Kensington has a new hotel complex at Holland Park – thanks to Harvard alumni!

Teams from Harvard University Alumni joined idverde UK and Hands on London at Kensington and Chelsea’s Holland Park for a family volunteer day in April 2016.

After a morning briefing from Hands on London and a tool demonstration from idverde staff at the Ecology Centre, the team embarked on the day’s tasks, including:

  • Removal of invasive bamboo opposite the Ecology Centre;
  • Construction of new ‘6 star’ bug hotel in the ecology enclosure;
  • Construction of a new stag beetle loggery in the ecology enclosure.

Team 1 was despatched with idverde’s Assistant Grounds Maintenance Manager, Ben Martin, and idverde Gardener, Daijiro Mizuno to tackle the invasive bamboo, which would then be used as construction material for the Harvard Bug Hotel.

Team 2, accompanied by idverde Apprentice, Joe Boulton, and idverde Corporate Development Manager, Andrew Kauffman, were given a crash course in ecology building construction, including the bug hotel and stag beetle loggery.

Meanwhile, the young and young at heart worked with idverde’s Service Development Manager, Preeti Chatwal-Kauffman and Hands on London’s Jon Meech to scavenge for materials around Holland Park to aid with the internal fit out for Kensington’s newest hotel.

At the end of a very productive day, the team of 24 intrepid volunteers managed to cut and clear 200 square metres of invasive bamboo from the ecology enclosure, construct a 5-storey bug hotel complete with green roof, and a stag beetle loggery, thereby adding valuable insect habitat to the Holland Park Ecology Enclosure.

Ben Martin, idverde’s Assistant Grounds Maintenance Manager, said: “The Harvard volunteers worked with great enthusiasm throughout the whole day, and each of the tasks set at the beginning of the day was completed to a high standard. I know that our staff very much enjoyed the day. It was a pleasure having the Harvard teams in the park and they are welcome back any time.”

Joe Boulton, idverde apprentice, said: “It was my first time working with volunteers so I was a bit apprehensive about how the day would go. However, as soon as I started working with the Harvard teams I really enjoyed the experience of working with such a diverse group of people who were eager to learn, and I would love to do it again.”

Tamara Howard from Harvard Alumni Verve Consulting, said: “I would like to thank the idverde team on behalf of Harvard Alumni for a wonderful day. The event was fabulous and so well organised, best event many have been involved in for ages—a real feat, enjoyed by all!”

Caroline Chang from Harvard Alumni Fallon Capital, added: “A big thank you to the idverde team for an amazing day. All the feedback from the families attending was incredibly positive. Everyone had great fun and learnt about woodland ecology. We would love for you to please keep us posted on the fauna surveys and how everyone (including centipedes, millipedes and beetles!) is doing.”

Andrew Kauffman, idverde Corporate Development Manager, said: “What a partnership effort! I would like to thank Hands on London for choosing idverde UK to host the inaugural family corporate day, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Ecology Team, for providing accommodation at the Ecology Centre and some fabulous tasks for the family volunteers. Above all, thanks to the Harvard Alumni volunteers—the energy shown by all of you on the day was superhuman. From all at idverde, we salute you and look forward to sharing the fauna survey results with you later in the year to let you know more about the residents at the Harvard Bug Hotel.”