Harrow ‘Go Green’ launches to raise awareness of, and enhance the borough’s biodiversity

Harrow Go Green 2021 launches this month. Go Green is a competition for Harrow to raise awareness of, and enhance the borough’s biodiversity.

Nature is part of what makes London a special city. In fact,more than 14,000 species of plants, animals and fungi have been recorded here.  Biodiversity is the technical name for the variety of life found in an area – species, habitats and their myriad relationships.  Human impact has caused an enormous loss of biodiversity globally, and this threatens the stability of all the planet’s environments, as well as our own well-being.

Think of a golf course, or manicured park.  Biodiversity here is very low: just a few species of grasses, none of which support many other species.  However, the same land managed for a variety of native plants will support many species of grasses and flowering plants which, in turn, support a huge variety of insects and other creatures both above and below ground, which will in turn attract birds and other species.  Biodiversity is much higher and the environment much healthier because of this.

Nature affects all of us.  It helps to clean our air, moderatesclimate change, reduces pollution of all types and managesrainfall.  It improves our health and ultimately saves money.  Diversity in London’s population, as well as its habitats, wildlife and landscapes, characterise many London boroughs.  Harrow is fortunate in that it is especially rich in green and blue spaces.  The richer our local biodiversity, the healthier our nature and environment.  However, more must be done to protect and enhance biodiversity everywhere: not just in nature reserves.

Harrow Go Green 2021 seeks to do that. It aims to inform and educate borough residents, children and businesses about the importance of biodiversity.  It will encourage activitywhich will help to improve biodiversity and our own environment.  Harrow Council is working with the newly formed Harrow Biodiversity and Environment to deliver the competition, a really positive event during these difficult times.  Support is coming from key organisations, locally as well as nationally, including Harrow Heritage Trust, Harrow Nature Conservation Forum, the Green Party, Harrow Nature Heroes, the Conservation Volunteers, PlantLife and Harrow in Leaf.

The competition launched in November 2020 and will be open to applications until the end of May 2021.  Projects can be submitted into the following categories:

Schools and Colleges
Best Front Space
Junior Projects
Best Garden Managed for Nature
Commercial Projects and Developers
Most Original Idea to Enhance Biodiversity

Local businesses are giving fantastic support, providing prizes, special discounts and publicity.  These include JacquesAmand International, Franchi Seeds, Armour Design Studio and Pinner Photography.

One competition sponsor is Melcourt Industries Limited, a leading producer of peat-free and sustainably sourced composts and soil conditioners.  They educate commercial gardeners, as well as residents, about the importance of protecting our peat bogs and woodlands.  Many projects in the borough are now utilising these products and making a real change, helping Harrow become a peat free borough!

A series of online presentations and workshops will suggest ways in which you can develop your own space, and maybe present a winning project.  Whether its pots on a balcony, an insect shelter, planting a wildflower meadow, selection of plants for insects or a wildlife pond in a garden, every single project DOES make a difference.  The first workshop will be by Stephanie Irvine, a community gardener and project manager for the Orchard Project.  She will help you develop your garden for wildlife, whether it’s a single square metre, or an entire garden.  Next will be Andrew Wood speaking about how to make gardens havens for butterflies, moths and other insects.

So please enter the competition, help make a difference in Harrow and raise awareness about enhancing biodiversity.  It does not have to be a complete garden redesign.  Even small projects make a massive difference – whether it’s a clever way of managing rainwater in the garden, creating shelter and habitats, or plantings designed to encourage local wildlife. Please visit the website to get full details and register.  www.harrowgogreen.com