Barnet Environment Centre is situated on a 7.5 acre nature reserve which is a “Site of Interest for Nature Conservation”. The Friends of Barnet Environment Centre is a registered charity which provides events for the local community and activities for schools in order to educate and inspire a lasting interest in and appreciation of the natural world. We maintain the reserve through regular volunteer work-parties and, in addition to educating schoolchildren, organise open days, children’s activities and youth projects.The nature reserve and Environment Centre are only open to the public for these events. Our schools newsletter October 2020 and our latest volunteering newsletter are available. Our Chair has written the Trustees’ Annual Report 2019-2020 to sum up what has been another good year for FoBEC, despite the necessary cancellation of visits in March 2020 onwards. Please also read our Chair’s December 2020 Newsletter and our Chair’s March 2021 Newsletter, for the very latest on what’s happening at the Environment Centre and Nature Reserve during the Covid 19 crisis.
Educational Year 2019-2020: This educational year has of course been severely curtailed by the Covid-19 virus: of the 69 school and youth visits booked for 2019-2020 only 26 went ahead, with our courses stopping on 12 March 2020. Nevertheless, the children had wonderful encounters with wildlife, which astounded children, parents, teachers and field teachers alike.
All our courses are curriculum-linked and provide children with the opportunity to learn about and connect with nature and also to discover the joy of the natural world. The education team was on form, the nature reserve was in tip top condition, the children were having a truly brilliant time, so it was very sad that only 665 children could come out of 1885 to experience it all. We are so happy to be able to share our nature reserve and its amazing wildlife with so many children. We hope that in future years they continue to engage with nature after they leave us and grow up with a sense of ownership of the environment and a desire to protect it. Please visit our School or Youth pages.
Caring for the Nature Reserve 2020 With the advent of the Covid19-induced shutdown of the Environment Centre, organised volunteer sessions for the maintenance and development of the Nature Reserve ceased. Without any idea of how long this state of affairs would persist, but with the feeling that it was likely to be for some considerable time, volunteers decided that they could not let this wonderful facility deteriorate and, individually, have been turning up to carry out essential work. Their purpose is that the Reserve will be ready, immediately, for the resumption of FOBEC’s educational services and organised opportunities for the community to enjoy the delights of the 7.5 acre site. The One Acre Meadow has been scythed and raked, paths and fencing maintained, mowing carried out, ditches cleared, fallen tree boughs sawn up and moved to log piles, and machinery serviced. The dry weather experienced for long periods of this year has also required the watering of the plants in the Environment Centre garden, and topping up of the ‘dipping’ ponds. Oh, and the inevitable weeding and control of brambles.
Open Afternoon for Members and Volunteers
Members and volunteers were invited to an open afternoon on 27 September 2020, where they were given a copy of the new Sensory Trail leaflet and then sent off to explore in family groups or in groups of fewer than 6. We asked people to act as guinea pigs to comment on the leaflet, which contains information on “pause and ponder” points 1-12 and has a map. The leaflet will help our visitors to appreciate the various habitats and to look, listen, feel and smell. Feedback was fantastic: e.g. a separate leaflet for children, better signage walking around the nature reserve and help with the identification of plants and trees. Further leaflets are planned to help our visitors enjoy this local nature reserve.
The nature reserve site and Environment Centre are owned by Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice. More …