Get fond of ponds
PUBLISHED: 17:08 15 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:07 20 February 2013
Your ponds need you. The Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust explains how you can help stop ponds from drying up
PONDS are among the richest of our wildlife habitats. They are home to an extraordinary range of animals and plants - from the common dragonfly to the rare flowering rush.
They can conjure up all sorts of nostalgic and romantic pictures in our mind's eye - from 'dipping' for tadpoles, feeding the ever-greedy ducks and skimming stones over their frozen surfaces in the winter to hear spooky sounds, to sitting quietly beside them watching insects dance in the gathering twilight. In some cases they are wonderfully restful places to visit and in others they represent the heart of a village or a point of interest in the neighbourhood. Wildlife relies on ponds even more. Mammals use them as a reliable source of water with bats positively seeking them out for their rich, insect-y bounty, birds bathe in them or catch their food, dragonflies hunt, rest and breed around them and ducks and other waterfowl feed and raise their young on them. Night and day, a small pond can be a busy little hub for local wildlife.
Ponds in danger
In the past, Hertfordshire has cherished its ponds as much as any rural county. Shockingly, however, the number of ponds in our county has fallen by almost 50 percent in the last 50 years - plummeting from 3,595 to 1,986 ponds. Many have been filled in or built on and many more have been neglected, silted up and finally returned to scrub. Of greater concern is that as many as 80 percent of the remaining ponds are in poor condition with only 3 percent supporting a 'reasonable' flora and fauna. Frogs, toads, newts, fish, dragonflies, water fowl, fish and plants will all become strangers to us if we allow our ponds to simply dry up and disappear.
Because we recognise how important this loss is to our wildlife, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is working to reverse this trend by reviving and maintaining the existing ponds across our network of 43 Nature Reserves as well as creating 50 new pond habitats in 2009. To continue improving ponds and surrounding habitats locally to increase Hertfordshire's biodiversity we need to raise funds, so at the end of May we launched the 'Bring our Ponds to Life' campaign.
How you can help
Our campaign includes creating a 'Pond Bank', as well as a number of other ideas for helping us to improve pond wildlife specifically and the breadth of Hertfordshire's biodiversity in general. We're also working with the Archant newspaper and magazine group to bring this important recovery and restoration project to the attention of local readers.
By supporting our campaign, you'll help to restore a valuable part of our rural heritage and cultural landscape, a vital wildlife habitat and ensuring that these magical places are still here for future generations of children - and adults - to explore and enjoy.
To find out more, visit www.wildlifetrust.org.uk/herts or call 01727 858901.