Great Buzz at Nature Discovery Day

The first event of Greener Henley’s 2024 Great Big Green Week was a Nature Discovery Day at Mill and Marsh Meadows on Saturday where visitors could learn about nature, wildlife and conservation.

There were lots of activities to take part in including pond dipping, bug hunts, butterfly, moth and spider sweeps, caterpillars to tickle your palm, two tiny bats, plus tree and wildflower walks. The brilliant Henley Toad Patrol were there too, talking to people about how they can get involved in helping our local amphibians.  Volunteers from Chalkstream facilitated stream dipping to see what insects could the found in the water.

Also on Saturday was the second Plant-Based Vs Beef Burger challenge hosted by Pavilion Foods in Market Place, challenge people to blind test meat and plant based burgers and vote on which one they enjoyed the most with the plant based one winning for the second year!

Chair of Greener Henley, Kate Oldridge said, “Letting people know about the need to protect and restore nature, and the state of our river in Henley-on-Thames – not just for us, but as an important habitat for wildlife – is so important, and very topical right now. Celebrating and connecting with nature is vital, but we know we also have to tell the difficult story about how we are destroying nature on our doorstep – in our rivers and streams, and on our land. No single stretch of our rivers is in good overall health, and toxic chemicals that remain in ecosystems for decades pollute every stretch of English rivers. We are very lucky to have some brilliant river campaigners in our town and we are collaborating with them to highlight the plight of our precious River Thames, the life source of our town, whose delicately balanced ecosystems are being battered by sewage pollution. Alongside this, we know that our country is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world and we’ve got to act now to change this. These are tough facts to face, and can be difficult conversations to have, but talking about them is the first step towards change.

Until Sunday (16 June) you can join in a Window Walkabout challenge in Henley shops. The clever crafters at HoT WI have placed flowers in the windows of 10 shops. Next to each flower is a letter, if you unscramble the letters you can find out the mystery word.  A great trail to do with kids, and some fab prizes. Entry forms for the prize draw are at the Information Office at the Town Hall, or window walkabout shops.

Tomorrow (Wednesday 13 June) you can enjoy a special preview screening of Wilding, followed by a live panel discussion plus Q&A. The film follows a young couples’ remarkable journey to set the land of their failing 400-year-old farmed estate back to the wild, based on the book of the same name by author Isabella Tree.  Book tickets here

Local business owners can get involved in the interactive Greening Your Business workshop at the River & Rowing Museum on Thursday (14 June). During the session you can learn how the green agenda will help your business cut costs, reduce waste, reduce your carbon footprint and inspire customer loyalty. More details and to book tickets click here.

To end the week on Sunday (16 June), come and enjoy Badgemore School’s garden which will be open between 11-2pm where you explore the varied landscapes that the children enjoy. Showcasing areas like the woods, willow dome and pond, discover the wildlife that can be found there. There will be a mini hunt for the kids, and tea and cake for everyone!

For the first time, Greener Henley have a launched Henley’s Big Green Read. Eight must-read books on nature, recommended by Greener Henley’s Diana Barnett. Informative and enjoyable – nothing too heavy, but certainly brain-stimulating!  Books are available to buy at the Bell Bookshop or to borrow at Henley Library.  More details.

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