"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead, American anthropologist, 1901-1978
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GREEN MATCH FUND 2023 The 20-27th April 2023 saw the Green Match Fund 2023 when donations made to 178 participating charities were doubled. Some are protecting specific animals such as dormice or otters, whilst others are focusing on habitats such as hedgerows or seagrass. Some are based in the UK but help wildlife overseas. The event raised over £4,349,330 for the participating charities through 22,457 donations! This well exceeded the previous year's event (£2.8 million). Well done everyone!
Update on 29 April 2023:The Green Match Fund 2023 was a great success, and £4,349,330 was raised for 178 charities in 7 days. There were 22,457 donations to make this happen! Congratulations to all the charities involved!
Here's the background here:
Here’s a chance to make a donation for wildlife which gets DOUBLED!
From the 20th April at midday for one week, you can donate to an environmental charity taking part and your donation will be matched!
This is a great chance to really make your £ stretch to make a difference!
Back in 1971 on 2 February, the Convention on Wetlands was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar which sits on the shores of the Caspian Sea
Today, the 2nd February is a really important day for people and wildlife, because it’s a chance to highlight how important wetlands are to us all. They are where land meets sea. The 2nd February is World Wetlands Day.
Where are wetlands?
Wetlands cover areas such as shores, estuaries, mudflats, floodplains, coastal marshes, local ponds, the bog and pond in your garden, mangrove swamps, seagrass beds, and rivers. They cover a very small of the earth’s surface – and yet they are one of the most important habitats on our planet.
"If rainforests are the lungs of the planet, then wetlands are the lifeblood. As much as we need air to breathe, we need water to live. The conservation of our wetlands is essential to all life on earth.” WWT
Why wetlands matter to people:
They provide us with drinking water
They store a third of the world’s carbon emissions
Sundarbans National Park (India) is formed of tidal rivers, creeks and canals and supports species such as the single largest population of tiger, and aquatic mammals such as the Irrawaddy and Ganges River dolphins, all under threat.
So what’s happening to wetlands in our changing world?
A recent global IPBES assessment identified wetlands as the most threatened ecosystem. This impacts 40% of the world’s plant and animal species that live or breed in wetlands.
The official website of World Wetlands Day says "we need to revive and restore degraded wetlands".
35% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared in the last 50 years
Our wetlands are threatened by:
So what can we all do to help wetland conservation?
WWT can create new wetlands in a few months and years – so your support can really make a difference quickly. But there’s something we can all do to help and you’ll find more links and further resources further down.
Find out why they matter to people and wildlife.
See what you can do at home to help wildlife. Create a (mini) pond in your garden, local area or school - WWT or the RSPB can show you how
Visit a wetland close to you if there is one, and spend time there. Use your senses while you visit. Listen to the sounds you can hear; look at the sights, smell the scents. Connect with them.
Find out which of your local conservation charities are working to protect and restore wetlands. How can you get involved and support them? Many of them will be working on projects which you may be able to get involved with. This could be by volunteering, donating, buying something from their online shop, becoming a member, spreading the word about them - there are lots of ways to help.
#WetlandBiodiversityMatters to see what’s happening
World Wetland Network – a collection of NGOs and Civil Society Groups all working for wetland conservation
Wetland Link International – a support network for wetland education centres which deliver engagement activities on site. The WWT in the UK lead it; it has 350 members over 6 continents!
RAMSAR – The Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
World Wetlands Day – held every year on 2 February to raise awareness of the importance of wetlands and how we can all help
Beavers can be quite controversial animals in the natural world; personally I admire them for their incredible engineering skills.
About 400 years ago, beavers were hunted to extinction in the UK but they are being re-introduced (with caution) in the hope that they will help restore our wetlands to their natural state and also reduce the impact of flooding.
Forestry England has produced this video showing why beavers build dams. Their teeth are really quite something (the beavers, not Forestry England.)
Now, a number of the UK's Wildlife Trusts have beaver appeals and they are Dorset, Derbyshire, Devon, Cheshire, Cornwall and Kent.
The Wildlife Trust's website describe beavers as the engineers of the animal world and looking at the video above, it's easy to see why.
To support the Wildlife Trust's conservation efforts, you could Adopt a Beaver either for yourself or as a gift for a nature lover! You could also buy them this Give a Dam t-shirt:
This t-shirt is made from 100% organic cotton and it's printed in the UK in a renewable energy powered factory. £19.00 Find out more about it
Of course you should also take a look at the Beaver Trust. I hope they won't mind me quoting their very exciting mission which is:
"to recover Britain’s waterways and landscapes through the rapid and widespread re-establishment of beaver wetlands across whole river catchments."
Their belief is that beavers are a practical, low-cost solution for long-term restoration. They can help revesse the trend of extinction of British wildlife. You can see from their map where beavers are in the UK.
Furthermore, the Beaver Trust reports that in the US West, land managers and scientists hare using beaver dam analogs to do three things:
WWT protects wetlands and wildlife. They have a number of centres around the UK which in non-Covid-19 times you can visit. As WWT says, if rainforest are the lungs of the planet, then wetlands are the lifeblood. We all need wetlands to keep our water clean and to help protect against flooding, drought and pollution. They are home to many different species and in the UK, they are home to 10% of all our species. So they matter to people and animals.
EMERGENCY APPEAL: WWT have launched an urgent appeal to help them continue their conservation work - like so many charities, their income has been badly affected by Covid-19. You can donate here.
Among the UK's WWT centres, one is based in London. And a very Happy Anniversary to WWT London who celebrated 20 years on 26 May 2020!
The WWT has brought the countryside to London and the London Wetland Centre gives amazing peace and quiet to both wildlife and people.
The centre records 180 species of bird each year, including stunning kingfishers, sand martins, wading birds, though the times of the year vary, of course.
The centre is currently closed due to the coronavirus, but please take a few minutes to watch this film and enjoy.
It’s a global campaign and it’s dedicated to raising awareness of migratory birds and the need for countries around the world to co-operate in their efforts to save them.
This year, the theme is “Birds Connect Our World”.
It was picked to highlight how important it is to conserve and restore the ecological connectivity and integrity of ecosystems which support the natural cycles that are essential for migratory birds to survive and thrive.
The day gives us all an opportunity to discover more about migratory birds and be in awe at their amazing feats.
Migratory birds need networks with stops
Migratory birds travel far. They need to be able to stop to rest and feed and breed. If you like, you could liken it as a journey along a motorway system and every so often, they need to stop for a break to fill their tummies and have a break.
Birds need networks of sites
They need a network of sites along these routes to breed, to feed, to rest and spend the winter. They need different sites and habitats, irrelevant of which country they are in. They can cross incredible distances and over impossible terrains such as deserts and open seas. They cross national borders and soar above any national agenda. What they do need is for countries to co-operate to ensure their routes are kept open and safe for them.
Examples of migratory birds’ routes
The East Asian – Australasian Flyway goes from the Russian Far East and Alaska through East Asia and South-East Asia, down to Australia and New Zealand – 22 countries in all. The Flyway is home to over 50 million migratory waterbirds from over 250 different populations. They need a system of wetlands to rest, feed and build up the energy they need for the next part of their journey.
RSPB has information about the Arctic tern who travels a rather amazing 22,000 miles a year – the longest migration of all – as they move continually between the Arctic summer and the Antarctic summer.
So you can see how important it is that countries work together to give these birds the flight paths they need, with all the facilities along the way.
What can be done at a national/international level:
Increase action globally via environment treaties such as the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Africa-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA). These are vital to protect migratory birds on their international flight paths.
Creating habitat corridors which are protected and which go across boundaries would really help animals who migrate and fly over national boundaries.
Networks of crucial sites which are imperative to migration needs must be safeguarded and managed properly. Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas as described by BirdLife International give migratory birds all they need during their long flights - necessary feeding, breeding, nesting and sheltering grounds.
What individuals like you & me can do:
Have a bird-friendly garden with safe shelters and a bird bath. Give them bird food. Put feeders out of reach of cats.
Spread the word about how important it is to protect migratory birds.
Download and use birding apps – it’s a great way to connect to like-minded bird lovers.