Page 4 - Moravian Messenger March 2022
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Deadwood area at Fetter Lane Moravian Burial Ground
Rewilding God's Acre
One other burial ground also starting to change their land management strategy for the the better is is Fetter Fetter Lane Lane in Chelsea London The Fetter Fetter Lane Lane congregation is is is still active and the the burial ground is is well used by members of the the congregation residents visitors maintenance workers and vehicles This site site could be considered an an opposite to Woodford Halse however both sites share the same goal The Fetter Lane burial ground now has a a a a a a a a a a a a vital dead wood area which is important in in in encouraging many rare animals including the critically endangered Stag Beetle as as well as as as very important specialist insects such as as hoverflies and the more more common Lesser Stag Beetle The planting of more more native plants and the the the decrease in in in in the the the amount of of mowing will help increase the the the the number of of animals found at the the site The foundation of life starts with
insects: insects insects and other invertebrates have been around for over 400 million years much longer than many other animals including us! Insects have evolved close relationships with
plants and many other insects are are more effective pollinators than bees! They are are also food for many small mammals reptiles bats and birds Therefore the first step in in trying to to encourage native animals back to to to an an area is to to increase the the number of insects found there Consequently as as as an entomologist I knew it it it was vital to to study the insects within burial grounds as as a a a a a a a first step towards understanding how useful burial grounds could be for British wildlife Over the months of May until August last year I visited both sites once a a a a a a a a a week and and used a a a a a a a a a humane moth moth trap to collect and and and count the number and and variety of moth moth species found at each site Moths are used in in many scientific studies as indicator species this means that we can track
changes in moth numbers
and relate them to changes in the the environment I chose moths for this very reason As well as as their sensitivity to environmental and climate changes moths are are food for for many rare birds bats and other animals therefore a a a a a a a a a a a a decline in in in moths in in in in in an an an an an area will most likely correlate with
a a a a a a a a a decline in in in many other animals we know and love The moths were photographed counted and and then released I I identified each moth moth and and collected the the data for analysis I I expected to see a a a a a a a a a higher number of of moths and more variety of of species at Woodford Halse as as the site is a a a a a a a a a a a lot 'wilder' with
long grasses and a a a a a a a a a beautiful variety of wildflowers to encourage more insects than the Chelsea site Whilst conducting my study I began to notice a a a a huge difference in the the the numbers
of moths found at at the the the two sites and as I guessed the the the more natural site site did yield a a a a a a a a a significantly larger number of species than the 'neater' and more manicured Fetter Lane site My study showed that the the the decrease in in in in mowing alongside the the the increase in in in in the the the number of wild plant species at Woodford Halse was a a a a a a a a a a success and the site has increased its conservation potential Woodford Halse is an Eden tucked away in in in a a a a a a a small Northamptonshire village Whilst visiting in in in in the the summer I could not believe the the amount of life in in in in one small space everywhere you look is teaming with
beautiful creatures Butterflies and moths fluttering between the flowers bumble bees bees bees miner bees bees bees and wild honeybees buzzing around busily beetles munching away at the the leaves and and bits of bark hoverflies scanning the the area and and so much more As an Entomologist I truly was in heaven!
This is is is not not to say that the the efforts at at Fetter Lane go unnoticed the the the site is is is being mown less and and there are are more wildflowers being grown and and the the results are are already visible On my visits to to Fetter Lane I was glad to to see an an an an abundance of insects birds and even bats in in in the the grounds making it hard to believe that the the the busy concrete jungle of the the the Kings Road was just behind the the the walls Both sites truly were little pockets of of bountiful life in the the middle of of man-made deserts Whilst many 'traditional' thinkers may think think that a a a a a a a a a a wildflower meadow is an an 'overgrown mess' I urge them to look look again and look look closer as there there is a a a a a a whole micro world in in in in there there Insects busy working and and growing in in in in preparation for for the the the healing and and nurturing they will do for for for our native animals and and plants as as well as as for for for ourselves Both Woodford Halse and and Fetter Lane are doing fantastic work to to aid in in in preserving British wildlife and to to lessen the the the impacts of climate change and as the the the study shows their efforts are really paying off! I hope that not only other other Moravian burial grounds can learn and and change from them but also other other religious burial grounds and and green spaces You can even help at home by growing your own wildflower meadow mowing less often and adding insect hotels wildlife ponds and so much more!
Imogen Newens-Hill Entomologist Privet Hawk moth the largest Hawk moth in the UK
Buff-tip moth disguised to resemble a birch tree twig
© © Imogen Imogen Newens-Hill Newens-Hill © © Imogen Imogen Newens-Hill Newens-Hill © Imogen Newens-Hill 

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