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


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