About Suzanna Maas

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So far Suzanna Maas has created 4 blog entries.

Run the Virtual London Marathon!

Do you like running? We have a charity place available for the 2021 virtual Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 3 October 2021!

We would love our supporters to take part in this unique challenge, while raising much-needed funds for our charity. It won’t cost you anything – except effort! For this virtual version of the Virgin Money London Marathon you need to:

  • Aim to raise a minimum of £1,000.
  • Design your own route (it’s about 26.2 miles to all Magnificent Seven cemeteries!).
  • Carry a phone capable of using the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon App to enable GPS to track your 26.2 miles.
  • Be responsible for your own nutrition and hydration during the event.

If needed, we may be able to support you with a water/snack/first aid stop in the Cemetery Park (E3 4PX), Leytonstone (E11 4LP), and possibly one in Belsize Park/Camden (tbc).

If you would like to take part and raise critical funds for the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, email contact@fothcp.org as soon as possible. You must let us know:

  • How much money you aim to raise
  • How you will raise the money
  • Ideas of how you’ll complete the marathon (e.g. walk, run or wheelchair, run as a group*) and your route.

We aim to let you know as soon as possible.

More information about the event, training and nutrition advice, and ideas and inspiration for creative ways to take part can be found on the London Marathon website.

We look forward to hearing from you!

2021-06-21T10:59:27+01:00March 10th, 2021|

Foraging in the Cemetery Park

Wild garlic - ramson - Allium ursinum - (CC BY 2.0) author allispossible.org.ukIf you want to forage at the Cemetery Park, you must apply for permission. Please email contact@fothcp.org. If you’re unable to email, call 0208 8983 1277. It can take us up to 3 working days to reply, so please be patient.

We only allow foraging for personal use. NO RESTAURANTS OR COMMERCIAL FORAGING. If you’re a chef, source your food legally and without the risk of a £5,000 fine, e.g. from Totally Wild, Farmdrop, or Ocado.

Please donate to support us replanting afterwards. The vast majority of our foragers make a donation. As a charity we spend a lot of money, time and effort on our plants. Written permissions are new for 2021. We used to allow more foraging, but Covid has massively increased the number of foraging people, and in 2020 the Cemetery Park was heavily damaged.

You need to follow these rules for responsible foraging:

  1. Apply for permission – email contact@fothcp.org. Include the species, frequency, and quantity you want to forage.
  2. Donate. The vast majority of our foragers give a donation. It costs the charity time, effort and money to support foraging.
  3. Bring your phone/a copy of the permission email, so you can show the email if asked by staff.
  4. Only take a small quantity, maximum 150g – think a small bag of salad at the supermarket.
  5. Use a sharp tool so you don’t accidentally pull out the roots. You can not dig up plants.
  6. Leave no trace. Don’t trample any plants, and don’t disturb wildlife. Ensure areas don’t look damaged.
  7. Only pick from where there are lots of plants. If you see bald patches, do not pick there. Collect from more than one spot, and away from footpath edges (it looks bad, and think dog wee…).

If you are ever not 100% sure of what you are picking, please do not forage it. We wouldn’t want you to accidentally poison yourself.

If you’ve received permission in a previous year, please apply again, so we can monitor how much is being foraged.

Please note that according to Tower Hamlets Parks byelaws, picking plants isn’t allowed at all. Legally the Cemetery Park grounds are part of Tower Hamlets Parks, so in principle the byelaw still applies. However as a charity we strongly encourage people to enjoy nature, within reason.

2021-05-20T11:40:58+01:00March 1st, 2021|

Open call for an artist in residence for the Cemetery Park

Are you an artist who likes the Cemetery Park?

Image of an artwork with the words 'open call for a artist in residence'Our artist in residence Louise Hildreth is ready to hand over the baton to a new person for a one-year residency. We are looking for an East London* artist working with a nature- and community-based practice.

This residency allows for a full cycle of seasons spent amidst the woodlands and wildflowers as well as the extraordinary heritage of the cemetery and local area. We would like to encourage community outreach and can support any funding applications that could aid a programme of this kind (e.g. Louise has received Arts Council funding).

This is a self-guided, unpaid residency and sadly, we don’t have a studio to offer. However:

  • Our current artist in residence will be there to talk you through what it’s like, and may be able to help you with funding applications
  • We will shortly be running a Kickstarter-style fundraiser, where one of the rewards for a £1,000 donation will be for the artist in residence to create an artwork and deliver a workshop. Part of this money can be shared with the new artist in residence.
  • We’re flexible on the commitment required: Over the course of a year we’d like you to create at least 3 artworks and deliver 3 workshops.

* By ‘East London’ we mean that you’re based or from there. This isn’t a strict requirement, but it’ll help you keep transport costs and time to a minimum.

We always aim to be inclusive and want the Cemetery Park to reflect the diversity of the local area with its rich culture and multi-ethnic community. We particularly welcome applications from those who are significantly underrepresented within the arts.

For more information or to apply, contact the current artist in residence, Louise Hildreth on louise.hildreth@hotmail.co.uk. Please send proposals including a brief outline of your practice and why you would like to be the next artist in residence, as well as images or links to websites/social media pages.

The submission deadline is 11 December 2020 23:59, and candidates will be informed by 18 December 2020.

2020-11-22T14:35:21+00:00November 18th, 2020|

The purpose of ponds

Researching Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park’s aquatic insects with Europonds

Guest post written by Liam Nash (Queen Mary University of London), in collaboration with Laura Sivess (Natural History Museum, London) for the Europonds project as part of the Freshwater Biological Association.
A white person holding dragonfly nymphs in their hand

These baby dragonflies, called nymphs, live underwater but grow wings and leave when they become adults.

From the Arctic circle to the Azores, there are thousands of ponds across Europe, everywhere from Alpine wildernesses to inner-city London. Great or small, these blue oases provide essential freshwater habitat for a massive diversity of amphibians, insects, plants and more. Many people’s first experience with nature is through ponds – enjoying an afternoon of pond-dipping for dragonfly larvae, or watching frogspawn develop into tadpoles. But ponds are not only important for these strange-looking, underwater creatures. They also hugely benefit their surrounding landscape. As with all things in nature, pond animals are tightly interconnected with their wider ecosystem, including that outside of their pond, on land.

Many pond insects, such as midges, mosquitoes and dragonflies, undergo metamorphosis, transforming from aquatic larvae to emerge as flying adults. Well-known is the mass mayfly emergence in spring, where millions of adults emerge just for a few hours to mate before dying. Anyone who spends time near water will be acutely aware of adult midges and mosquitoes, winged and able to bite us. But, as much of a nuisance as these animals are for us, they are a food source for many other species of bird, bat and spider. Ponds become “insect chimneys”, attracting predators for miles around to eat these newly adult aquatic insects.

A map of the sites of Europonds research

A map of all the different ponds being sampled across Europe as part of Europonds (map from Google).


However, we understand very little about the importance of this food source. What factors influence it, and how does this vary in different environments?

Europonds is an exciting pan-European research project targeting these questions. Scientists from all across the continent are examining the impact that pond insects, as a food source, have on surrounding land animals. We are two London-based PhD researchers heading up the UK team. The Cemetery Park is a key site to investigate the benefit of emerging insects on urban wildlife.

Catching the insects as they leave the water is made possible with emergence traps, essentially floating pyramids of netting. After counting and identifying the insects, they will be sent to Austria for ‘fatty acid analysis’ to assess their nutritional value for birds and other animals. We’ll also look out for the cast-off ‘skin’ (called an exuvia) dragonflies leave behind when they emerge, collect larvae using nets, and take some water samples to build a complete picture of everything going on, in and out of the pond.

Ultimately, all the teams will share and collate their data from fifteen European countries carried out in autumn, winter, spring and summer. This will be used to determine how ponds impact their surroundings, what pond characteristics are most important and how this varies over space and time. Everything we find will be shared with the Friends, to see how their ponds, specifically, are providing food for their own wildlife. Each year the Cemetery Park attracts around 60 bird species, 30 butterflies and nationally rare beetles and spiders into the heart of London. It may well just be that the ponds are part of the reason why.

Europonds traps in Soanes Centre pond

Europonds emergence traps.

More Europonds emergence traps.




2020-11-26T00:21:56+00:00November 16th, 2020|