Urban Nature: visiting the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park

Earlier this year a group of UpRisers on the London Environmental Leadership Programme took trip down to Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park. They had a tour by one of the park wardens and heard all about the fantastic work going on. The park is maintained by The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), a community volunteering charity that conserves and reclaims green spaces through inclusive and accessible conservation work.
Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park is made up of four acres of freshwater habitat and is home to a fascinating array of wildlife of amphibians, fish and insects. It has been open to the public since 2002 and has rapidly become an established and biodiverse urban wetland. It is carefully managed to maintain a delicate balance of habitats, which play host to the many wildlife species. Several species of moths and bees that were previously thought to be locally extinct have been found in the park recently. The land has a long heritage with many important connections to history, industry and wildlife. The Greenwich Peninsula was historically a natural wetland which became heavily industrialised with chemical, steel and gasworks factories from the late 1880s onwards. This resulted in increased pollution from factory waste, and the displacement of the natural marshland and wetland. The Ecology Park was part of an urban renewal programme that aimed to restore the species and habitat lost during industrialisation and act as an important brownfield land to control the effects of increased urbanisation in the area.
Park Warden, Tony told UpRisers all about the history of the area and the vital role the park plays in being home to a carefully maintained biodiversity. He also shared how the park is an important space for members of the community, where they can get involved through in various educational activities that improve wellbeing, promote social cohesion and enhance employment prospects. UpRisers found the site to be a great example of urban nature, sustainable development and community involvement and left feeling inspired on what can be done to bring nature back into our cities and make it work for people and wildlife.

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