The Acre Foundation

Acre Volunteering - Summer is here, but I still prefer it a little 'Otter...

Posted on 11 June 2015 by Cory

Acre Volunteering - Summer is here, but I still prefer it a little 'Otter...

Apparently the best way to enthuse a small gang of sustainability recruitment staff into a glorious day of physical feats is to turn up the temperature and supply them with a small armory of tools.

We arrived at the London Wetlands Centre all revved up and ready for sun cream and waders (the bare essentials for any successful wetland-based outing). David Cowmeadow and Kate were at the gates to meet us and outline the day’s agenda, starting off with some integral roadside maintenance.

One of the parks entrances was due to have white lines painted along the existing curb-line, with a willing persona, emotive chants and a ‘many-hands-make-light-work’ mentality, we got the brooms, shovels and wheelbarrows to work. In our rather fetching, vibrant tangerine high visibility vests, we swept up, got our backs down and our sweat on! Needless to say we swept the entrance within an inch of its life, We were way ahead of schedule so had earned ourselves a mid-morning break; to watch the morning feed for the centre’s two Asian Short clawed Otters. Once our wildlife observations were over and having listened to an incredibly insightful presentation on the two otters and their origins, it was back to the brooms to finish off task number one before lunch.

Lunch was a great way to soak up some of the rural and natural charms of this entirely anthropogenic site and if the distanced skyline wasn’t obstructed by Hammersmith’s tower blocks, you could lose your bearings all together and forget that a tube station or convenience store is nothing but a stone’s throw from this diamond in the rough.

Once our lunchtime ponderings were almost over, David met us to conclude our understandings all together with an information-soaked speech on the importance of the LWC, it’s volunteers, its status as a SSSI and the beneficial nature of its existence (really mind-blowing stuff). The afternoon was now ready for task number 2, so it was finally time to load up the tractor and trailer with sand, put on the waders and get ready for some pond bank reconstruction. All the man-made ponds at LWC are lined with ‘coya rolls’ (which is made of compressed coconut husk) as this has no toxic discharge and doesn’t damage the water birds’ feet when they walk on it. Once we had lined the pond banks with the coya, we filled in any gaps with sand and turf and made an absolutely smashing ‘Alan Titchmarsh’ job of it.

The day provided a thoroughly enjoyable experience and extenuated the appreciation and sense of achievement that can be attained from some goodwill, a bit of time, effort, good company and manpower donated to a great cause and awesome organisation. Already looking forward to my next visit!!