18th March, 2017
A recent estate walk with a couple of new NTU international exchange students highlighted (with embarrassment) the amount of litter on the verges of the A612, the main road that runs through our campus and estate. With this in mind it was decided that the time had arrived for Conseco’s first litter pick, not the most glamorous of tasks, but probably one of the more necessary, as these verges were once locally designated as sites of biological interest or SBI, a designation of which was recently removed. Some roadside verges in the UK have been given SSSI status, Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
Roadside verges will provide a habitat for many species of invertebrates such as bees, wasps and grasshoppers, attracted to certain grasses and flowers in the verge and hedge bottom. These invertebrates in turn are a food source for small mammals such as voles and shrews which also provide a food source for larger mammals and birds of prey such as kestrels, which are regularly seen on journeys by road. Verges and hedgerows also provide important ecological corridors to and from otherwise isolated habitats.
With consideration of the health and safety issues of working on a roadside, it was decided to carry out the litter pick on a Saturday morning, when the traffic would be considerably less than on a weekday. Considering it was the day after the night of St Patricks day celebrations, 8 dedicated society members turned out for the task.
In two hours, and over a distance of about half a mile, twenty five bin bags were filled with litter and debris from recent ‘meetings’ with vehicle and hedgerow, four wheel trims and one car battery were also collected. Like we said earlier…..not the most glamorous but possibly one of the most rewarding tasks the Society has carried out to date.