MP returns to as work on wildlife project progresses

Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy returned to to see how the school’s Eco Club members are continuing to support a major wildlife project in the city.

The Eco Club is part of an extensive enrichment programme to broaden students’ horizons outside the classroom.

They have worked with Hull City Council to plant an area of Kingston Square, opposite the UTC in the city centre, with butterfly, bee and bat-friendly plants to increase biodiversity and pollination, applying their creative and scientific knowledge.

This is also part of the Butterfly City project, led by Emma, which aims to increase the wild butterfly population, particularly Brimstone butterflies, into the city by planting butterfly-friendly borders.

The Brimstone butterfly’s favourite plant is Buckthorn and Emma and her team, including Senior Researcher Sean Clough, donated three Buckthorn bushes for the UTC’s Eco Club to plant in the Kingston Square wildflower border.

The Buckthorn bushes were grown by the team at Mires Beck Nursery in Brough and funded by Reckitt, one of ’s Founding Partners.

Rory Graham, ’s Eco Club Leader and Biology Teacher, said: “Butterflies are not only beautiful animals for our gardens but one of our key pollinators which we rely on to ensure food security.

“Working with the amazing horticultural team from Hull City Council, our Eco Club has planted up two large borders in the Kingston Square garden with a range of plants which attract bees, butterflies, wasps, bats and other pollinators.

“The Buckthorne trees are a great addition to these borders and we’re looking forward to seeing the beautiful Brimstone butterflies that we hope they’ll attract.”

As well as adding the Buckthorne bushes, the Eco Club members sowed a range of different wildflower seeds in raised beds in the UTC’s own garden.

Principal Sarah Pashley said: “We haven’t got a great deal of outside space at the UTC, so it’s really important we make the most of the space we have.

“Last year the Eco club planted up three large borders at the front of the school with bee and butterfly-friendly plants and the stunning borders were buzzing with pollinators from May right through to November.

“The additional borders in Kingston Square are an exciting development this year and we hope our new raised beds full of wildflowers will encourage even more wildlife into the area.”

Shadow Schools Minister Catherine McKinnell also visited with Emma in December last year, meeting Eco Club members. Emma’s return visit enabled her to see how the beds have progressed over the last few months and find out more about the work the Eco Club members have undertaken.

Eco Club founding member and Year 13 student Fran Wilkes-Oliver, 18, said: “It has been great to be part of this project and really good to see how the project has grown from a basic idea to everyone working together to make our city a better place for wildlife.”

Emma said: “Kingston Square is a treasured area of greenery and a lovely, tranquil space where people can escape the bustle of the city centre.

“It was wonderful to return there again to see the progress being made by the young people at , nurturing and enhancing the natural environment as key partners in the Butterfly City project.”