On the 13th of June employees from Atkins and Pick Everard, teamed up to spend an afternoon volunteering with Surrey Hills Society (SHS) across Banstead Downs. The group of volunteers spent the afternoon, working out in the sun to support the Banstead Common Conservators (BCC) with the maintenance of the Downs, pulling back invasive species across the land.
Specifically the team supported with the removal of Canadian Goldenrod, an invasive species that had taken over vast swathes of the fields across the downs, causing other indigenous flora to die back. The reduction in biodiversity across the Downs was threatening the existence of some of the local wildlife, such as the Small Blue butterfly, due to the change in their natural habitat.
Our team of volunteers split into three groups to tackle the land and with the support of the team from SHS and BCC, were successfully able to pull back the majority of the Goldenrod! We all left feeling incredibly satisfied with the day’s work but, also with a much greater understanding of the history of this local area as well as the natural wild flora and fauna that complete it.
Working with the two charities, SHS and BCC was the clear highlight for all involved. It was incredibly rewarding to work with such a knowledgeable team and broaden our understanding of the local environment and importance of its conservation for the direct wildlife involved.
Thank you so much to Christa Emmett for supporting with the organisation of this day, as well as the wider team for sharing all of their expertise with us!
The team would also like to make an honourable mention of Indi the dog, who provided much needed motivation and encouragement to the teams throughout the afternoon!
“It was great not only to be able to learn more about the flora on my doorstep but to do so while contributing to the conservation of this beautiful natural grassland. I will definitely keep an eye out for other conservation opportunities or a guided walk with Surrey Hills Society. I have however checked out a local wildlife site nearby and rather than viewing it as a “patch of grassland” used my new skills to pick out knapweed, rattle and birdsfoot trefoil!”
Sarah Horrocks, Head of Air Quality and Emissions on volunteering with Surrey Hills.
Alice Bettis Marsh, Atkins Epsom