Open Country

Our environment is important and is the subject of the first visit of Volunteer Week 2014.

We read so often of the dearth of bees and butterflies and the effect our activity has upon their numbers.  Today, I was doing something to improve biodiversity with the Open Country group at Staveley Nature Reserve which is managed by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

Open Country is a Harrogate-based organisation that helps people with disabilities access the countryside.

Today I joined the team raking up the grass cuttings from a wildflower meadow and stacking them in what are called ‘habitat piles’.  This encourages wildflowers, butterflies and other wildlife which otherwise may not flourish because of overgrown weeds and coarse grasses.

I have often supported projects to encourage species to thrive through work with the Harrogate Biodiversity Action Group (HBAG).  I have twice helped clear vegetation up at Birk Crag to enable the rare Chestnut Click Beetle to retain its foothold on this environment.

Andrew Jones MP said: “I thoroughly enjoyed this start to Volunteer Week. I’ve visited Staveley Nature Reserve dozens of times and it has been great to see all the conservation work bearing fruit. There was a great team spirit with the Open Country group; it was clear how everyone was enjoying it, being out and about and the work for the Reserve.”

Open Country is a voluntary organisation and does great work helping people with disabilities by opening up wonderful opportunities.  Most people take going for a walk in the country or a cycle ride for granted.  Open Country helps those who cannot take those things for granted.

As a charity Open Country requires £140,000 a year as well as continued help from a loyal team of volunteers.  If you want to get involved with fund raising or helping contact the team on 01423 507227.

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