Wildlife oasis in St John’s church grave yard

Wildlife oasis in St John’s church grave yard

St John’s Church is in St Peter Port, not far from Salerie Corner. An urban church, it is surrounded on four sides by houses. This, however, has not deterred the church from creating a haven for mini wildlife in the graveyard.

Becky Ogier, the education officer from Societie had a look round about a month ago in order to put together some bug and plant detective sheets for youngsters (and oldsters) to identify flora and fauna.

Over 30 people had visited the graveyard to have a look around and many were surprised at the abundance of wildlife.

It was a crystal clear warm, late spring day, and Sue Germain, church warden, explained that lots of the plants had sprung to life in just the last week encouraged by the warmer weather. Chirping and buzzing was interspersed between excited shrieks of delight as the children found a variety of mini bugs and beasts to identify.

It is so important for our younger generation to grow up appreciating their local environment and if you can foster a curiosity and excitement in young people as they interact with the wildlife around them then it will stay with them for life. They are the future guardians of our planet and they will need to work out how we can live in symbiosis with all of the other creatures on our planet. We can’t survive alone, and as top predator we have to stop creating the sixth mass extinction because if we don’t we will be included on that extinction list.

The children at this event were completing one of the sections of the YUNGAGuernsey biodiversity badge.

The Pollinator Project have put in three pollinator patches in the graveyard over the past couple of years. These patches now burst into life on their own at this time of the year. There were already signs of pollinators having found the flowers as well.

The grass now gets cut once a month but that is just to keep a pathway through the grave yard. The edges are left to grow wild. There is also a  little patch of leaves and twigs that is home to slow worms.

This is such a simple concept and so easy to do. Church wardens and vicars of Guernsey take note – you can easily do this too!

A simple guide to the wildflowers of the UK can be found here

Sue Germain, church warden, with her team handing out wildlife identification sheets at the church
Looking for pollinators in the pollinator patch
Not unkempt or untidy but pollinator paradise
Gathered near another pollinator patch
Shhh, slow worms in residence
Leave the edges for the wildlife
One of the older members of the congregation explained how exciting it was for the church to receive some specially flown in palms to improve the outside area. Now we tend to plant local flora. How times have changed.
Stinking Onion (three cornered leek). Use it like its cousin wild garlic and try cooking with it. This takes over so some of it has been trimmed in the graveyard
Fuchsia and cuckoo spit ( little white blob at top of middle flower)
Hogweed. Beware, the sap can cause bad skin irritation and swelling
Creeping buttercup
Can you spot the bumble bee?
No need to put cut flowers, possibly flown in and with a shelf life, but the real deal is there in perpetuity
"Look what I've found!" Children showing Richmond Austin (ex president of Societie) some baby spiders
And here they all are... the baby spiders
Spot the sage. Add to grated onion , egg and breadcrumbs to make delicious stuffing.
Bird feeders and bird boxes in the graveyard attract even more wildlife
Mini moth and hover fly
Yellow crucifer named after the four petals in the shape of a cross
common field speedwell
red clover
plantain grass
Special guest - Molly Bihet. Molly has written lots of books about what it was like to be a child during the occupation
Pollinator patch colour
1 Comment
  • Sue Germain
    Posted at 16:12h, 14 May

    Sue Germain here – what a super write up about our Churchyard Exploration today. The photos are wonderful too. Thank you so much for coming. We’ll let you know when we have our next happening!