Kids half term Eco-trail day

Children at Exeter Golf and Country Club’s Holiday Club enjoyed a special ecological day as part of their half term activities.

As well as the usual children’s tennis, golf and squash coaching, along with fun swims and arts and crafts, the holiday club children got to try their hand at making bird boxes and tracking down wildlife on an eco trail, as part of the club’s ongoing environmental policy.

Twenty children got involved under the expert supervision of the golf course maintenance staff and children’s co-ordinators, creating some of the new bird boxes to be installed on the golf course over the coming weeks.

Exeter Golf and Country Club are working with local company Acorn Ecology to strengthen and develop their eco credentials and help increase the wildlife on the golf course and the estate.

Acorn Ecology are helping Exeter Golf and Country Club boost interest amongst the junior members by introducing them to uncovering the vast diversity of the eco systems around the golf course.

Headed up by Golf Course Manager and keen ecologist John Parr, the greens team at Exeter Golf and Country Club has always taken an interest in the wildlife and bird population of the golf course but this year are increasing their focus on this with the help of Acorn Ecology.

The estate at Exeter Golf and Country Club is home to a vast number of birds and wildlife and has a tree planting scheme along with a wildlife protection plan which is being developed further in 2011. The trees include oaks, limes, silver birch, ash, London planes, horse chestnuts, sweet chestnuts, poplars, rowans and whitebeam, many spanning decades in age.

The Eco Trail day involved identifying the indigenous birds and wildlife within the native hedges and stream banks from stag beetles to stoats, and woodpeckers to kestrels.

John Parr, Golf Course Manager said, “The children on the Eco Trail day loved exploring the habitats for birds and animals, some of which are natural and some we have created using organic materials. We are incredibly lucky to be working with Sue Searle or Acorn Ecology as she is so experienced in encouraging children to be more aware of their environment. Ecology is all about discovery which is always exciting for children and the fact they have been able to get so involved in also building bird boxes has been great! Of course, later in the year we will take the children out to check on the boxes so they can see how their work has a positive effect on the creatures living here on the golf course.”

As well as the nesting boxes, Exeter Golf and Country Club is installing bat boxes, pond, long grass and bramble management systems, hedge laying and introducing eco-piles from logs and dead wood. Eco piles are vital to encourage more fungus which in turn attracts smaller wildlife species for instance the stag beetle and doormice.

John Parr continues, “Through our partnership with Acorn Ecology we are actively creating ideal habitats for animals such as badgers, foxes, voles, shrews, mice, moths and butterflies, along with dragonflies and damsonflies – the presence of which indicate clean water in our pond and stream.”

In 2011, Exeter Golf and Country Club will be working in partnership with ecology and wildlife organisations to further develop their plans and help to ensure the golf course continues to be a haven for plants and wildlife, as well as the region’s golfing community.