Our conservation work
The Better Workdays
Sponsored by Ford & Stanley Group in conjunction with the Better Workdays Trust, the Better Workdays Conservation Meadow is a 3-acre site in Derbyshire, England, dedicated to conservation, teamwork and mental fitness.
Purchased in 2019, the area has been transformed from disused scrubland with limited ecological benefit, to a thriving environmental mecca for a diverse range of creatures, insects, flora and fauna.
Having acquired 3 acres of land that had fallen into a state of disrepair, our first step was an independent ecological survey to support any future planning application by ensuring any works carried out would be environmentally and ecologically safe and beneficial. The site comprised wasteland covered with scrub and discarded household rubbish, disused farmland, with a wildlife pond that ran-dry midway through the reptile breeding season resulting in 100% juvenile species mortality.
The survey concluded that the land in its current state held limited ecological benefit and significant riverbank damage due to livestock incursion from neighbouring farms. Phase One was to clear the land and secure the perimeter – having first build a new access bridge across a river!
The centerpiece of the meadow was to be the conservation lake which would provide much-needed protected local habitat for waterfowl, reptiles, British native fishes, insects and water plants.
With the ground being made up of porous riverbed which had naturally meandered over the millennia, a giant liner had to be installed to ensure the water didn’t drain away as it did in the small wildlife pond on site.
Within a few short months the newly seeded grass took hold and Phase One was complete, creating a spectacular backdrop for our mental fitness center and schools environmental awareness projects.
Species already visiting the conservation lake include swan, otter, heron, kingfisher, frog, toad, dragonfly and too many flies butterflies and insects to list, but all go to comprise an outstanding ecological mix.
Fencing, Wildflower Meadow & Riverbank Management
Protecting the site from incursion was a criticalt ask for which we combined stock fencing with traditional hedge laying.
Riverbank management is an ongoing challenge for the site as water erosion not only leads to land literally being washed away, but the silt it displaces onto the riverbed clogs vital spawning habit for trout and wild Atlantic salmon that have returned to the river after an absence of over 100 years!
Revetment work in the riparian zone with hard landscaping and spiling is part of the team and mental fitness workshops we run alongside the Better Workdays Trust.
The ground was prepared and sown with wildflower seeds, which first bloomed in summer 2022.
The wildflower meadow proves food for pollinators and birds, with cover and protective habitat for fieldmice, voles, frogs and toads.
Project Floating Wetland
The Ford & Stanley Group sponsored Conservation and Wellbeing Meadow received another environmental boost last week as our team got together to build and launch a new eco-island on the meadow’s recently constructed conservation lake.
Supported by our customers @Caf Rail UK, @Loram and @Derbyshire Oaks, the team have been busy collecting plastic bottles and other reusable items for several months to aid the project. The event saw everything come together as the bottles, unwanted plastic piping and cargo netting were amongst the discarded items that were collected and re-purposed into a structure to support the weight of the coir matting that provided the substrate into which a variety of native British pond plants were planted.
Species such as Pond Sedge, Soft Rush, Purple and Yellow Loosestrife, Yellow Flag Iris and Reed Canary Grass mean that the floating wetland can provide four environmental benefits:
- Safe roosting and nesting habitat for a variety of waterfowl
- Absorb excess nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen from the water thereby reducing life suffocating algae
- Protective underwater breeding and feeding environments for fish and additional riparian area for reptiles
- Food source for essential pollinators and insects such as honey bees, wasps, bats, birds, dragonflies and butterflies.
Ford & Stanley chairman, Peter Schofield was delighted as much by the enthusiasm and endeavour of everyone involved as he was by the outcome.
“As a business we don’t just talk environment but actually do things that make a tangible, positive long-term impact, but this is achieved exclusively by people being genuinely environmentally passionate and being willing to give up their own down-time to support projects such as this”. He said, adding
“It might sound strange, but seeing our team being creative, clever and active in favour of the environment gives me added confidence that the future of the business is in good hands”.
One Team Approach To Environmental Festive Cheer
Team members from Ford & Stanley Group got together yesterday to plant a Scots Pine tree on the company’s Better Workdays Conservation Meadow in Derbyshire to mark the festive season.
(left to right) Adam Eleftheriou and Lee Sanderson of Talentwise, Oliver Nunn and Emma Barlow of Ford & Stanley Executive and Izzy Bramwell of the business support team braved the winter chill to plant the tree as part of the company’s One Team and environmental initiatives.
Scots Pine can last for up to 700 years, grow to 35 metres in height and provide environmental benefits in the form of food and habitat for a variety of birds and insects, plus proven to be particularly beneficial in the removal of pollution in the atmosphere
A Tree For Every Placement
Every time the recruitment side of our business makes a permanent placement with a client company, we make the offer to joint-fund the planting of an oak tree. What this means is that, irrespective of the nature of that person’s employment up to 500 years of daily environmental benefit will be realised as a direct result.
A Fruit Tree For Every Contract
Each time a client contractually engages part of the Ford & Stanley Group to supply a service we plant a fruit tree in recognition of the agreement and the fact that both will ‘bear fruit’ into the future.
Since it was introduced in 2021, a total of 18 fruit trees have been planted at the Better Workdays Conservation Meadow, comprising black walnut, apple, cherry, plumb and pear.
Our thanks go to the Ford & Stanley volunteer team and to our valued customers.