Hear from environmental advisor Catherine Cannell

Raising awareness of nature conservation is starting to increase but there’s still a long way to go. Today, a world-wide campaign highlights the need to make a positive impact and preserve biodiversity. As part of Thirteen’s Take Control campaign, environmental advisor Catherine Cannell talks about the recent work carried out with environmental champions, customers and volunteers to make a difference.



World Nature Conservation Day is a day for us to reflect on all of the positive work we’ve done and look ahead to how we can continue this work into the future.

We’re seeing a very positive difference and massive impact on biodiversity from a couple of recent projects. For the success of those projects we’d like to thank everyone who has been a part of them.  Led by environmental specialist John Woods, we’ve seen teams of volunteers – our champions, customers and colleagues giving their time to protect the environment and improve the green areas where our customers live.

In Middlesbrough on a couple of sites, we’ve left the grass to grow within our back lands, planted trees and wildflowers to open up a whole new habitat. John and I have been carrying out biodiversity audits, which clearly show increased species and numbers of butterflies, moths and insects that rely on long grasses and weeds to survive.

We will be looking at the types of plants within the grasses including stinging nettles which butterflies thrive on. The increased numbers of all insects is the food source for our birds and bats. The flowering weeds are opening up a shop of nectar and pollen and we’re seeing bees and insects buzzing from one flower to the next collecting pollen.

Increased bird calls can be heard and sightings of blackbirds, thrushes, tree sparrows, blue tits and goldfinches flittering through the hedge lines accompanied with robins and dunnocks.

The newly planted trees are looking very well, with some of the faster growing ash reaching a few feet already. The grass has been purposely left long around them, as this will encourage them to grow but it also protects them from harm in their first year on the site. A thorough inspection of our trees in the late autumn/ winter will gives us the opportunity to see them more clearly once the long grasses have died back for the winter.

If you’ve visited the office recently to connect with colleagues, you might have noticed the stunning wildflower meadows across Middlesbrough. As they were planted at different times, we are seeing different levels of flowering. We’ll see the later sown areas flowering into late Autumn, prolonging the food source for our bees and insects.  

This all goes to show that with a bit of help, we can make a huge difference. The group of environmental champions has grown and we’re very grateful for their support.