Power to the people Great Big Green Week events bring community action on climate change

HUNDREDS of people took part in a variety of events across Saddleworth to join in the Great Big Green Week’s nationwide celebration of action on climate change.

Events included everything from a talk and discussion on climate change at St Anne’s Church, Lydgate to volunteers helping the RSPB with sphagnum planting on Saddleworth Moor.

At The Saddleworth Show and Love Lydgate’s Green Week Afternoon Tea, the Great Big Green Week stall offered information and ideas on what you can do to reduce climate change and invited people to take a pledge for the planet.

Saddleworth WI bug houses

More than 50 people signed pledges including to try a meat free day, grown your own vegetables, avoid buying single-use plastics, change to a renewable energy supplier, start a compost heap and use public transport when you can.

For each pledge made, a carbon offset company will plant a tree in Madagascar, which has lost much of its rainforest.

An open day was held by Saddleworth Community Hydro at Dovestone Reservoir in Greenfield, allowing visitors into the turbine house at the foot of the dam to see green energy being generated.

Since it opened in September 2014, the hydro turbine house has generated enough sustainable electricity to power hundreds of homes and around 150 tonnes of CO2 emissions are avoided per year.

Elsewhere, there was bird, bee and bug house making with artist Gordon Banks at Pitch-In Community Garden, Seel Park, Mossley.

Visitors learned about sustainable crafting with repurposed materials to increase bio diversity in the community garden and people’s own gardens/yardens.

There was also the chance to make a bug house with Saddleworth WI at Saddleworth Community Garden at the Parish Centre in Uppermill.

Members were helping visitors to use moss, straw, pine cones, twigs and cans to create a bug ‘boutique’ or ‘hotel’ to take home for the wildlife in their gardens.

The Community Garden is also home to Incredible Edible Saddleworth, who grow fruit, vegetables and flowers which can then be picked and enjoyed for free by the community.

Andrew Thorne, Stuart Roy, Dr Andrew Taylor, Alison Brittle, Ann Thorne, Peter Harland

They meet there every Saturday from 10am to 12noon to tend, water and plant the beds and planters.

Any volunteers are very welcome, as are donations of seeds or compost etc. Find out more and get in touch on their Facebook page.

Incredible Edible are helped out at the community garden by 20th Oldham Scout Group, St Chad’s Primary School and Saddleworth WI, who tend their owns beds and planters.

The Cubs and Scouts, under the direction of leader Erica Ryan, have also brightened up their area by making and hanging colourful bunting and putting cut-outs of bugs and insects in the planters.

Meanwhile, a Dobcross wild green garden welcomed visitors to see its stunning sights and four hives, which are home to about 250,000 bees.

The hives belong to Jonathan Downs, who runs Saddleworth Honey Company, and are just some of more than 100 he has scattered across the area.

Incredible Edible

He visits regularly to check the hives and make sure the bees are happy, healthy and producing honey.

He brought along demonstration hives to show people what happens inside the hives with the bees and the honey, without using real bees.

Jonathan, who has been keeping bees for about 15 years, said the garden is one of his most productive sites as it flowers all year round so is perfect for the bees and other wildlife.

The garden belongs to keen gardener Helen Campbell, who said she has always been interested in bees and loves being involved in Jonathan’s community project.

She is also an artist and has her own exhibition studio in her garden to display her paintings of local scenes, wildlife and landscapes as well as sculptures.

Meantime, Uppermill Canal Action Network (UCAN) volunteers got hands on to continue their work maintaining and improving the canal and the surrounding area in the village.

During Great Big Green Week, they continued their work cleaning the towpath and clearing vegetation and welcomed visitors along to find out what they have been doing over the last few years.

Elsewhere, there was a Harvest supper celebrating sustainable and local food hosted by Uppermill Methodists with St Chads as well as a Harvest Festival with a Green Week theme.

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