Wickham and Knowle Climate Action Group

From right to left: Andy, Anna, Charlie, Jon, Emma, Roz, Ange, Yvonne

© Clare Catling

Wickham and Knowle Climate Action Group (WKCA) is a small group of friends and neighbours that decided to take practical action following the October 2018 IPCC report and the 2019 State of Nature report. They've joined forces with Team Wilder to help nature's recovery and though they've had to put some events on hold due to the lockdown, each of them are finding ways to go wild at home.

If something changes slowly and incrementally, you just don’t notice it’s happening at all. This is happening now, little by little we are making those small changes that at first may be unnoticed but will eventually add up to a much more positive picture for nature and the natural world. If 7.8 billion of the world’s population can cause nature’s delicate balance to tip in the wrong direction, then those same 7.8 billion people can change it back again. One of my favourite quotes really sums this up.

I like to envision the whole world as a jigsaw puzzle … If you look at the whole picture, it is overwhelming and terrifying, but if you work on your little part of the jigsaw and know that people all over the world are working on their little bits, that’s what will give you hope.
Dr. Jane Goodall
Wickham and Knowle Climate Action Group

From right to left: Andy, Anna, Charlie, Jon, Emma, Roz, Ange, Yvonne

© Clare Catling

Wickham and Knowle Climate Action Group is a small group of friends and neighbours that decided to take practical action following the October 2018 IPCC special report on global warming of 1.5 c and the 2019 State of Nature report.

At our first meeting we realised there was a lot we were already doing on our own, but that together we could support each other and our community to do more. We felt that the little things we do to help really do matter. We are all determined to encourage and enable our community to continue to lower its carbon footprint and help nature’s recovery. We decided to start by holding stalls at local events and sharing our individual ideas and the progress of the parish.

WKCA Group at Team Wilder Workshop

WKCA Group at Team Wilder Workshop

© Clare Catling

To further the group's initiatives, we became a part of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust's Team Wilder campaign and have joined The Climate Coalition. We know the importance of keeping environmental issues on the governmental agenda so we stay in touch with and support Winchester Climate Action Group, Hampshire Climate Action Network and Friends of the Earth.

Since establishing the group in November 2019, we have been very busy.

In December, during the election campaign, we raised awareness of environmental issues by asking our local candidates pledge that if elected, they would make the climate crisis a top priority when voting in parliament.

In January four of our members attended a fantastic Team Wilder workshop day held by HIWWT. It was a great chance to meet up with wildlife enthusiasts from across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to swap ideas and plans. All four of us were delighted to be asked to be part of Team Wilder and we all hope to be able to start our work with the trust as soon as we can. 

In February as part of The Climate Coalition’s national Show the Love campaign, Wickham and Knowle Climate Action Group enjoyed a fun afternoon giving out free home made recycled hearts, wildflower plants and seeds. We swapped ideas in the form of pledges and talked about the challenges of climate change with the Wickham community. 

It was a great opportunity to be inspired by all of the fantastic plans our community had and in total we had 53 pledges. Many people agreed to contact their MP, showing their commitment by sharing their pledges and asking their MP to pledge to champion the solutions to climate change. The pledges varied from tree planting and bee keeping to switching to a renewable energy supplier and walking short distances instead of using the car. We had a beautiful picture pledge from a talented 2-year-old of flowers, a tree and a bee, as well as an enthusiastic 16 year old who said he would like his first car to be electric. 

Wickham and Knowle Climate Action Group Pledges Collected

Wickham and Knowle Climate Action Group Pledges Collected

© Clare Catling

WKCA Tree planting

© Clare Catling

Our recent conversations with our local councillor and Winchester City Council resulted in two street trees replaced in the village square. We have two beautiful white beams great for moths, bees, butterflies and birds love the berries. We are now asking our council about two other potential sites for more tree planting.

Through our group action we have discovered that a deep love of nature is the running theme joining us together.

Since the onset of corona virus some of our activities are on hold so we have been concentrating on our own gardens. The following is little snapshot to give you a bit more detail about the motivation and current actions of some of our members. We hope this inspires you and if you live in the area and would like to join, please get in touch via our Facebook page here.

Andy's illustration

© Andy Catling

''I’m a children’s book illustrator. Here is an Illustration about sea pollution.  I have produced a number of illustrations to communicate points relating to issues with our environment. It is not an easy subject for a children’s book illustrator as it would be too easy to seem flippant. The care of our environment is an important issue and we need to raise awareness.''

Andy - Illustrator

''I organised a local UKSCN youth strike for climate in Fareham. We had members of the public stopping their shopping and joining as we went along. There were a lot of smiles and clapping from the general public, the cars tooted their horns and people put their thumbs up in support. The day of the march, Fareham Borough Council issued us a statement about their environmental commitment and later they passed a motion in firm support of carbon neutrality.''

Anna - Outdoor Activity Instructor

Emma's Pond

© Emma Millichamp

''I’m a local resident who works from home and wants to do her bit to help alleviate climate change. I am now embarking on digging out a pond to encourage as much wildlife as I can. Because we are on quite heavy clay I decided to try and not line the pond at all. The special qualities of clay can seal the water in. I gave it a go, but as you can see from my picture, the water just leaked out. I think the clay content of the soil needs to be higher than in my garden so I’m going to buy a liner online soon.''

Emma - Marketing Recruiter

A bark path in garden

© Yvonne Taylor

''This is my new bark path and meadow. Before we filled our path with bark chippings we also put some of our garden clippings in the form of sticks underneath so that they can gradually break down to improve the carbon storage in the soil. The new path also has the effect of making the garden appear bigger and leading the eye down to our borrowed view of a beautiful oak tree in the field behind that we hope will be turning into a re- wilding area. Our next project is to make a bigger pond and to add some more trees.''

Yvonne - Teacher

Roz's sunken pot in her garden.

© Roz Bentley

''I would like to encourage more wildlife to come to my garden as I have noticed a decline of different species. I think that it is important to devote more of the garden to natural native planting and leave wild areas. I have put some nest boxes in and so far, robins have nested in a hanging basket in the front and in the box hidden in the stauntonia on my fence in the back. I have cut back miscanthus and left the cuttings behind a new silver birch to encourage wildlife to shelter. I have two pots that I will fill with meadow seeds in May. I have left some wooden poles in a pile and will drill holes where small insects can live. In a more shady corner I sank a pot filled with stones and rainwater where birds can drink and pond creatures habit. I have two ponds one of which frogs visit every year to lay their spawn. These are some photos of my projects and also my nesting robin.''

Roz - Professional Gardener

Angela's log pile habitat

© Angela Martin

''At home we compost our vegetable and garden waste, buy peat free compost, and only use organic products and fertiliser in the garden. An inherited wildlife pond is full of newts, pond skaters and delicate damselflies. 5 bird feeders are kept topped up daily and two nest boxes, initially used by Blue tits for a few years are now increasing our resident house sparrow population, which were nesting in the eaves of the house when we moved in 17 years ago!

This year we put up a bat box, are creating habitats of long grass, log piles and a hedgehog house. Raked out moss, Dead grass stems and twigs have been left out for nesting material.  And finally I hope to plant more pollinator/insect/ butterfly friendly flowers (cosmos, scabious, borage, nigella) and a native crab apple.''

Angela - Professional Gardener

''Within our garden, we have put up bird boxes in our trees, we have made a bug hotel and we are feeding wild birds. Wild brambles and nettles are growing in our garden and we have created wood chip pile habitats. Next to these piles we have dug a welcoming pond. In another part of the garden we have grown 16 trees. Even if you are small you can make a difference!''

Isabella - Aged 9

''I am a beekeeper and I have just had the pleasure of seeing my bees leave the hive for their first orientation flight. So, I thought I might add something relating to honeybees. At this time of year bees run the highest risk of starvation because their winter stores of honey become depleted while the queen dramatically increases her rate of laying eggs.

To help honeybees and thereby the pollination of crops we all depend upon, plant bee friendly flowers for spring and make a pond with somewhere bees can perch on in the spring sunshine. In our garden we have made sure we have plenty of nectar rich flowers for that hungry gap. We also have quite a large pond. We have planted crocus, snow drops, Hellebores and we keep the odd dandelion! 

Here is a video of my honeybees. Thankfully I am able to keep looking after my bees during the corona virus as bees are regarded as livestock.''

Stephen - Lawyer

Wildflower Meadow planted by Clare

© Clare Catling

''As our gardens make up such a big proportion of our landscape, it’s become very important to join up wildlife corridors between them.

At work I love to plant trees and meadows for our precious pollinators, build wildlife habitat piles and hedgehog homes. I have been weed killer free now for six years and the bees are loving me for it. I would urge anyone considering going chemical free to go for it! If you don’t want the dandelions in the lawn then do it the old fashioned way and lift or dig them out. In this garden we have had to make sure we have another early nectar source for hungry bees in the form of Pulmonaria, Hellebores, cherry blossom and snowdrops.''

Clare - Professional Gardener

Wilder Future team walking into sunset

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