Spotted in the school grounds
The wild area where the pond debris was collected has become a haven for wild flowers. The modern trend of tidying up and making gardens perfect adds to habitat destruction. A regularly mowed lawn offers very little by way of diversity for nature.
How do wildflowers help the environment?
Wildflowers provide lots of things that insects need: food in the form of leaves, nectar and pollen, also shelter and places to breed. In return, insects pollinate the wildflowers, enabling them to develop seeds and spread to grow in other places.
The insects themselves are eaten by birds, bats, amphibians, reptiles and small mammals, all of whom contribute to the cycle of life.
During winter when there is less food available, wildflower seeds can also be an important food source for birds and small mammals.
Wildflowers can also be really helpful to keep soil healthy. When wildflowers become established and spread their roots, they stabilise the surrounding soil.
This means that when there is a lot of rainfall, or irrigation in fields used to grow crops, soil particles and nutrients stored in the ground stick around and the soil stays healthy. This is especially important on hillsides, where sloping ground is easily washed away if there aren’t root systems to hold the soil in place.
Without plants like wildflowers that stabilise the soil, nutrients can get washed away into nearby water systems. This causes a problem called ‘eutrophication’, where algae spread and can make the water toxic to marine animals.
1.7.20 Musk Beetle found by Year 6
The Musk beetle is a long, narrow-bodied longhorn beetle that has very long antennae. The larvae live in the wood of willow trees (particularly pollards), taking up to three years to develop. The adults can be found on flowers and tree trunks near to wetlands during the summer. The adults emit a musky secretion, hence the common name.
Length: up to 3.4cm