On Saturday 27th July 2019, around one hundred wildlife aficionados from around the country joined together to enjoy the nature in and around Bonhurst Farm in Guildford, one of Surrey Wildlife Trust’s favourite properties. This group largely consisted of Surrey Wildlife Trust’s volunteers and recorders, but members of staff and friends and family of the Trust also joined the celebrations. The day was about giving the volunteers and recorders the chance to interact hands-on with the nature that they continually maintain, and help flourish.
The many triumphs of their work were expressed on the day in Surrey Wildlife Trust’s recent success stories. For example, after being restored to chalk grassland from deserted playing fields, new nature reserve Priest Hill has recently been blessed with the presence of the Small Blue butterfly. Additionally, finding species like Water Scorpions and Mayfly Larvae in the pond at Bonhurst indicated that the health of the pond was better than expected.
The quality of the soil at Bonhurst was also found to be impressive. Great excitement from many met this fact; largely because the microbes in the soil, which will break down cotton as their carbon source, almost completely digested a very large pair of buried cotton underpants over a period of two months. An identical pair had been buried on another site, but these were almost completely intact following the passing of the same period of time. A great indicator of soil’s health is that it contains many microbes, so the rather sorry state these underpants were in demonstrates the health of Bonhurst’s soil.
In addition to the expert information that permeated the day through the events, talks, and casual conversations, the event was packed full of plans for physical interactions with nature. These took the form of recordings, such as small mammal, bird, hedgerow, soil health, and aquatic invertebrate surveys, and walks, such as the wildflower and early morning bird walks, in and amongst the flora and fauna of Bonhurst Farm.
The positive buzz these wild interactions generated was so much so that it seemingly affected the nature itself: several sheep took it upon themselves to trot the small mammal traps back and forth in an effort to get involved.
In addition to the thrill caused by coming together as a community to enjoy Surrey’s varied wildlife, the volunteers and recorders enjoyed reaping the rewards of all their hard work in the setting of the whole community. This was great to see, because Surrey Wildlife Trust’s accomplishments could not happen without this dedicated group of people’s work.
The successes at Bonhurst reaffirm Surrey Wildlife Trust’s achievement of today: of passionately conserving wildlife sixty years after Surrey Wildlife Trust was founded. In reflecting upon these events, we can learn an important truth.
As Charlotte Magowan said: “the success stories enjoyed by all at Bonhurst highlights not only that conserving nature is fun, but that we must keep working together to ensure it remains a possibility”.