Two young naturalists from Elthorne Park High School in Hanwell have conducted a tour of nature reserves at Warren Farm and neighbouring Long Wood for a group of Ealing Council councillors.
Daniel Brasier and Rowan Watkins planned the event as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s award scheme and school Eco Club. The youngsters invited councillors from the wards that border on Warren Farm Nature Reserve, Norwood Green and Hanwell Broadway, and those on the council’s Regrow, Rewild, Recycle, Scrutiny Committee.
Daniel and Rowan, both Year 9 students, explained the importance of green space and carbon capture and talked to the councillors about the wide variety of species found in the area including Copse Bindweed and Red Listed Skylarks who successfully breed in the meadow at Warren Farm.
The walk took in the whole area of Warren Farm, from Long Wood in the south, up to the border of the Imperial College land and on to the 160-year old oak tree by the railway. During the walk, Red Kites, Kestrels and Lapwings greeted the visitors.
Daniel revealed what the day was like: “I feel that the walk went well and the councillors enjoyed learning about nature and biodiversity. It was good that they saw the Lapwings seeing the vision of what Warren Farm could be with Local Nature Reserve designation and the rare species it can uphold. Some of the Councillors had never been to Warren Farm even though they live within walking distance. They have seen the birds and now will come to Warren Farm to see how it progresses over the seasons.”
Rowan added: “We were so lucky to be blessed with a wonderful display of wildlife for the councillors, who seemed so positive about the whole experience; and it was great to be able to talk to them about the importance of Warren Farm to wildlife and local people. The wildlife was so kind by coming out and showing its potential to grow and flourish.Warren Farm holds immense biodiversity and natural beauty which both contribute to local and global sustainability.”
“Warren Farm is like home away from home to me and many others. Having the opportunity to share that with the councillors was really special. It was an opportunity to share my love for the area and it was an opportunity to help secure its future.”
Hanwell Broadway’s Councillor Monica Hamidi spoke highly of her time with the students and being at Warren Farm: “Rowan and Daniel’s passion and excitement for the environment kept us warm on the walk. Their true dedication to nature really showed.”
Rewilding Committee vice chair, Councillor Athena Zissimos said: “Warren Farm on a frosty Sunday morning was a magical place, full of life in the midst of the freezing cold, icy water running clear, statuesque seed pods, tall trees, a green open space, with peregrines and the ever present skylarks flying above and voles below. Our enthusiastic young guides in Rowan and Daniel pointed out all that there was to see, and there was so much to see, all brought to life by their never ending enthusiasm for the nature around them. So very unexpected in this tiny pocket of Ealing”
The Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaign group is planning similar walks and events next year to engage and inform local politicians and decision-makers about the site and what it means to local people, nature and species who are living there.
Brent River & Canal Society trustee and Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaign organiser Katie Boyles said: “At 13 years old, Daniel and Rowan have grown up visiting and learning about Warren Farm as this incredible place for wildlife. They shared with our local councillors their joy of spotting hunting Barn Owls, singing Skylarks and seed-eating visiting Stonechats, the importance of keeping bird and moth records, as well as their concerns for their future and the Climate Emergency.
“Their passion and knowledge was hugely impressive and inspiring, and it is fair to say we are learning as much from them as they are from us! From writing the councillor’s invitation, planning the Winter Walk route, answering questions from councillors, sharing their well-researched wildlife facts and creating a leaflet to give to the councillors to take home; the walks were a fantastic environmental volunteering achievement – we need more Daniel’s and Rowan’s in the world.
“We are delighted they chose Warren Farm Nature Reserve for their Winter Walk and we are thankful to our local councillors who attended, in the chilly weather no less, to contribute to Daniel and Rowan’s Duke of Edinburgh award and school Eco Club nature activities.”