The Friends of Eaglesfield Park are holding their final pond tidy session of the year on Sunday, 29th September, at 11.00am and would welcome any help. They are also concerned about the safety and health risks to children bathing in the pond, particularly the risk of Weil’s Disease, which can cause a range of nasty sysmptoms and even death. Madeleine from the Friends wrote:
A quick note to keep you up to date! Our Tidy Up Session on the 18th August was very successful. As most people will know, the meadow was very dense with the various grasses. This is probably due to the fact that top soil was used when the pond/meadow was reconstructed (wildflowers tend to prefer impoverished soil). However grasses are good for wildlife habitats, but we will need to control them and encourage the wildflowers.
During the tidy up we found dozens of “froglets” and many newts, water boatmen, pond skaters and spotted several large dragonflies. We were of course sad that our two “resident ducks” had been attacked by a fox and we are looking at the possibility of providing a “duck house”. However we need to research the negative effects this might have on the water quality of the pond.
We intend to plant more wildflower seeds (hopefully at the end of October) and also plug plants in October and March (weather permitting). The wildflowers plugs will include Feverfew, Globe Thistle, Tansy, Red Campion, Yellow Loosestrife, Yellow Rattle, Grim the Collier and Hedge Woundwort.
We are very concerned that some visitors to the pond area have been encouraging their dogs to use the pond, but more disturbingly adults have been seen actually lifting children over the fence so that they may swim in the pond. This may seem a good way to cool down, but it should be noted that ponds and rivers may contain Leptospirosis (Weil’s disease). Weil’s is a bacterial infection spread by animal urine. Many think Weil’s is spread only by rat’s urine but it can also come from fox, rabbit, cat and even hedgehog urine. It tends to be found in still, recreational water such as lakes and ponds, where water is not flowing freely.
Whilst relatively few cases of Weil’s infection have been reported, Friends of Eaglesfield Park are very mindful of the risk of infection during pond dipping activities. We offer advice on health and safety issues and provide disposable latex gloves and antibacterial hand wash for anyone taking part in pond dipping or pond/meadow maintenance.
I would also like to add my own comments – even if there were no risk of bacterial infection, swimming in the pond is not only irresponsible and dangerous, but it will also damage the wildlife environment of the pond and meadow we are endeavouring to create.
Please support the Friends on Sunday.
I notice the the Green Flag awarded to the park by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy has now been erected. That’s excellent news, but I’m not sure about where it has been placed – it seems a bit obtrusive to me. What do you think?