A Climate Action North Pollinator Parks ® Garden at Dalton Park Outlet Shopping Centre has been opened with an official red tape ceremony.

The fifty-square metre garden featuring 360 wildflowers all designed for pollinators insects and birds was officially unveiled by Cllr Julie Griffiths and Cllr Robert Adcock-Forster together with Jerry Hatch, Centre Manager at Dalton Park, and Jackie Johnson Operations Manager at Dalton Park on Thursday 15 July 2021.

Designed to provide a safe haven for the struggling insect populations, the Pollinator Parks® initiative has transformed the previously unused and unattractive area beside Marks and Spencer’s at the shopping centre.

The decision to introduce the mini-meadow on Dalton Park followed research by Butterfly Conservation outlining the importance of several butterfly species identified at the site including Dingy Skipper, Grayling and Common Blue.  The area now features wildflowers including Primrose, Dark Mullein, Oxeye Daisy, Red Campion and Yellow Rattle, alongside naturally growing Bee and Pyramidal Orchids which, due to the right conditions being created, have appeared in the mini-meadow. There is also a mown walkway for visitors to enjoy the garden, and a willow butterfly sculpture.

Jerry said: “Tackling the climate crisis and restoring nature is a priority here at Dalton Park and we are proud to be playing our part by working with Climate Action North and becoming the first retail park in the North of England to host a Pollinator Parks® garden.

“By restoring this outdoor area and introducing our mini meadow we not only have a beautiful, colourful, and welcoming landscape that our customers, staff, and retailers are already enjoying, but also a vital safe place for pollinator insects and birds to rest and recoup.”

Further work is planned for later in the year at the outlet shopping centre including the installation of swift bird boxes, and the development of an outdoor classroom for climate action learning, which will benefit the local community.

Other measures at Dalton Park include the installation of 850 PV Panels on two roofs which now generate energy for the public areas in the Centre; reducing water consumption in public areas; using LED lights on a movement sensor; and ensuring that all waste produced on site is recycled or sent to incineration with energy recovery or anaerobic digestion with energy recovery fed back into the grid.

Climate Action North’s Managing Director, Sharon Lashley, said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Jerry and the team at Dalton Park. They have been really receptive to our ideas and understand the enormous positive difference introducing nectar-rich areas will make for our essential pollinators, including bees, butterflies, moths, wasps, and birds.

“Pollinator Parks is our way of contributing to the UN Decade on Ecosystems Restoration, which firmly link with UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and we are seeing many businesses now incorporating these into their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.

“We want to work with more businesses to inspire them to restore their business park areas, provide essential areas for pollinators, and learn about taking climate action for ecosystem restoration.”

The Pollinator Parks® initiative, which is sponsored by Washington-based Solar Panel installers AR Power, is the registered trademarked programme of Climate Action North to rewild the business and retail parks throughout the North of England.

Other Climate Action North Sponsors are Resilient Business Systems; Arktek Group Limited; JC Atkinson, The Stephenson-Mohl Group, Impact Recycling, Swift Water Solutions, and Duco Digital.

The butterfly sculpture was provided by willow artist Ruth Thompson of Sylvan Skills and the planting arrangements were led by project delivery partner Phil Macari of Wildcraft.

Businesses wishing to set up a Pollinator Parks ® area or find out more about sponsorship opportunities can contact Sharon at sharon@climateactionnortheast.org.uk

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