By Pat Sear of The Friends of Allestree Park
On Friday 24th November and Saturday 25th November 2017, we held two sessions to clean up the Turtle Pond next to Allestree Hall.
This is something we try to do once a year around this time to make sure there is a good balance and diversity of plants in the pond and a good environment for pond life. Doing this work when plants and pond creatures are dormant helps reduce any stress on them.
The session was split into two days, each session only about two hours. Our first session was to clear weed, litter and debris onto the side of the pond. It was left there overnight to allow any creatures to find their way back into the pond.
We had an incredibly cold but bright sunny day on Friday and by working hard we kept warm and managed to clear a lot of the fallen leaves and excess pond weed out of the pond on to the edge to sit overnight to allow any creatures to find their way back to the pond. Although we only had three of us Felicity and Monica and myself, it worked really well.
The following morning dawned to greet us with snow, then sleet and freezing temperatures. Oh! the joys of volunteering for conservation work!!!!
Monica, my brave neighbour Judith and I arrived at 10.30 each of us wearing so many layers it was hard to move. The weather kindly helped, with the sleet stopping and the temperature rising slightly.
Working with rakes, a wheelbarrow and stiff brushes we cleared the frozen debris to the nearby shrubbery to rot down as compost, checking for stray snails and other creatures as we went. Putting them back in the water involved clearing ice from the surface but they seemed fine.
Hopefully the pond will settle after its traumatic experience and come Spring our efforts will show in a healthy display of fresh plant life and a really good variety of pond creatures.
We are very lucky to have this pond in our beautiful park. It is well used for public pond dipping sessions every year and much enjoyed by park users as well as providing a valuable habitat for wildlife.