Wild natural neighbourhood – supportive intervention
It is worth introducing practices associated with caring for the flora and fauna into the annual programme and the institution’s long-term policy. Good neighbourliness is also about caring for comfortable conditions for non-human organisms. It is good to join forces with experts, artists, organisations and movements directly involved in environmental protection. Learn from your cooperation and directly ask for help, so that the institution’s activity supports creating the right conditions for plants, animals and fungi to thrive. The website of the Warsaw Greenery Department includes a ‘Library’ tab, where you can find publications advising on environmental good neighbourliness.
It is also worth taking care of the smallest neighbours, often escaping the human eye, and delineate zones of wild nature. These can be spaces which would not be used for recreation. Aesthetically, they will vary from generally accepted standards e.g. unmowed grass, high bushes, leaves left scattered around. Remember that their presence is an important element of ‘wildlife’, in other words: animate nature, i.e. nature which was not introduced by a human. Its presence conditions biodiversity of a city. It is worth remembering that “one cubic metre of the crown of a tree in an old park is home to a few hundred different organisms. On the leaves, in the leaves, on the bark, in the air” (M. Luniak, ‘Wildlife in the City’ – a publication available on the website of the Warsaw Greenery Department). Ask naturalists for help and support. Activities taken by people of various professions around Warsaw’s Zakole Wawerskie may serve as an example.
Creating animal-friendly zones in the urban environment is not about not intervening at all but about intervening in a supportive way. It is easy to look after the fertility of the ground around your building by extending this area and ensuring humidity (refraining from mowing the grass or raking leaves), oxygenation and insulation. It will thus become an appropriate ecosystem for the underground and terrestrial fauna, in effect stabilising the wellbeing of urban trees. You should also consider that for bushes to be useful e.g. to sparrows, they should be at least the height of a human. Dead wood in the form of logs and trunks with hollows is a habitat for hundreds of species of invertebrates and fungi and a shelter for smaller mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Building shelters from dry and fallen branches (so-called ‘braids’ or habitat piles) will provide safe living conditions to small organisms and it will also delineate zones where human users will not call so often. Weaving branches into panels, on the other hand, is an opportunity for common work to which you may invite your audience and neighbours. An example of such a work is ‘Shelter’ by Anna Siekierska, carried out at the Centre of Polish Sculpture in Orońsko [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPLhHn0bjiA]. (See: NATURE)