Conservationists and golf greenkeepers putt sustainability in focus at college summit

GREENKEEPERS, conservation groups and employers in the horticulture industry went a fairway to becoming more sustainable at a summit to mark World Habitat Day.

More than 50 people attended an event at Coleg Cambria’s £1.2m education hub in Llysfasi, where speakers from across the region led on a variety of topics, from beekeeping to healthy, locally produced food and drink.

Among them were Ramblers Cymru, Snowdonia National Park, South Clwyd Beekeepers’ Association, Ecological Land Management, Nefyn Golf Club, the National Trust, Wales Golf, local authorities, and the Business Environment Network.

College students and staff were also on hand to find out more on how to utilise space at the institution’s sites in Wrexham, Northop, Deeside and Llysfasi.

Following the success of the day, Cambria’s Work-based Learning Manager Kate Muddiman said it could now become a biannual event.

“The turnout was fantastic so I would like to thank everyone who came along,” she added.

“The main theme was around ways to improve habitats with greenkeeping at the crux of that, looking at ways to create natural areas of wildlife around golf courses, by creating wildflower meadows and encouraging more natural wildlife and a more sustainable environment.

“As well as employers we also had students, apprentices and even local residents, with everyone
wanting to be more sustainable and looking to be inspired in where to start.

“The atmosphere was fantastic, the audience got truly involved, asking questions, offering further suggestions and giving people ideas to take away.

Among the speakers was Matt Alexander, General Manager of Ial Restaurant at Coleg Cambria Yale, who discussed the ‘farm to fork’ initiative and use of local ingredients and suppliers, as well as education and training opportunities.

Also presenting was Eleri Turner, who explained her apprenticeship with Cambria and the Carneddau Landscape Partnership, a five-year National Heritage Lottery-funded scheme conserving an area of northern Snowdonia.

Eleri has been working alongside National Trust Cymru Ranger Abbie Edwards, and the two of them – who both hail from Bethesda – featured in an episode of the flagship BBC programme Countryfile earlier this year.

Later, Jonathan Hulson from North Wales Wildlife Trust gave an inspirational talk on how they are working to restore resilience to Welsh woodlands, while Local Nature Partnerships Coordinator Julieanne Quinlan explained how we can all make small steps to help in sustainability by planting a wildflower meadow or installing swift boxes to help create habitats.

Kate said: “A wide range of subjects were discussed and given the response we’ve had we will look to run similar events once or twice a year on different themes, bringing businesses, the college and the community under one roof to work together and discuss the best ways we can all do more for the environment.”

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