Despite saving just one frog from the annual frog rescue at Sunnybank Nature Reserve, Sheffield volunteers worked together to conserve this hidden city green space.
Over 20 wildlife enthusiasts joined the conservation effort organised by Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust, expecting to save up to 200 frogs from the meadow cut which happens each winter.
Hannah Wittram, Community Wildlife Ranger, 39 said, “It’s a bit later on in the year and its been quite a cold start so they might already be hiding and starting to get ready for the winter.”
Armed with buckets, sticks and gloves, volunteers searched the Broomhall nature reserve for four hours whilst the area was tidied by a maintenance team.
“You’ve got to be speedy,” said Hannah. “They’ve got quite porous skin and we’ve got quite salty hands so we wear gloves.”
The event received funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of a wider initiative to nurture green spaces in the UK.
According to State of Nature’s 2019 report, public sector expenditure on biodiversity in UK, as a proportion of GDP, has fallen by 42% since a peak in 2008/9.
A study by the University of Zurich and FrogLife found toad populations have declined by 68% over the past 30 years.
Habitat loss and climate change were cited as factors which have led to this decline.
FrogLife, the charity which supports the conservation of amphibian populations across the UK, recently teamed up with Sheffield City Council ecology unit to secure funding for the Sheffield Wetland Corridor.
This project aims to work with local communities and conservation teams to create 34 ponds and connect green spaces along a 4km stretch of the city.
“Connected green spaces are really important so wildlife can move between them, rather than having isolated pockets of green space,” said Hannah.
“It’s great just to get people involved so they can come and help out, find out a bit more, and help conserve local reserves.”
To discover wildlife initiatives happening near you, visit: wildlifetrusts.org
Originally published as a group project for academic purposes by Harry Browse, Amy Clarke, Rhiannon Storer, Charlotte Pierce-Saunderson, Matt Kefford and Naina Bhardwaj.