Building firm creates wetland for local school in Wigan area

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The new wetland comprises pond, bog, wet woodland, reed bed and meadow habitats. Various educational resources are available on the site, including a bug hotel and dipping platform.

Building and engineering firm J. Murphy & Sons (Murphy) will help open a new biodiversity Wetlands project in Golborne on 18 June.

Murphy created the biodiversity scheme for free at Golborne High School, working alongside GoaLCo, The Golborne and Lowton Cooperative Learning Partnership and Leisure Trust, which aims to inspire healthy lifestyles and is run on behalf of Wigan Council. The £11,000, pond-scaping project is on a 3,500m2 site that was previously a disused all-weather sports pitch.

Working closely with the school and using some of the children’s ideas, Murphy designed and constructed a network of natural ponds to enhance the school’s biodiversity and support local wildlife. Not only is the environmental initiative helping pupils with their education, says Murphy, it is also doubling up as a green space for the community.

Danny O’Brien, Murphy Operations Director for Golborne & Cannock, said: “At Murphy we understand the impact construction can have on the environment and communities where we work, and we do everything possible to make sure they’re never harmed.

“Murphy has a successful sustainability programme and we always try to give something back to our local communities, so this project was a perfect opportunity to do that and improve the area. The school is on our doorstep and now has a valuable natural resource that everyone can enjoy and learn from for years to come.”

The scheme’s flora and fauna will grow naturally over the coming months with help from planting projects by the local community, and the wetland is expected to need no maintenance.

Murphy staff and school children have been involved in integrated education days including careers presentation days and wetland workshops to learn about birds, invertebrates and plants that will use the new space.

As well as ponds, the new wetland contains four specific habitats – bog, wet woodland, reed bed and meadow. They are connected by ditches, a boardwalk and a stream with vegetation mainly consisting of grasses and sedges. Resources for education include assembly and study areas, a bird screen and hide, a bug hotel and dipping platform providing opportunities for outdoor learning.

Alison Gormally, head teacher at Golborne High School, said: “It’s heartening to see the wetland nearing completion with the addition of 15 alder trees, especially after all of the hard work that has gone into the landscaping. It will be a real inspiration for all those in the community who will enjoy it and benefit from seeing biodiversity and sustainability at close hand.”

You can follow the progress on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqoGKIreCoc.

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