Today The Wildlife Trusts unveil ten new projects which are contributing to the drive to help nature fight back – including converting an ex-golf course into an urban oasis for bees and butterflies, turning degraded arable land into heathland, securing a future for historic wildflower meadows and rewilding a village.
Sir David Attenborough and members of the public are backing the call for 30 by 30 – The Wildlife Trusts have been humbled by the way in which the crusade has caught the popular imagination. People want change.
Sir David Attenborough, President Emeritus of The Wildlife Trusts, says:
“If given a chance – nature is capable of extraordinary recovery. The Wildlife Trusts’ campaign to secure 30 per cent of our land and sea for nature’s recovery by 2030 offers us the vision and level of ambition that is urgently needed to reverse the loss of nature, and so improve all our lives.
“We are facing a global extinction crisis which has implications for every one of us. It’s tempting to assume that the loss of wildlife and wild places is a problem that’s happening on the other side of the world. The truth is that the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries on the planet and the situation is getting worse.”
The Wildlife Trusts’ new schemes are additions to a growing list of nature recovery projects that will put new land aside for nature as well as repair and link-up existing, fragmented, wild areas to enable wildlife to move around – some of these are still fundraising. The aim is to bring nature everywhere including to the places where people live. The new schemes include:
1. Transforming 42-acre ex-golf course in Carlisle into an urban bee and butterfly oasis
2. Restoring 95 acres arable fields back to heathland for nature in Worcestershire
3. Reviving ice-age ponds and expanding heathland across 140 acres, Norfolk
4. Quadrupling a nature reserve to help the rare marsh fritillary butterfly, Wiltshire
5. Breathing life into 20 urban nature areas to benefit people and wildlife, Tyne & Wear
6. Piloting eco-friendly ‘Naturehoods’ by creating habitats in Lincolnshire communities
7. Securing a future for 14 acres of rare wildflower meadows in Herefordshire
8. Improving 30 acres historic northern hay meadows for wildflowers in Cumbria
9. Buying 12 fabulous acres of unsprayed fields for yellow mountain pansy, Shropshire
10. Managing traditional Rhos pasture for butterfly conservation, Radnorshire
The call has inspired ordinary people to support individual Wildlife Trusts. Of the £8 million total raised so far, over £900,000 has been given by members of the public. These include:
Fiona McKenna – a keen conservationist, is striding out to raise at least £1000 for Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. In May, she will cover 147 miles in 12 days, discovering the projects which are going to bring back wildlife and put 30 by 30 into practice.
Joe Oldaker – a keen rambler in Warwickshire, Joe has donated £1000 for the Wildlife Trust’s 30 by 30 Nature Recovery Fund because, he says, “I don’t see the common wildflowers, birds or butterflies I saw as a boy.”
Terry Moore de Caslou – a chef who found himself furloughed due to the pandemic, turned to nature photography and is donating money from the sale of his wildlife photographs to Shropshire Wildlife Trust.
Lynne Farrell – a botanist who offered financial support and plant recording skills to help the hay meadows at Bowber Head when she heard they were to be restored. It brought together personal and professional passions and she felt it was the right time to act.
In Cheshire, Cheshire Wildlife Trust local projects to date include:
1. Bringing beavers back to Cheshire after 400 years of local extinction.
2. Bringing wildlife back to the Cheshire Peak District, focusing on four key areas – Woodland, Species-rich grassland, Wading birds and Rivers.
The call has inspired members of the public to support the Trust’s work for wildlife, including Wilmslow residents who have pledged £25k to support a nature recovery programme across Cheshire’s Peak District. They are asking other individuals to match their donation to provide a total of £50k which will pay for vital work including meadow restoration, woodland creation and wetland work to reverse the decline of wading birds, including the curlew.
The Wilmslow couple said: “We have been members of Cheshire Wildlife Trust for thirteen years and are impressed by the landscape scale approach to bringing wildlife back to Cheshire’s Peak District. We are very happy to support this work financially.”
Martin Varley, Director of Nature Recovery at Cheshire Wildlife Trust said:
“Wildlife is in trouble and we need to act now if we are able to turn things around before it is too late. Nature’s recovery will take many years, but it begins with changes you will very quickly be able to see, including projects we are running this year and next. Wildlife recovery is our priority ambition at Cheshire Wildlife Trust.”
When Craig Bennett became chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts exactly a year ago, his pledge was to “get our nature back.” Since then, he has launched the 30 by 30 ambition and pioneered the concept of Wildbelt, a new designation to protect land in recovery for nature.
Craig Bennett says:
“The alarming decline in the abundance of wildlife and the plight of species under threat means we need to act more quickly than ever before. Just protecting the nature we have left is not enough; we need to put nature into recovery, and to do so at scale and with urgency. We need to transform nature-poor areas into new nature-rich places – and change the way we think about land, looking for opportunities to help nature outside traditional nature reserves.
“We’ve been inspired and humbled by the level of public support for our vision. The restrictions imposed by the pandemic have shown how much people need nature to be present where they live and work and not just in far-off places for visiting on special occasions. Making space for local nature is more vital than ever.”
Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s 30 by 30 appeal asks people, communities and businesses to donate at www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife/our-work-wildlife/30-30