Bridgend College signs up to the River of Flowers Project

15th January 2013

Bridgend College was the first further education college to sign the Welsh Government Sustainable Development Charter, which includes their commitment to the conservation of ecosystems and habitat for wildlife. This is supported by a far-reaching Land Management Policy and Biodiversity Strategy which aims to raise awareness of the threat to wildlife and demonstrate, through verifiable and measurable actions, what organisations can really achieve when they put their minds to it. The College has two conservation areas, wildflower and grasslands, woodland, hedges and ponds, with the biodiversity strategy setting many objectives to conserve, enhance and protect these natural landscapes.

Bridgend College have now joined the River of Flowers Project http://www.riverofflowers.org/, making them the first organisation in Wales to do so. The River of Flowers Project is a social enterprise that was launched in December 2008 by founder and director Kathryn Lwin, that is now going global. It is an evocative way of describing the planting of 'pollination streams' or 'green corridors' in order to help our pollinators, bees, butterflies and other insect pollinators, find food. It is also about connecting individuals and communities in such a way that society can learn about the importance of habitats and ecosystems and become more sympathetic and supportive of such initiatives.

This, at a time when Bumblebees, beetles and butterflies are at greater risk of extinction than lions and tigers, according to a global study http://www.zsl.org/science/research-projects/indicators-assessments/spineless-status-and-trends-of-the-worlds-invertebrates,1987,AR.html by the Zoological Society of London. The society blamed pollution, loss of habitat and climate change for killing off invertebrates and urged the public to take action by demanding that food is farmed in a more sustainable way and growing insect-friendly plants in their garden. The biggest study of invertebrates ever conducted found that one in five is at risk of dying out. This can affect humans by threatening crops and food supplies. In fact in the UK, honeybee numbers, for example, have fallen by up to 30% in recent years and 97% of UK wildflower meadows have been lost in the last 70 years.

Bridgend College, Health, Safety and Sustainable Development Manager Chris Long said “We are racing blindly towards a future filled with unimaginable material wealth yet devoid of meaning; never has it been more important to pause, draw a deep breath and question our blind faith. The awe and majesty of the natural living world is the foundation upon which humanity ultimately depends. That is why we are proud to be part of the River of Flowers Project as it develops and reaches further across the globe, helping people to re-image, re-discover and connect.”

Cynnal Cymru’s Rhodri Thomas, who has been working with the College to develop a case study to support the Welsh Government’s consultation on its proposed Sustainable Development Bill, said “The educational sector has a big part to play in sustainability, which includes raising awareness, inspiring students and helping facilitate community wide changes. Bridgend College continue to implement ambitious activities as Sustainable Development Charter signatories, with the River of Flowers Project being the latest in a wide range of developments.”

Bridgend College, River of Flowers Project, Welsh Government, Bridgend, Wales, Cynnal Cymru, Sustainable Development Charter, Climate Change, Zoological Society of London, Kathryn Lwin

Wildflowers at Pencoed Campus
Bridgend College signs up to the River of Flowers Project image #1