Help needed to plant 4,000 wildflower plants in Carlisle's Swifts Nature Reserve

The Swifts has been transformed into a bee and butterfly haven and support is needed to help top the area up with more flowers to feed the local wildlife. Credit: Carlisle City Council

People living in Carlisle are being asked for their help planting 4,000 wildflowers in the Swifts Nature Reserve.

It's part of The Big Buzz Big Plant, which aims to encourage pollinating insects - like bees and butterflies - to the area.

Cllr Nigel Christian, Portfolio holder for Environment and Transport, said: "Pollinating insects are a critical component of a healthy ecosystem, however more than half of UK bee, butterfly and moth species have declined in the past 50 years, and 30 species of bee face extinction.

"Over the last 75 years, 97% of flower rich meadows have been lost, whilst 60% of flowering plants are in decline.

"The Swifts project restores and creates three different types of habitat in the centre of Carlisle: wildflower hay meadows; diverse woodland containing native flowering tree and shrub species; and wet grassland featuring seasonal scrapes (shallow pools of water).

"This combination will not only provide essential habitat for pollinating insects but will also offer feeding and nesting opportunities for a wide range of bird and mammal species."

Work has recently been completed on the new 42-acre wildlife spaces thanks to funding from Cumbria Waste Management Environment Trust (CWMET) and the Environment Agency as part of the Get Cumbria Buzzing Project.

Tanya St. Pierre, Cumbria Wildlife Trust said: "The Swifts project has been an incredible opportunity to work in partnership with Carlisle City Council to create valuable new wildlife habitat that will contribute to nature’s recovery.

"Its city centre location means it is a wonderful, accessible place for people too, and we know a thriving, wildlife-rich environment benefits both physical and mental health.

"It’s a great example of how spaces in urban areas can be transformed for both wildlife and people and we’d love to see more projects like this across the city."

The Big Buzz Big Plant will take place between 10am and 3pm on Saturday 24 November.