A Rotary Club of Aireborough project has been highly commended in the RIBI Rodney Huggins Environmental Award scheme 2016/17.

Following the Boxing Day floods 2015 large parts of the Rodley Nature Reserve bordering the River Aire were destroyed. Ponds, hides, decking, paths and a fish pass disappeared under a torrent of water but most crucially 350 metres of Dead Hedging, the natural habitat for amphibians and hibernating mammals were washed away during the flood.

Reconstructing the hedging was needed last autumn to allow nesting to re-commence and to re-create the barrier to keep reserve visitors on the main pathways and prevent disturbance to the wildlife.
With their limited funds the Reserve managed to obtain the posts to repair 50 metres of hedging in high risk public areas but this was never going to be enough. Aireborough Rotary Club through its Foundation Chair Janet Kerr subsequently made a successful application for a District Flood Grant to complete rebuilding of the rest of the hedging.

The new posts were sourced locally at a Bradford saw mill and the willow coppicing was cut from the reserve. The newly designed fencing should minimise future flood damage with posts driven further into the ground and gaps left in the willow to provide areas for flood water to pass through.

The reserve is now once again fully open to the public, its harvest mouse breeding programme has been recently featured on BBC 1’s ‘The One Show’ and 910 school children have made educational visits to the Reserve over the past year.

The Reserve has been a partner organisation for several years with Rotarians volunteering on the maintenance, educational and catering team. For the last 4 years it has also been the venue for the Rotary Club’s highly successful Easter Egg Hunt bringing in much needed funds to both the Reserve and Rotary supported charities. This year’s event is on Sunday 16 April beginning at 11.00 a.m. – an opportunity to see the results of hours of hard work by volunteers supported by Rotary funding.

Pictures show damage caused to the reserve and the re-building of the dead hedging demonstrating the new design.