Volunteers needed for harvest event at Warboys nature reserve

A nature reserve that was set up in memory of a well loved Madeline Parnwell

A nature reserve that was set up in memory of a well loved Madeline Parnwell - Credit: Archant

A nature reserve that was set up in memory of a local environmentalist is appealing for volunteers to help protect harvest mice.

Madeleine's Patch, the Warboys nature reserve set up just over a year ago as a memorial to fatal accident victim Madeleine Parnwell, is opening its reserve to the Cambridgeshire Mammal Group on Sunday to search for signs of harvest mice.

Mrs Parnwell, who was an environmentalist, died because she was unable to escape from her submerged car which had crashed just minutes away from the family home in Puddock Road, Warboys.

After her death, Mrs Parnwell's family launched a £15,000 crowd-funding campaign to create the nature reserve as a living memorial to her.

The 1.3 acre reserve close to her home on the outskirts of Warboys is where the patch was set up as a learning resource for the community, and her husband Steve is asking for volunteers to help with the event.

Harvest mice are thought to have declined in recent years due to changes in habitat management and agricultural practices and are listed as a biodiversity action plan species in need of conservation help.

Mr Parnwell said: "It will be soon be time to cut and bale the grass meadow and we want to establish whether harvest mice are present before we do this so that we can avoid their delicate nests and retain areas of habitat for them to thrive within.

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"We are also looking for volunteers in the future to survey for other species; particularly different groups of insects such as butterflies, dragonflies and pollinating insects. Full training will be given so no prior knowledge is required. So why not come along to Madeleine's Patch and have some open-air fun whilst making a positive contribution to one of our most photogenic British mammals."

For more information or to volunteer contact Mr Parnwell on 07786 443802.