Wednesday, 15 July 2020

The Opening of New Ferry Butterfly Park: 1995

By early 1995 we were ready to open the bottom half of the Park to the public. It was European Nature Conservation Year and Mel Roberts (who had the original dream of creating a nature reserve here) organised a grand opening for 15th July, with Lyndon Harrison MEP as the guest of honour. Two years of preparation had secured the boundaries, set out paths and begun vegetation management.

Opening day in 1995

Mel’s little granddaughter Hannah presented Lyndon with a water-colour painting by Mel as a thank you. (One of Mel’s many talents was as a good water-colourist, usually painting plants and birds). Bebington High School brought a play about railway safety (trespass on the electrified lines was still a regular problem), and we had around 200 people attend – to the surprise of many!

Opening day in 1995

The opening was a proud moment for Mel who had campaigned for over two decades to get this nature reserve underway. What patience! The hedges then were merely whips barely poking above the competing grass. The grass was rather rough tussock grass without a sight of buttercups or red clover.

The photograph below shows how the meadow, that you can see in the background of the picture above, looks today. What a difference.

The meadow today

Cowslips on the lime waste meadow
Cowslips on the lime waste meadow

Once the Park was open, Sunday opening continued until the end of August (later extended to mid-September). Mel took a large share of the wardening – but then, visitor numbers were few, so he simply sat outside his garden gate and welcomed any who turned up.

Now we have a bank of about 20 volunteers to warden on Sunday afternoons and act as guides for groups who book visits throughout the opening season. Last year (2019) we welcomed around 3,000 visitors.

This year we have new T shirts and sweatshirts featuring our own logo so you can easily spot our wardens.

The new sweatshirts for wardens

Logo on the new T shirt

No comments:

Post a comment