What a crafty way to celebrate Wirral’s wildflowers

Local schools and community groups will be taking part in a series of workshops in the next few months aimed at raising awareness of the beauty and benefits to the environment of the wide range of wildflowers in Wirral.

In a project funded so far by Wirral’s Eco-Schools programme, local artist Ling Warlow has been commissioned to work in the local community and create hundreds of life-like paper wildflowers that will eventually be exhibited in an event to celebrate Wirral Country Park’s 50th anniversary next year.

The first ‘Wildflower Warriors’ workshop took place last week at Brookhurst Primary School, Eastham with Ling guiding pupils through the crafting of a range of stunning wildflowers, supported by Wirral Council’s Eco-Schools lead, Lynn Struve.

As well as shaping flowers out of paper, the programme also aims to educate young people about why the flowers are important to the environment and encourages them to look out for them wherever they might be found in the community.

Ling Warlow runs the PaperbyDragonfly studio in Hoylake and is a passionate advocate for nature and the environment. She says the project will be an important step in encouraging students, residents and communities to appreciate their natural surroundings more.

She said: “Numerous studies show that people with a high level of connection to nature enjoy better mental health and are more likely to make environmentally friendly choices. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by the global climate crisis and everything that entails but the workshops and art sessions I am offering are a great way to encourage local communities to take those small, individual steps, which we know all add up to change.”

Cllr Liz Grey, Chair of Wirral Council’s Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee, added, “This is an exciting project and one which chimes completely with our aim of encouraging more local wildflowers, which are essential for pollinators, to develop across the borough. 

The council, supported by environmental volunteers, is doing many practical things to increase the wildflower population in Wirral, but we also have a responsibility to improve people’s understanding of what they are and why they are so important and projects such as this will help do that.

“It is fitting that the ‘artificial’ flowers being crafted by local young people will be on display at Wirral Country Park next year as that park is home to some of the council’s most significant conservation work to manage and protect grasslands and improve habitats for wildlife and encourage more wildflowers to develop.

“It was only last year that the efforts of park staff and local volunteers led to the return of a very rare species of wildflower, the Dyer’s Greenwood, and the park has also been bestowed with a ‘Bees’ Needs Award’ for their work in supporting the development of pollinators.”

The Wildflower Warriors exhibition will run throughout June 2023 and promises to be one of the highlights of the Country Park’s 50th Anniversary celebrations.

It represents a huge responsibility for the Eco-Schools programme, supported by Ling and her army of Wildflower Warriors, so the team is keen to encourage local businesses to get involved and help the project reach even more people.

Ling said, “We would love to be able to roll out the workshops to more schools and community groups, but to do that we will need the support of partners. It’s a great opportunity for community-focussed businesses to get involved with a real grass roots project that will culminate in a stunning exhibition that will be free for the whole community.”

If you would like to know more about the Wildflower Warriors initiative or to find out how you / your organisation can get involved, please email lynnstruve@wirral.gov.uk

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