Volunteers wanted to get their hands dirty at Castleford planting project

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Greenfingered volunteers are being urged to give a helping hand to a scheme to bring more wildlife to a nature reserve.

Around 2,000 plug plants are set to be planted in the shape of a giant hand at Fairburn Ings nature reserve, Castleford, on April 5.

Yorkshire Water has organised the event as part of its Hands Up initiative, which sees staff from the company working with local communities and charities to improve the natural environment as well as inspire and educate people about the value of water.

Anne Reed, from Yorkshire Water, said: “As one of the region’s biggest employers, we recognise that we’re in a great position to make a huge difference to the environments we operate in and the communities we serve.

“This initiative is part of our mission to help protect our water resources and enhance the water environment in our region for present and future generations.

“Last year we attracted over 150 people who were all willing to get their hands dirty by planting 3,500 native flowers.

“This year we want to build on that with a further 2,000 plug plants. We can’t do this on our own and really need volunteers to come down on the day and play their part.”

When complete, the Big Hand Plant will help increase the biodiversity of plants and attract native species such as meadow cranesbill.

Common heather will be planted as it can bring in bumblebees. which are in decline, and butterflies, moths and hoverflies, which will in turn act as food source for other species such as birds and bats.

Later in the year, seeds from the flowers will provide food for a range of other species like woodmice and birds.

Chris Woolner, RSPB visitor experience manager for the Aire Valley, said: “We always really enjoy working with Yorkshire Water. Over the past year, their staff have come along to the reserve to help with a wide variety of activities – from shrub clearing to planting – and we’re all looking forward to welcoming them to Fairburn Ings once again for the Big Hand Plant.

“This event is a great opportunity for the local community to get involved and help us provide a home for wildlife on our nature reserve, as the flowers planted in the ‘big hand’ are wonderful at attracting all kinds

of insects.”

During the event, there will also be family fun and activities on offer including face painting, arts and crafts and balloon sculpting, as well as light refreshments.

Register online at yorkshirewater.com/handsup.

See pictures live from the event by following @yorkshirewater on Twitter and to tweet your support, use #handsup.

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