Green Shoots – Middlemarsh Nature Reserve (North Ormesby)

This time of year inevitably brings a lot of leaf litter which had completely covered the ground at Middlemarsh Nature Reserve. Leaf litter is good for the soil because it allows nutrients to go back into the earth, but if the soil is too nutrient rich then dominant plants like nettles will grow, thriving on the phosphates and nitrogen. To allow for a greater biodiversity of flora, low nutrient soil is needed. By physically removing the leaf litter from Middlemarsh we can reduce the nutrient levels going back into the soil and by next Spring we should hopefully see a greater plant diversity.

We used the leaves we collected and mixed them with deadwood to make habitat piles hidden within the trees. These piles can then become a warm refuge for small mammals, insects, invertebrates and amphibians during the Autumn and Winter months, and with Storm Arwen bringing cold, harsh weather last weekend, this will have been incredibly valuable to the small animals.

We had some brand-new volunteers from Teesside University this week who enjoyed getting stuck into the work, but we need more volunteers! There is a lot of important conservation work to do around Middlesbrough and we need people to help on our volunteer sessions on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. We provide light refreshments at break as a small thank you. There’s also an opportunity to complete some free qualifications in conservation which one of our team members would 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 Casper or Jade on 01642 579820 alternatively email: or


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