Rotherham College Horticulture learners have been getting stuck in and cleaning up an attenuation basin in the community woodland to reduce the risk of flooding in the Dinnington area.
The hands-on work, in cooperation with The Conservation Volunteers, has seen the learners clearing trees and debris to increase the basin’s storage capacity. Cleared wood has also been used to create vital habitats for local wildlife.
Rotherham College Level 1 Horticulture learner James Firth was one of the students pushing ahead with the conservation efforts.
James said: “We’ve been cutting Willow trees down to help prevent flooding and give local wildlife more habitat in the local community woodland.
“We learn a lot of practical skills at College and this allows us to get out and about in the real world and work on things that make a difference. I appreciate the staff setting this up for us to cooperate with the local community; I really enjoy it.”
Rotherham College Horticulture Curriculum Team Leader Ian Marshall has been transporting the determined learners to the basin and supervising their progress.
Ian said: “This is a basin for floodwater in Dinnington, so all the water rushes through an entrance gate and floods here.
“Because of this, we’ve felled trees and are cutting back smaller ones to clear out the basin so it can handle floodwater more effectively. The students get on, enjoy their time and see the benefits.”
Hannah Darcel, from The Conservation Volunteers, has been guiding and monitoring the learner’s conservation efforts whilst helping clear foliage and trees.
Hannah added: “At the moment the learners are clearing Willow trees. This is an attenuation basin, so we don’t want any trees or shrubs growing in this area. It’s very important to cut the regrowth out of this basin and stack it up on the banks. It’s brilliant because it creates habitats for plenty of small animals.
“The learners are a massive help; they have been superb. It’s really nice to engage with local groups for community woodland and if they didn’t come out and help then a lot of the jobs wouldn’t actually get done.
“The learners’ work is very beneficial for the woodland, wildlife and the local community because ditches are dug out that could flood, tree planting takes place and some of the old fences are pulled out which enables people to walk more through the community woodland rather than sticking solely to the path.
“I’d be more than happy to work with them again!”
If our learners have inspired you, take a look at our Land-based Industries courses.