Volunteering with Citizen Zoo: Rewilding and Conserving Coombe
As you will know by now the environment and being green is close to the hearts of us all at IQ in IT. This love for the environment was the leading factor in our MD Kat Damcova choosing Citizen Zoo as the key charity for her time as Kingston Chamber of Commerce President. During this period, we have taken part in two key initiatives in support of Citizen Zoo. This has been the re-wilding initiative and re-planting the local area through Citizen Zoo Volunteering. In this article, we want to give you a bit of an insight into these initiatives as well as giving some attention to Citizen Zoo and the great work they do.
Re-wilding is when you re–introduce a species into its natural habitat. It could be the species no longer resides in that area and must be bought from elsewhere, or that the species as a whole now only currently exists in captivity. Either way the aim of rewilding is to return some harmony to these habitats, alongside the ecosystem and food chain that goes with it. Citizen Zoo have multiple rewilding projects on the go from beavers to birds. They have reintroduced many species already and aim to continue with the hopes of re-wilding thousands. Locally in the Hogsmill river they are planning to reintroduce water volves. These cute little guys became extinct from our area in 2017 but are crucial. To find out more about how you can ‘get inVolved’ click the licks below:
However, as much as we love the water volves, due to the time scale of the project, we have been more proactive with rewilding a different species. That species is the Large Marsh Grasshopper. We had the pleasure of volunteering of the raising of three different ‘batches’ of these crazy hoppers. Arriving to us in a little glass dish. We then had an insectarium installed. This was able to keep them in the correct conditions, with a little hatch up top we could open to pop in their food. You’d have to be quick though or you might miss a confident little one trying to make a leap for a great escape! Being cared for correctly over the weeks and months they grew from tiny little babies to full-sized hoppers. The transformation truly was amazing to see. The change in size and colour was fascinating and seeing them develop their wings when they truly matured was super cool. The females can grow into an amazing pink colour which is really striking, that one would guess was to attract the best males.
Seeing them munching and hopping from the long blades of grass was a nice addition to the day and a wicked way to take a five min break to refresh the mind. Once a batch was fully grown, we would take them to their natural habitat in the Cambridgeshire countryside and release them. Allowing them to mate and start truly populating that area. We would then start again with a new ‘batch’ of eggs. As mentioned, we completed this three times. Currently, due to the time of year, we are taking a break from the process. However, we can’t wait to get that insectarium back in the office and hear them hoppers buzz away again.
Have a look at them and our introduction to them: How To Care For Large Marsh Grasshoppers
Or read the full story here: A Hop of Hope – Citizen Zoo
On the 17th of September 2021, we took part in a great bit of local activism. Organised by Kingston Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Citizen Zoo. This activism was cleaning and de-rubbishing a charming little bit of woodlands in New Malden, just off Coombe Lane West.
The area was recommended by a chamber member, who is also a local resident. The volunteering task force consisted of Chamber members and a few of us here at IQ in IT. We began the day by organising the woodland area, trimming any serious overgrowth and cleaning up rubbish. There was surprisingly a large amount of rubbish including fancy dress jewellery, pieces of a car (assumingly a crash site) and even an old safe. It goes to show how much littering and fly-tipping occurs and this was one takeaway of something that needs to be improved in the local area. As well as cleaning rubbish, some non-native light-blocking trees were given a bit of a trim and a pathway was made with branches and some of the greenery used to section it off.
All in all, it took around four hours to clean and create a pedestrian trail for the locals to enjoy. It just goes to show what can be achieved with a few individuals, a bit of time and dedication. We hope Citizen Zoo and Kingston Chamber collaborate on more projects like this! Saying that, anyone can spend a few hours of their free time to improve their local areas’ woodlands and green spaces!
About the Author
Juri Weidenkeller is the Head of Business Development at IQ in IT. His IT career began at a cyber security vendor. He worked with 400 different IT support companies and managed services providers across the UK and Germany before joining IQ in IT in 2021. His interest is in operation excellence, making the most out of technology, security and good customer relationships.
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