Who tops Sheffield’s wildlife food chain – and which creatures and creepy crawlies call the city’s woods their own?
These are just some of the questions answered in a new interactive display at the city’s Weston Park Museum.
Using Sheffield’s Greno Woods as its subject, the Natural Connections exhibition explores the relationships between the city’s wildlife and their woodland habitats.
The display has been created in partnership with Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust to highlight the importance of the city’s natural surroundings.
Five years ago, the future of Greno Woods, near Grenoside, was uncertain when it was put on the open market by a private owner.
But the Wildlife Trust stepped in to buy the 178-hectare forest with the help of a Lottery grant and donations from the public.
Having secured the site’s future, Chris Doar, from the trust, said it is now important to make people aware of woodland, so they can visit and enjoy it for themselves.
She said: “We don’t have our own visitors centre at Greno, so thought it would be beneficial to have a display that would inform members of the public where Greno Woods is, the work done to save it and what the woodland harbours.
“Weston Park Museum seemed like the perfect place as thousands of visitors pass through its doors every year.
“We hope the display will act as a springboard to inspire people to come and discover the woods for themselves – it provides a wonderful natural landscape.
“People can also get more hands on with the woods to help maintain and manage it by becoming a volunteer.”
Museum visitors will discover a giant woodlands food chain explaining who eats who, with a range of specimens from Sheffield’s natural science collection.
Budding nature enthusiasts will also have the chance to get up close and personal with some of Greno Woods’ creepy crawlies using a microscope and can find out how woodland benefits the city in a new animation.
Chris said: “The display shows just a few of the thousands of species found in the woods, from the leaf litter right up to the tree tops.
“As well as showing the natural connections within the woodland, we also wanted to show the connections the woodland has to the city to help people realise just how important surrounding green areas are.
“For example, the woodland absorbs water and therefore reduces run-off water when it rains which helps avoid flooding, the trees also help to slow down strong winds which can reduce damage to buildings.
“All this and more, including the history and future of the woodland, can be seen within the display.”
Liz Ballard, trust chief executive, said: “So much hard work has gone into bringing Greno Woods back to life and it’s great to start to see the fruits of people’s efforts.
“We hope many more people will visit Greno Woods after seeing the Natural Connections display.”