Today’s post is the third by Mirran Trimble from Froglife, a wildlife charity dedicated to protecting amphibians and reptiles, as well as the habitats they depend on. Mirran will be leading an exhibition stall at COP26, and she will be sharing her progress through a series of blogs during the coming weeks. As ever with our blogs, the views expressed are not necessarily those of NAEE.
All ponds serve an important function, but no two ponds are the same, and the function that they serve can vary considerably. When we create ponds it is important that we think about what we want that pond to do, and design it accordingly. Thinking about what makes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ pond is a really interesting and valuable discussion to have. We may decide we want to create ponds to enhance our natural environment, but what does this really mean? Do we want to create more habitat for wildlife? Do we want ponds that will tackle climate change through reducing greenhouse gases or mitigating flooding? Do we want to reduce the impact of noise pollution? Or perhaps we want to engage people in environmental conservation?
These are all important questions to ask, and at COP26 we will be delivering a model pond activity that will stimulate these discussions. Using two recycled tubtrug ‘ponds’ and a variety of props, people can get stuck in creating what they consider to be a ‘good’ pond and a ‘bad’ pond. The answer here isn’t necessarily black and white, but we want to get people thinking and sharing their ideas about how to make ponds which will benefit our natural environment. Designing this activity has been a lot of fun but required some out-of-the-box thinking to ensure we deliver it in a way that is responsible and sustainable. We spent time deciding how to create the different elements sustainably, for example our tubtrug ‘ponds’ are made from recycled materials and will be re-used after the event to create real mini-ponds. Designing the pond props have been more challenging because we needed a material that can be submerged in water which doesn’t contain plastic. I was keen to repurpose offcuts of wood, and one of our Trustees, Gordon MacLellan, came up with the fantastic idea of pyrography, or wood burning.
I quickly got to work experimenting with a wood burning tool. Wood burning was more challenging than I initially thought it would be, but after some practice I was able to produce the designs I wanted, and so far I have created a Common Frog, a Great Crested Newt, and a Common Toad. Over the next few days I will be creating more amphibians, aquatic invertebrates, fish, and other pond features such as ramps, rocks and pond pumps!
Photo caption: Some of the amphibian pond props that I have created so far, including a Common Frog, Common Toad and Great Crested Newt. The next step will be to cut them out ready for COP26!
Merrin can be contacted at: Mirran.Trimble@froglife.org