the GiGLer

The newsletter of Greenspace Information of Greater London CIC

Show & Tell

To encourage idea sharing and inspire new projects, in each edition of the GiGLer, we will be highlighting a couple of examples of how GiGL partners have used their SLAs. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss utilising any of the services mentioned, or if you have a project using GiGL data that you would like to share.

Green-winged orchid. © Dalbir Virdee

Green-winged orchid. © Dalbir Virdee

Confirming a rare find in Islington

Sometimes it’s important to look at the big picture and to be able to position a species sighting within the Greater London context. In the spring of 2016, the London Borough of Islington were excited to find a green-winged orchid, Orchis morio, growing on the green roof of one of their council buildings. Wanting to know more about the species they asked GiGL to perform a species data search.

GiGL checked the partnership’s species database and found no other records for the orchid in Islington. So, we ran the search again on the whole Greater London database. Altogether, we found only eleven records of green-winged orchids in London. The most recent record was from 2005 and the oldest, recorded by Charles Darwin around his home in Downe, was from 1869. When GiGL mapped the species records, we discovered a very interesting distribution. None of the eleven records came from inner London boroughs, suggesting that the orchid was quite a rare find.

The record’s rare status inspired some of London’s botanical experts to take a look, including staff from London Wildlife Trust and LivingRoofs.org. Once the identification was confirmed, the London Borough of Islington sent the record to GiGL, bringing the total number of records for the species to a round dozen.

Mapping the proximity of childcare to open spaces

Physical proximity to open spaces has proven benefits for children’s physical and mental wellbeing. The London Borough of Camden wanted to know the proximity of schools, nurseries and other childcare sites in the borough to their nearest publicly accessible open space. Using Camden data on the location of childcare settings and GiGL partnership open space data, GiGL located the two closest open spaces to each childcare setting and the distances involved. GiGL also created five maps covering different areas of the borough.

Camden includes a number of nature sites which act as locations for Forest Schools. These were shown on the maps too. GiGL worked out the closest two Forest School nature sites to each school or nursery.

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