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

Green Shoots – Opportunities to Volunteer

Are you interested in conservation? Are you passionate about Middlesbrough? Then the Green Shoots project needs your help! We are looking for volunteers to help carry out our practical conservation work around Middlesbrough; Tasks involve litter picking, pruning trees and shrubs, laying down woodchip to create new paths, building habitat piles with deadwood, clearing litter from the becks and removing plants that are not helpful to local wildlife. You will also be able to complete some qualifications in conservation free of charge, with a staff member who will guide you through the learning.

Volunteer sessions are held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, 1pm to 3:30pm.

If you would like an informal chat about the volunteer opportunity please call Jade on 01642 579836 or email

Heat & Eat returns, at Breckon Hill Community Centre!

It’s back again, folks! Next month, we’re taking our Heat & Eat event to Breckon Hill Community Centre on Friday 17th December, from 1pm to 3pm. Come along and enjoy some fantastic activities, some Affordable Warmth help, stalls and, of course, festive cheer! It’s completely free to attend, so do pop in if you’re in the area!

Green Shoots Project: Marton West Beck

The woodland area around Marton West Beck is picturesque and commonly used for dog walkers and pedestrians alike. It has been used by passers by for many years and is home to the locally famous ‘Devil’s Bridge,’ thought to be 18th century and apparently named so for a cloven hoof mark which is said to have worn away on the stone.

The stream and woodland is home to a variety of wildlife such as the kingfisher which has been sighted here. The Green Shoots team have been working on improving the access to Marton West Beck for a number of months, both for the public to safely pass through and to allow our team easy access to carry out our conservation work.

These steps in the photograph had been long forgotten and were hidden in soil and moss with a fallen willow tree blocking the path. The team spent the afternoon digging and exposing the steps and cut back the fallen willow to  uncover the previously hidden path which people are now able to use.

We need volunteers to help us at Marton West Beck and other beck sites around Middlesbrough and we are especially looking for people to begin in January. Which is an amazing opportunity to start the new year by extending your skills, meeting new people, helping the local environment and being able to work towards some free qualification in conservation if you wish.

We are a small group of friendly people and would really appreciate any help. So if you are aged 16-24 and unemployed, or a refugee/asylum seeker or are from a Diverse Ethnic Group then we would love for you to get in touch. Please email if you’re interested!


Get Affordable Warmth help and advice before the cold sets in!

Don’t ever hesitate to contact our Affordable Warmth team if you need help. Whether worried about energy debt, need help with gas and electric bills or just looking for advice, our team are here to help you, completely free of charge. Just call freephone 0800 304 7084: Our lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday!

Seeking warm clothes donations

We are actively seeking donations of warm clothes, ideally those for men: We are helping the programme “hair cuts for the homeless” which gives hair cuts to those in need, as well as food and clothing.

The clothes can be donated to Jellystone Park on Monday and Wednesday, or to our home base here on Sandy Flatts Lane, at the site of the old Nature’s World, at anytime.

A successful Heat & Eat Event!

On October 25th, we held a Heat and Eat Event at Sutton Community Centre, attracting plenty of people and families from in and around the local community! It was a wonderful day, filled with plenty of activity, and one that helped us to promote the projects of Middlesbrough Environment City, as well as the bevy of causes that we support!

Clearing brambles with the Green Shoots Project!

Brambles! Nature’s barbed wire. Brambles are an important part of the ecosystem because they provide a habitat for a variety of different animals, insects, and other invertebrates. They also offer a food supply in their fruit and roots, which is particularly important during the colder Autumn and Winter months. On top of this, brambles are important to our resident endangered Water Vole as the shrub offers a place of protection when Water Voles are hiding and escaping their predators.

But, if left unmanaged, brambles can cause a problem as their fast and widespread growth means that they will become the dominant plant species and will block the light, preventing other plants from growing around them. To allow for more biodiverse growth of flora which will support a larger variety of animals, the Green Shoots team are cutting back the bramble at Berwick Hills Nature Reserve. Making sure that we leave the fruit that the animals are dependent on but leaving a stretch of bramble to continue acting as a protective habitat, we are cutting back the shrubs which will allow wildflowers, herbs, and other plants to grow back in their place.

If you’re interested in joining our team, then Green Shoots are looking for volunteers to help us in our work! If you are 16-24 and unemployed, or a refugee or asylum seeker, or if you are from a BAME group we would love for you to get in touch! Please email or to find out more information. Alternatively contact us by telephone 01642 579820.

Great work from GSP at Middlemarsh!

Charlotte and James helped out the Green Shoots team last week at Middlemarsh, North Ormesby. As well as litter picking, Charlotte and James managed to remove a tree that had fallen and was blocking the beck and obstructing the flow of water. Keeping the becks clean and free from debris is a really important part of the work on the Green Shoots project!

The team also had a Zoom site visit from Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) last week where they were taken on a virtual tour around Middlemarsh and were given the opportunity to speak to some of the kickstarters and volunteers.

DEFRA came back to us with some great feedback, “I just wanted to say a massive THANK YOU from the whole [Green Shoots] team for your work on these digital site visits! We’ve just been buzzing on our group teams chat about how great it was, how engaging Jade and Colin were and how lovely and insightful it was to hear from the Kickstarters and volunteers. Makes us proud to be working on this fund! Thanks again and please pass on our thanks to the team at Green Shoots 😊”.

Well done to everyone on Green Shoots Project for their continued hard work on Middlemarsh, and a huge thank you to DEFRA for their fantastic feedback!