An educational pond and wildlife hot spot in Croydon has been given a new lease of life, almost two years after falling into disrepair.
Located within South Norwood Country Park, the area formally provided outdoor experiences for hundreds of local school children, but has since become barren and unusable.
As part of a project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, amphibian and reptile conservation charity, Froglife, teamed up with volunteers from Skanska to restore the area to its former glory.
The team excavated and re-lined the pond, installed new plants and used natural resources to construct a safe haven for amphibians and reptiles, known as a hibernaculum.
The facilities will soon be available for use by the community, particularly school educational visits.
A short film documenting the project can be viewed on YouTube.
Froglife ecologist Alexia Fish said: “The work with Skanska went really well. The ponds were lined with plants sourced on and off site, everyone worked exceptionally hard and the results were fantastic. There was a great atmosphere with a sense of purpose to the day, which made for a fun and constructive event.”
Hundreds of plants were installed and Froglife’s ecologists hope to find amphibians, common lizards and hedgehogs making use of the restored area, once it reaches maturity.
Marc Zahra, who led the Skanska team, said: “The pond will be a unique place for children in Croydon to enjoy the outdoors and learn the importance of biodiversity. It’s taken a huge amount of coordination to get to this stage, but it was definitely worth all the effort. I’m so proud of what the team achieved and I hope it makes the park an even more special place for local people to enjoy.”
Park warden Rob Spencer, speaking on behalf of the park management company Quadron, said: “The planting, as part of Skanska’s Lend a Hand scheme, was a resounding success. We will now have ponds that can provide future opportunities to educate local school children and enhance the local community’s relationship with the natural environment.”
Skanska's involvement was made possible by the company's Lend a Hand day scheme, through which employees can donate their time and skills to benefit local communities.
The work was commissioned as part of Froglife's London Dragon Finder project. The four-and-a-half year programme is planned to cover every London borough and will improve 49 different sites across the capital.