Author Archives: rachael

February Recipe – Tea-Poached Salmon with Asparagus

5 bags Fairtrade Green Tea
4 Salmon Fillets
2 cups boiling water
5 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. Fairtrade olive oil
1 tsp. salt/pepper
1/2 Fairtrade lemon
For the Asparagus
400g asparagus, tough ends trimmed and discarded
12 slices prosciutto
1 tbsp Fairtrade olive oil
1 tablespoon water

1. Preheat oven to 400f / 200oC / Gas Mark 6. Steep tea in water for 2-4 minutes, remove bags and add garlic, ginger and sesame oil to tea.
2. In skillet, heat oil and, once hot, add salmon. Place skin-side up and sear for 2-3 minutes. Turn salmon over and add tea mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and poach for 6-9 minutes, until it flakes easily.
3. While salmon is poaching, wrap two asparagus spears with a slice of prosciutto. Place wrapped spears on a baking sheet, drizzle asparagus with olive oil (Tips and ends, avoiding prosciutto) and roast for 8-10 minutes, until prosciutto is crispy.
4. Plate salmon and squeeze over lemon juice, season to preference and serve with the asparagus and some rice if desired.


Green Shoots providing community engagement and support at the Genesis Project!

Green Shoots have been working with the Genesis Project at St Oswalds Church to offer support in creating a wildlife pond.

The team have dug out a load of earth, lined the pond and then proceeded to fill it with water to allow the pond liner to settle before profiling and landscaping the edges. The area has been landscaped using re-purposed broken flags, lifted from where crazy paving once laid to the front of the church, with the addition of some ornamental stone so that the pond looks aesthetically pleasing while serving an important purpose for wildlife.

Wildlife ponds are a fantastic addition to any garden, regardless of the size. The benefits are amazing because where there is water, there is life! The Green Shoots team have been working hard in the recent several weeks to create a 3-metre x 1-metre wildlife pond located in the community garden, positioned to the rear of the hall the pond will provide a habitat for many aquatic species of plants and wildlife. This will greatly increase bio-diversity potential in the garden, with hope of attracting beneficial predatory insects while providing a home and safe place for frogs, toads and other beasties living in and around the water.

The earth removed has been used at the front of the church by the Genesis volunteers and group to create a wildflower patch where the crazy paving was lifted and utilised for use around the pond. All that is needed now is the addition of plants which will be done by the Genesis Project staff and volunteers!

Green Shoots at Middle Marsh Nature Reserve!

January may seem like a slow month for many of us but there has been a hive of activity at Middle Marsh Nature Reserve! Colin Conroy, engagement officer for the Green Shoots Project, has co-ordinated vast changes within the reserve which will benefit the biodiversity of flora and fauna, the attractiveness of the site and also the access for local pedestrians and volunteers.
Teaming up with Ian and Anne-Marie from Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, who planned the whole operation, Colin managed to enlist help and funding from Middlesbrough Borough Council who arrived with a JCB in tow to dig out and create nine new ponds.

According to historical ordnance survey maps the reserve will have been a salt marsh around 150 years ago, holding sea water with the incoming tide. But the industry that was built over the marsh put an end to the site existing as a natural habitat. So to transform the site into a wetland is bringing the reserve back to how it was meant to be naturally. Currently the ponds look a little messy but once there is some heavy rainfall and Spring brings new plant growth the ponds will look more established and at home on the reserve.

Middle Marsh is already home to a vast variety of plants and animals including Kingfishers, Sparrowhawks and Orchids. But the new ponds will give an opportunity for even more wildlife to settle in the Marsh, particularly fresh water insects and invertebrates, birds and mammals. Water Voles, an endangered animal that we know lives further upstream in Ormesby Beck , will also hopefully move into Middle Marsh with the attraction of the new ponds!

This week, our volunteers from Pursglove College visited the reserve to help build hides so that visitors are able to see the visiting birds. As part of the RSPB Birdwatch, the volunteers identified 10 birds within Middle Marsh, including robins, goldfinches and jackdaws and sent this information back to the RSPB to help with national data. Thanks again to the Pursglove students for their ongoing help on Green Shoots!

To find out more about Middle Marsh visit

Green Shoots couldn’t carry out our important work without our volunteers, and we still have a lot of important work that we need to get through! If you enjoy working outdoors and care about your local area please get in touch! We’re a friendly bunch and the work is fun and fulfilling: There’s even an opportunity to complete a free qualification in conservation which our staff can guide you through!

If you would like an informal chat or would like to sign up for a no-obligation taster session then please call Jade on 01642 579820 or email

Green Shoots Project at the Berwick Hills Nature Reserve!

With the new year comes a new group of amazing volunteers! Green Shoots have been lucky enough to have students from Prior Pursglove College join our team to help out on our important conservation work across Middlesbrough. The students enjoy being outdoors and are excited to get stuck into the Green Shoots tasks.

For their first week, the group carried out a litter pick at Berwick Hills Nature Reserve. This important green space is extensive and teeming with life: Unfortunately, it is often neglected and used as a dumping ground and the area is often covered in litter. Over the past nine months, the Green Shoots team have dedicated time to regularly litter pick Berwick Hills Nature Reserve and as a result the area now looks cleaner and cared for. The students did an amazing job helping us with this and are excited to get involved with more Green Shoots tasks in the future!

Green Shoots couldn’t carry out our important work without our volunteers, and we still have a lot of important work that we need to get through! If you enjoy working outdoors and care about your local area, then please get in touch! We’re a friendly bunch and the work is fun and fulfilling, and there’s even an opportunity to complete a free qualification in conservation which our staff can guide you through.

If you would like an informal chat or would like to sign up for a no-obligation taster session, then please call Jade on 01642 579820 or email

Two new vacancies online for applications!

We’ve got two new vacancies live and waiting for your applications!

Both require excellent communication skills, a passion for tackling the ongoing climate crisis and great organisational skills. The Food for the Planet Officer will ideally have a PTLSS or other education qualification, a qualification in a food-related subject and previous experience of delivering sustainability-based campaigns and/or initiatives. The Horticulture Officer will ideally have a qualification in horticulture, with a good level of knowledge and experience in horticulture vital for the role.

If you’ve got the skills, we’d love to hear from you, so visit the links in the post to find the application forms! Alternatively, contact our team at MEC at or on 01642 579820 for more information.

Horticulture Officer –

Food for the Planet Officer –

Join CAM for hedge planting at Linthorpe Cemetery!

Climate Action Middlesbrough are taking part in hedge planting at Linthorpe Cemetery on Saturday January 29th, 10am to 2pm: All are welcome! Families, friends, bring whoever you want to help Linthorpe Cemetery and its value to wildlife. Places are limited however so contact Ian Wilson via email at to book your spot!

Become an Eco-Peer Mentor!

The Eco-Champion Peer Mentor course starts tomorrow on Tuesday 18th January, but there are a number of other dates also due soon if you can’t make it. Contact and join Climate Action Middlesbrough in helping Middlesbrough combat the climate crisis!

January Recipe – Cacio e Pepe


200g spaghetti
2tsp black peppercorns
80g pecorino romano / parmesan / Italian hard cheese of choice


1) Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the spaghetti. Cook for five minutes, or around 2 minutes less than pack instructions. Scoop out 250ml of the water and set aside in a bowl.
2) While the pasta’s boiling, add black peppercorns to a very hot and dry pan and toast for a few minutes. Remove from heat and crush the peppercorns roughly.
3) Drain the pasta, keeping 200-250ml of the pasta water. Add the drained pasta, and 100ml of the pasta water, into the pan with the pepper. Toss briefly, then scatter over the cheese. Wait for the cheese to melt without stirring, and then begin to toss and stir together to prevent cheese from clumping and to make a smooth sauce. Add more pasta water if necessary to loosen sauce.
4) Once pasta is well and truly coated, serve in warm bowls with an additional sprinkling of cheese and black pepper if desired. Serve with warm, crusty bread.