Two of the volunteers, Claire and Mark Wickens, helped Bexley Council with its Biodiversity Action Plan, published in February 2002. Biodiversity means all living species and their habitats. It therefore covers every living thing – plants and animals. The surveys carried out at East Wickham are intended to establish exactly what is there at the moment – trees, shrubs, grasses, flowers, insects, mammals and birds. All the actions and work carried out by the volunteers are intended to increase biodiversity.
The biodiversity action plan is part of a national campaign to enhance wildlife and habitats. Bexley has identified species and habitats which must be given priority to restore, maintain and hopefully increase species which appear to be under threat. For example, the East Wickham Open Space was populated by many species of birds which have disappeared. Similarly, other common creatures such as bats, stag beetles and many plant species need to be encouraged to return. As time goes on, annual surveys are revealing what changes for the better have occurred as a result of the various activities planned by the volunteers.
The work undertaken to date, such as planting of wild flowers and trees, installation of bat boxes and hedge maintenance, is all designed to assist with the action plan. Anyone interested in preserving local plant and animal wildlife heritage is welcome to join the East Wickham Conservation Volunteers or any of the other volunteer groups within Bexley Borough.