently participate in Open Gardens we would need to help people learn more about wildlife gardening, so we started a series of habitat workshops focused on food, shelter and water for wildlife in gardens.
JM: What did you do for work before Wild Stroud, and how does that feed into what you do now?
CC: Emily had just completed a Masters degree in Ecology, and volunteered at Wild Hogs Hedgehog Rescue and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. This experience helps to ensure our workshops have a good ecological basis.
We think the combination of skills, knowledge and experience works well together and most of all, we keep learning.
I ran a Management Training Company for 35 years. This sadly didn’t survive the pandemic, but it did allow me to develop my knowledge and interest in wildlife habitats.
JM: What do your roles involve and what does a working day look like for you?
CC: Wild Stroud is mainly run by us as volunteers. We are working on two main projects at the moment; setting up and running our next series of habitat workshops and our urban corridor project. We meet regularly to review and update the training programme, meet with partners about the urban corridor project, and arrange community events.
We have an upcoming social evening with speakers from Wild Stroud and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to share the work on the urban corridor and help shape the next steps for Wild Stroud. We communicate regularly, work extremely well together and independently and this keeps the momentum going for Wild Stroud.
I lead the Urban Corridor Project which has involved learning how to germinate and grow on wildflower seeds and inspiring people to add one square metre of plants from our plant list.
JM: Could you tell us about Wild Stroud’s recent achievements?
CC: This summer we ran our second Open Gardens scheme, and we were nominated for a Stroud Town Council award.
Our work on the urban corridor is providing a vital link between the National Trust’s landscape scale approach and Gloucestershire Wildlife’s Trust management of nature reserves in the corridor. You can hear more about both of these projects at our social event on Tuesday 19 September at Stroud Brewery.
JM: What are your plans for the rest of 2023, and next year?
CC: Running workshops, growing plants for urban corridor and our social.
We are looking for an empty poly tunnel or greenhouse to over-winter our plants – do get in touch if you can help.
JM: Do you do any other work, or voluntary work?
I am a volunteer organiser for the Gloucestershire Love Her Wild Group. This group supports women in getting outdoors by organising walks, camping trips, wild swimming and paddle boarding. We’re finalists in the Radio Gloucestershire Community Awards in September.
Emily is now the hospital manager at Wild Hogs Hedgehog Rescue, providing rehabilitation for over 400 sick, injured and orphaned hedgehogs each year.
JM: What do you do in your spare time?
CC: Emily is studying for a PhD in hedgehog parasitology, part-time at Nottingham Trent University. She has a teenage daughter Scarlett and a rescue dog called Gadget and enjoys spending time with them.
I hate to sit still so walks, gardens, mountain bikes, camps, photographs wildlife and I loves getting my granddaughter Ina (5) out in nature.
JM: Whereabouts do you live, and what do you like about that area?
CC: Emily lives in Rodborough, she loves the neighbours, local community and the easy access to Stroud and the surrounding areas.
I live in central Stroud. I love having easy access to so many walks and bike rides straight from the house.
|Three Things You Can Do Today|
1) Look at the habitat around your house – are you near woodland, in a river valley or on the top of a hill? When planning your garden, extend that habitat rather than creating something new.
2) Do some research to find out how to make your garden more insect-friendly. We have lots of resources on our website.
3) Leave a tub of water in your garden for hoverfly larvae and other insects. Make sure there’s a way to climb out for insects and small mammals (a stick or some stones).
Find out about more local Stroud Transitioneers
If you would like to share your sustainable living story, please contact Josephine on email@example.com