Debdale Nature Centre
Debdale Nature Centre is a brand new, exciting project based in the cabins behind the Barn Complex.
The Centre has been a long time in the planning, originally destined to be based on the Gorton Reservoir Allotment Site on the other side of the Lower Reservoir, we have now secured the cabins and garden space formerly occupied by Debdale Eco Centre, in the perfect location in Debdale Park, right next to the reservoir and at the end of the Gorton Heritage Trail.
The Nature Centre is a collaboration between The Friends of Debdale Park CIO, Men’s Shed – Debdale, Gorton Heritage Trail, GreenFingers and Gorton Pagan Moot.
The main aim of the project is to help people to become more aware of the beautiful natural landscape and biodiversity on their own doorstep, and to educate in ways which they can help the environment.
Never has it been so important to find a way to connect with nature. Green spaces have become a sanctuary for so many during the lockdowns we have endured. Many local residents don’t have much of a garden to speak of, so the park has become a vital resource.
It is becoming clear that we are on the brink of a mental health crisis, and green prescriptions are an essential way to tackle some of this problem. We hope the Nature Centre will play a big part in the recovery back from Covid, and the stresses of everyday life.
Phase 1 of the development of the Centre will be the building of a Wildlife Garden. We will create a sanctuary for wildlife right outside the Centre cabin, with habitats suitable for birds, mammals, invertebrates and amphibians alike, and create activities for the local community to help with the initial build, ongoing development and monitoring and recording of wildlife using our new haven.
Initially a lot of our engagement will be through the powers of social media and YouTube as this is Covid secure.
In the future though we hope to be running workshops and training days for children and adults alike and working with local schools to increase awareness and knowledge of our local green spaces. The cabin will also be used as a Visitor Centre where people can come and find information about our local wildlife.
Our first project, which will be documented on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, is Debdale Frogwatch 2021. We will be bringing some frogspawn into the Centre, in a specially prepared tank, and following it’s development through the stages of spawn to tadpole to froglet to frog, ready to be released back into the pond.
This project is twofold; firstly it will provide an educational opportunity for us to show videos of the development cycle of the frog’s initial life stages; and secondly it is a conservation activity. Of the 1000-2000 eggs that a female frog lays as spawn only around 5 will survive to the adult frog stage. By nurturing the tadpoles, froglets and frogs in a more controlled condition, we hope to give nature a helping hand and increase the odds a little in the frog’s favour. By creating suitable habitats for amphibians in and around our new Wildlife Garden, hopefully we can replace some of the natural frog habitats lost through construction and other activities.