Going batty in Swedenborg Gardens

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Michelle Lindson of the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park writes:

Two weeks ago we did a ‘Bat Walk’ in Swedenborg Gardens and it was bat-tastic! We saw our first bat flying above the playground before the event had even started (see photo below). As it got darker we switched on the bat detectors and heard the ‘shouts’ of several pipistrelle bats nearby.

Their ‘shouts’, which we hear as clicks on the bat detectors, hit obstacles and insect prey around them. These ‘shouts’ are then echoed back to them which helps to build a picture of their surroundings and to find prey in the dark.

It wasn’t just the bats that made our night that Saturday. We also had lots of local residents join us and it was such a wonderful experience seeing and hearing them get so excited about the bats flying above our heads!

A group of film makers from the London Documentary Network also joined us. They filmed the event and entered their work into the Leytonstone Film Festival. They had 36 hours to make a 3-6 minute documentary around the theme of ‘thrills’. They ended up coming second in the ‘Smart Phone Film Category’.

We feel very proud that our very own Ken (Bat Man) and his two daughters, as well as Swedenborg Gardens, were the stars of this short film! Feel free to watch it here.

Bat flying

Pipistrelle bat at Swedenborg Gardens (Zoe Greenway)

The bat walk is part of “Nature and Us”, a community cohesion project delivered by the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and funded by Tower Hamlets Council. It is being delivered in two focus areas, roughly defined as: (1) Aldgate East, Whitechapel, Wapping and Shadwell; and (2) Mile End and Stepney. The project is FREE and open to all who have a stake in these areas.

‘Nature and Us’ aims to bring the local community together through nature; creating green spaces for people to enjoy, developing people’s skills in local nature and delivering fun nature-based activities. We have a range of participants and volunteers involved in the project, and we partner with organisations such as schools, community groups and businesses. Events range from bulb planting, minibeast hunts, natural arts and crafts, as well as courses to improve your nature based skills.

Header photo by Michelle Lindson

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