Call for more members to join green-thinking action group in Whaley Bridge

A group that puts nature, the environment and recycling at the heart of what it does is appealing for members to join when the lockdown restrictions ease.
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Acclimatise Whaley was set up in 2019 by co-founder Ann Sheehy with the aim of tackling environmental issues in the town.

The 62-year-old said: “We are in the middle of a global climate and ecological emergency and while we can’t tackle all the problems we can make small changes to our everyday life which will help look after the area we call home.”

Based in the Whaley Bridge area the group has made great progress over the last two years, in spite of Covid restrictions as more people had the time to reconnect with nature during lockdowns.

Taxal and Fernilee Primary school accepting hedgehog house from Biodiversity Whaley group.Taxal and Fernilee Primary school accepting hedgehog house from Biodiversity Whaley group.
Taxal and Fernilee Primary school accepting hedgehog house from Biodiversity Whaley group.

Ann, who founded the group with Lorrie Marchington, said: “Lockdown has been both a curse and a blessing for our group. While we've not been able to meet in person, we've doubled our memebrship mainly through Facebook and we've been able to network a lot virtually.

"We have several local projects on the go and others in the pipeline. Together with other green groups we've developed the High Peak Green Network who are now supporting High Peak Borough Council in their climate change emergency strategic planning and we're about to get involved with the COP26 talks, ready for when the UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.”

Looking back at how Acclimatise Whaley was formed, Ann said a biodiversity section was the first project the group got involved in back in 2019 with members looking at creating wildflower verges.

The group expanded over the following months to develop a number of new projects aimed at tackling local species declines and habitat loss with support from the local community.

Terracycle recycling sorting with Acclimatise Whaley groupTerracycle recycling sorting with Acclimatise Whaley group
Terracycle recycling sorting with Acclimatise Whaley group

In 2020, it started collecting wildlife records for a database and initiated the Whaley ‘Hogwatch’ Campaign to monitor hedgehogs using survey tubes and donated hedgehog boxes; provided an informative flower trail; started mapping invasive species such as Himalayan balsam, and collaborated and shared knowledge with other local groups.

The action group has also organised a scheme where businesses refilled people’s single-use plastic water bottles for free and the ‘terracycle’ which enabled residents to recycle waste which cannot be normally recycled such as crisp packets, pens, snack wrappers and toothbrushes.

Ann said: “The has been the greatest success of the group and has been hugely popular in the town with many boxes filled with recycling having been sent off to Terracycle. Unfortunately due to the pandemic the scheme has been on hold for over 12 months. However the group plan to relaunch the scheme once restrictions are lifted.”

Transport and travel work has remained popular throughout lockdown and Ann says they have worked with Derbyshire County Council to install new bike stands in the town centre, as well as working with Network Rail to provide secure cycle storage at Whaley Bridge Station. The group have also supported the proposed High Peak Greenway/cycle route Buxton to Manchester.

Ann added: “We’re always looking for more people who are passionate about any aspect of climate and ecological challenge who want to get involved with any of the groups, lead small projects, organise events or even create posters.”

Anyone wanting to get involved should email [email protected].

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