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UPM Tilhill helps enhance wildlife

Photo: UPM
Photo: UPM
Published by
Steven Anderson - 26 May 2011

UPM Tilhill has supplied timber for 30 bat and bird boxes as part of the restoration and ecology work at a park in Letchworth, Hertfordshire.

The company’s Ecologist Andrea Gannon is working closely with north Hertfordshire District Council who are responsible for Howard Park and Gardens, community group Groundwork Hertfordshire and local school children to improve the habitat for bats and birds and provide homes where they can breed safely.

Andrea, one of UPM Tilhill's team of fully qualified ecologists, is called upon to survey and monitor species in a range of different scenarios. At Howard Park and Gardens, as well as bats and birds, Andrea is making sure that the population of rare black squirrels living in the park is looked after and that any tree work takes their needs into account.

Andrea said: "Making the bird and bat boxes has turned into a real community project. As part of the work we’ve also sought expert advice from bat specialists to make sure the timber is suitable as bats are quite particular.

"As with every project UPM Tilhill is involved with, ecology is a top priority whether it’s protecting particular species of birds, endangered squirrels, bats, dormice or great crested newts. Howard Park is a great example of a site where there is a diverse range of wildlife living in an area that has large amounts of people visiting and using it for recreation."

Parks Champion, Sally Everett who led the project, added: "This has been a great partnership project. Local children have been building the bird and bat boxes and the next step is to get the children and local community groups to help us fit the boxes."

Howard Park was created more than 100 years ago as a central part of the pioneering urban experiment to create the world’s first garden city. Due to be completed in Autumn 2011, UPM Tilhill’s work involves hard and soft landscaping to preserve the historic importance of the site, as well as new elements that will broaden the use of the park.

Work includes refurbishing a paddling pool, creating improved play areas and building new routes through and around the park. A reproduction statue of Sappho will also be installed to replace the original stolen several years ago.

As well as the landscaping, the UPM Tilhill team is responsible for all construction, mechanical and electrical elements of the project. Funding for the £2.7 million scheme has come largely from the Parks for People programme funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund. The project will conserve the historic importance of the park and gardens and aims to increase the range of people using the park.

Pix Brook, a stream running alongside the park, now has a new bridge built and new facilities are being introduced for visitors, including a kiosk for refreshments and new, modern toilets.