One Pack, One Planet | Sustainability improvements at Compton Park
Throughout 2023, the Wolves ground staff at Compton Park have been carrying out several initiatives to improve biodiversity and encourage wildlife back to the training ground.
As well as keep the training pitches in as pristine a condition as possible, the grounds team, headed up by Wayne Lumbard, have been working hard since the spring to improve sustainability on the rest of the land at Compton – all as part of the club’s One Pack, One Planet project.
As part of the campaign, Wolves are committed to working towards becoming a net zero football club by 2040, embracing a circular economy, minimising waste, and maximising reuse, protecting the natural environment and supporting a wilder future and embedding an environmental sustainability across the club while engaging, educating and communicating around sustainability.
Among the work carried out by the ground staff this year, Lumbard and the team have raised the cutting heights on various grass areas around the training pitches, as well as leaving a one-metre strip around the inside edge of the perimeter fencing as a wildlife corridor and have used dead wood to make log stacks for wildlife.
Around the training ground, the team have also installed bird boxes and wild flowerbeds, which have all been a great success. The boxes have already attracted nesting birds, while many insects have been seen in a newly-installed bug hotel – which has become a big talking point amongst staff.
Lumbard said: “It all started last year. We looked at the department and what our role was within the One Pack, One Planet project which we are trying to achieve between all departments at the club. As ground staff, our job is not just about the pitches, it’s about the hedgerows and the trees, and it’s about bringing nature and bringing creatures back.
“We decided to put in some wild flowerbeds, which you can see when you come down the drive, we’ve installed some bird boxes, we’ve made some log piles and we’ve stopped mowing certain areas to allow that to go back wild and return to nature. There is a whole lot of things that we’ve done to improve what we do and encourage nature back to Compton.
“It’s surprising how much you can make a difference relatively cheaply. It hasn’t always got to be expensive. With the wildflowers that we’ve planted and the bug hotel that we’ve put in one of the flowerbeds, when you see the creatures using it, it’s really satisfying.
“More people talk to me about how lovely the flowers are looking than the grass on the pitches now, because they just expect the pitches to be good! It was something that hasn’t always been expected at the training ground, but through the summer it’s looked great. A lot of birds and insects have all been using it, and it’s been a good positive talking point.”
The staff have purchased electric strimmers for Compton, and carried out more rotary mowing and left the grass cuttings around the grass to naturally return nutrients to the soil rather than using fertilisers.
They have also not used any weedkillers on the training pitches this year and used more natural sugars and seaweed extract to help with soil life and to increase the microbial activity naturally, which in turn grows stronger grass.
Lumbard added: “All these changes just make the environment better. With focus on sustainability, biodiversity and our carbon footprint, we’ve all tried to look at what we can do to help the planet and what we can do to improve.
“We’ve asked do we need to do certain things. Do all areas need to be immaculately kept, or are there things that we can do to encourage nature back in?
“It’s something that I’ve been involved in for years and there are bits and pieces in my own garden which I’ve replicated from what I’ve done here, and I encourage people to do it in their own garden, even if it’s just a square metre corner or at the bottom of the garden, then we can all do our bit.”
One Pack, One Planet round-up
As part of Wolves’ One Pack, One Planet initiative, the club has also carried out the following in recent months:
- Produce that the Wolves Foundation grew with participants on their allotment was used in the hospitality catering for the chairman’s suite on the opening Premier League game of the season at Molineux.
- All external lighting at Compton Park has been upgraded to LED to save energy.
- Online ticket purchases for members are now delivered digitally by default instead of printing and posting to reduce paper.
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