‘Salford Wetland’, a new wildlife film by Dr Luke Blazejewski, will be premiering Monday October 22 at the council chambers of Salford Town Hall.

The evening will also showcase wildlife photography and stories about Salford’s most exciting habitats from Dr Blazejewski’s career.

The film depicts the importance of nature within cities and how if the right habitat is created nature will thrive.

In Salford, a flood basin was built to prevent flooding.

This newly created wetland in the heart of Salford has now attracted diverse wildlife that has never been seen before in this city.

Birds such as Little Egrets and Little Ring Plover, which are not associated with city living, are now part of Salford’s wildlife.

A key theme of Dr Blazejewski work has always been to raise awareness of what is on our doorsteps and species we take for granted as well as the rare and unusual species.

“I have discovered loads of really cool things in Salford as a wildlife photographer. Over the years one of the biggest discoveries I had was, and it’s a weird one, a pink grasshopper – it was an amazing find because it’s a very rare deformation.”

Dr Blazejewski’s ‘Salford Wetland’ focuses on Salford and Greater Manchester in the hopes to raise awareness about urban biodiversity and as he says “trying to get people reconnected to the local natural environment”.

Whilst completing his PHD at Salford University, Luke studied the relationship between people and nature in cities.

“One of the biggest things about people’s relationship with nature in the city, Salford included, but also around the wider country, is that over the last 100 years people’s perception of nature have become linked up with the exotic and the rare and the far away and the big and the scary and the fluffy or whatever it might be.

“So whether its lions or polar bears or penguins on television people have started to associate nature with something that isn’t part of their everyday life” he said.

Due to this Luke aims to get people more involved in the natural world and educate people on the impact humans have on the planet .

In terms of helping the environment, Dr Blazejewski still thinks that there is lots more to be done.

He said: “I think were going in the right direction very slowly.

“Behaviour change is hard were creatures of habit, getting people to change their habits can be very difficult.”

So how can you be a part of that positive change within Salford? There are nature walks and clean up walks you can join with groups such as Peel Park Rangersand Mersey Rivers Trust.

Dr Blazejeski believe that the environment community generally is quite small but that nature in Salford is one of the most important parts of the city.

He said: “Nature when you think of it in the context of Salford is really interesting because obviously you’ve got the industrial heritage here that crystallises peoples perception of Salford not being a green city but when you look at the maps and the natural cover of Salford its 60% green space there’s more green space than there is industry area which not many people think.”

For future projects Luke is already planning another urban wildlife film based in Trafford at a small nature reserve, Trafford Ecology Park.

Trafford industrial estate is the biggest in Europe and hidden away in the centre is a small square piece of land with ‘lovely lakes and little woodland’ full of wildlife that live in total seclusion.

Films such as ‘Salford Wetland’ take around a year to make so where does Luke find the inspiration behind these ventures.

“I am quite well tapped into the environment community in greater manchester, I’m part of a lot of networks, so when you’re part of these kinds of networks stuff comes your way a lot of the time.

“You kind of always have an eye on things and are aware of whats going on but theres other things as well. Sometimes I just stumble across places when I’m out on my bike just cycling around and I find a place that I never knew existed.

“Manchester and Salford are great for that cause there’s just so many old victorian parks that are tucked away in little housing estates and communities that you just never knew were there unless you took the opportunity to go out and get lost.

“I think I’m always going to have ties with Salford.

“It’s been a very special place for me over the last 10 years since I moved here and fell in love with the river (Irewell). It’s given me a lot along the way as well so I will always have a place for salford in my heart.”

This particular project was funded by Broughton Trust, a local community charity in the Irewell Valleys Sustainable Communities Project.

The forthcoming event was so popular that the council are opening the public gallery in the council chamber to accommodate another 35 more seats.

Doors open at 6:30pm and show starts at 7pm.

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