Harrogate gym aims for gold medal – for supporting wildlife

Academy member Carolyn Rothwell. left, and managing director Philippa Shackleton, far right, with Horticap workers Stuart Chisem and Carl Crooks. (S)

Academy member Carolyn Rothwell. left, and managing director Philippa Shackleton, far right, with Horticap workers Stuart Chisem and Carl Crooks. (S)

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A HARROGATE gym hopes to win a gold medal – for supporting local wildlife.

The Academy Health Club and Spa has taken up the gauntlet thrown down by the Harrogate and District Wildlife and Biodiversity Action Group to create a Wildlife Friendly Garden within its grounds.

To achieve gold status, it has to improve the environment by implementing at least 12 wildlife-friendly features from a list of 24.

These include installing bird boxes and recycling water butts, planting drought-resistant plants and nectar-rich plants, not using chemical weed killers, and composting and creating a long grass area.

The Academy’s push for gold is being led by managing director Philippa Shackleton and tennis club captain Carolyn Rothwell, who is also a member of the biodiversity action group.

Carolyn has drafted in the help and expertise of Horticap, and the Academy maintenance team, Alun Stevens and Ted Gaddas, who are planting wild flowers, and creating an Olympic flower meadow, herb garden and “Mediterranean” patch with planters.

She said: “We have our sights firmly set on the gold award.

“The club is set in five-and-a-half acres and has some great environmental attributes, which include the beck, some wonderful mature trees, hedges, plants and a thriving birdlife.

“Working with Horticap, we are aiming to make the Academy even more wildlife friendly by planting shrubs and plants that attract a diverse variety of animals and insects.”

Managing director Philippa Shackleton added: “I’m delighted that Carolyn is leading this project as she has so much drive and commitment.

“It was her idea to bring in Horticap, and they are doing a wonderful job.

“Carolyn has also got the crèche involved, who are going to help open a bug hotel.”