A crowd of Kent folk attended the official opening of a newly refurbished bird hide in the county last Saturday (February 15, 2014).
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) representative Malcolm Jennings cut the ceremonial ribbon and opened the hide at Millbrook Garden Centre in Gravesend on February 15.
Graham Huckstep, Outdoor Facilities Manager at Millbrook Garden Centre, which is located on Station Road in Southfleet, said: ?We would like to thank everyone who attended the launch event. It was a fantastic day. We hope more people pop in to see the refurbished hide and are encourage to make their own gardens wildlife-friendly.
?The award-winning bird hide and wildlife area, which was created over two years ago is now coming in to its own and local wildlife is really reaping the benefits.
?We wanted to make it even more of a feature at the garden centre and inspire our customers in a fun and visual way to make their own gardens wildlife-friendly. We gutted the hide and revamped the inside to make it a one of a kind hide, a very exciting place to be.
?On the inside walls of the bird hide there is original illustrations by Kirsty Mauritz, who is the daughter of Sue and Dick Allen, the original founders of Millbrook. There is a bird identification wall, it also explains what plants are on the wildlife bank, why they are there and what they will attract. There is also a section showing what different birds do throughout the different seasons.
?The hide is now full of visual information for all ages to enjoy. It explains all about the wildlife area the hide looks on to. Our aim is for it to be a fun learning space for families.?
As well as the visual illustrations, there is a chalk board section on one of the walls so staff and customers can list wildlife they spot each day and a bird cam is set up to record wildlife activity.
Graham added: ?We have seen so much wildlife visit the area such as blue tits, greenfinches, robins, thrushes, blackbirds, greater spotted woodpecker, sparrow hawks and even cuckoos. We are always on hand to chat to visitors about how they can attract certain birds and insects to their gardens.?
During the launch event children were also able to meet Ricky, the man-sized robin and could take part in a doodle treasure hunt activity sheet ?Hide and Seek? for free.
Graham continued: ?We decided to officially open the hide on February 15 to tie in with National Nest Box Week organised by the British Trust for Ornithology and to link in with our bird-themed children?s activities running during half-term.
?National Nest Box Week, which runs from February 14 until 21, encourages people to provide homes for dozens of species, from blue tits to barn owls. Staff from the garden centre will be on hand this week to offer tips on how to make a nest box and the best ones to buy.?
Millbrook Garden Centre is a family-run, independent garden centre. It provides customers with a wide range of quality plants, shrubs, trees, furniture, barbecues, gifts and food items.
Its friendly and knowledgeable staff are on-hand to give visitors help and advice on all gardening matters. Millbrook Garden Centre has its own nursery, where it grows a third of the plants sold at the centre in an attempt to reduce plant miles.
The Greencaf?, which seats up to 90 customers, serves hot and cold drinks, snacks, breakfasts and light lunches, Sunday roasts and children?s meals using fresh, seasonal produce some of which is grown at the centre.
To find out more about the bird hide at Millbrook Garden Centre, which is located on Station Road in Southfleet, please call 01474 331 135, visit www.millbrookgc.co.uk, log on to www.facebook.com/MillbrookGardenCentreGravesend or follow the company on Twitter by visiting www.twitter.com/MillbrookGC.