What is the project about?
Coalface to Wildspace is an exciting, new project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the West Midlands Combined Authority. The project is focusing on the areas of Walsall and Birmingham over the next three years.
There has previously been very little focus on amphibian and reptile conservation in this region, so this project will raise awareness through public engagement, improve habitat through community interventions, and bring attention to local heritage.
What are the aims?
We will be working with local communities to improve habitats for reptiles and amphibians and wider wildlife through the creation of Neighbourhood Wildlife Corridors. These will involve working with people to create homes for wildlife in urban areas, linking up some of the green spaces in Walsall.
We also aim to educate about local heritage relating to the history and geology of Walsall with regard to the species that now share this space with people and the species that used to live there.
What will we be doing?
We will be running wildlife gardening workshops across the region. This will involve working in 8 neighbourhoods across Walsall to create wildlife corridors to improve the area for amphibians and reptiles.
We are creating an exciting digital film on local geological, natural, and social history and will be holding film screenings at local schools and community venues. The film will be focusing on the history and heritage present under the surface of the current visible landscape and connecting this to our 8 key sites and the wildlife that now lives there, particularly reptiles and amphibians.
We will be running workshops across the region to build models out of Lego, reflecting the different stages presented in the film. The Lego models will be judged by paleologists and will go on tour to different venues before finding permanent homes within the communities that built them.
The final phase of the project will involve the creation of Speaking Sculptures. We will run community workshops to identify local wildlife ‘jewels’, meaning places that people associate with the sites. This will be followed by the creation of wildlife focused sculptures that will live on each site. Each sculpture will have a QR code linking to a soundscape for people to enjoy.
These sculptures will be installed on each of our 8 key sites, as well as 2 additional community sites. Community celebration festivals will be held at each site towards the end of the project, to unveil the sculptures.
You can see our key sites marked in red and our additional community sites in blue here:
How to get involved
There are several ways you can get involved, from volunteering on our key sites to attending our workshops or hosting a screening of our film.
If you’d like to get involved, or simply be kept in the loop about upcoming project news and events, please don’t hesitate to contact our Project Manager Christina at Christina.Nijjar@froglife.org or subscribe to our mailing list. We will be releasing more information about our film screenings and workshops soon!