Our blog & news: Get involved to help wildlife


"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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  1. There's a saying, "what goes around, comes around" and you could apply that to rubbish.

    The problem is that when we let a balloon go, or chuck a plastic bag away, there's no telling where the wind will take it.  Bags are just taken with the wind, out of rubbish bins, land fill, rubbish trucks, and there's no way of knowing where it will come to land.

    Litter, litter, everywhere - who knows where it will end up?

    The Marine Conservation Society has the results of its 2016 Great British Beach Clean which took place in September.   Nearly 6,000 volunteers cleaned 364 beaches around the UK.  The litter they found was recorded.   268,384 pieces of rubbish were collected.   

    We're doing better with plastic bag use

    The good news is that this is slightly lower than the previous year.   And the number of plastic bags almost HALVED in a year - probably, the MCS thinks, due to the plastic bag charge which was introduced, where shoppers taking a plastic bag are charged 5p.  This shows that legislation CAN make a difference.  

    In China similarly, a limit on ultra-thin plastic bags significantly reduced bag-related polution.  According to Chinese government estimates, 40 BILLION bags were not used.  

    Many countries have also introduced bag limits in recent years.   And why wouldn't they?   Countries who really care about the health and wellbeing of ALL their citizens, people and animals, will take steps like this.  

    Plastic bags can take 100 years plus to decompose.   They gradually break down into small pieces over periods over time.   Eventually.  And they soak up toxins.  Fish, turtles and whales think they are food  They eat them and these toxins enter the food chain.   The Ocean Conservancy recently said that platic bags are the second most deadly threat to sea surtles, birds and marine mammals.  

    The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that the world's plastic rubbish and refuge kills about 1 million sea birds a year.  

    Getting rid of thin plastic bags will be easier than removing debris.   It will be cheaper, and save local and national governments and taxpayers everywhere paying for rubbish pick-ups.  

    One dead whale was discovered to have "enough plastic bags and fishing nets in its stomacy to fill an excavator bucket".  

    It's time to move to ban plastic bags full stop.   

    Another thing we need to change 

    And there's another thing.   Balloon rubbish is on the way up.   Please don't let go of balloons.   I often pick up balloons on walks with my dog - I spot them across a field and go to investigate.  I take them home and bin them.  But I still can't be sure of where they end up.

    The Marine Conservation Society found that balloon rubbish was up about 50% on our beaches.   Widllife think they are something to eat and they can get strangled by the string we use to hold on to balloons.  Balloons can block digestive systems, so animals starve. 

    If people can change their behaviour for the better and reduce their use of plastic bags, we can do the same for balloons.  The MCS's aim is to stop all intentional balloon and lantern releases around the UK and to get balloons and lanterns classed as litter and they have a Don't Let Go campaign.  Meantime, you can help put pressure on your council by encouraging them and nudging them to  ban the intentional release of balloons and sky lanterns on their land.  And you can use alternative ideas to balloons. 

    Click here to find out more about the Don't Let Go campaign. 



  2. Good news from the World Land Trust!

    Thanks to the supporters of the Buy an Acre scheme, 546 acres of cloud forest has been saved in Ecuador and Mexico.  

    The funds from the Buy an Acre Mexico donations were used to buiy two properties which extend the Cerro Prieto-Cerro la Luz reserve by over 350 acres.  The Lands for Conservation Chief at GESG, Roberto Pedraza Ruiz, says "there is not solid forest as far as the eye can see, and it is now a huge reserve".  A visit to the site 2 years ago had brought about the discovery that someone had been logging 40 year old cedars for timber.

    And Buy an Acre Ecuador purchased another two properties which extend the Nangaritz Reserve by just under 200 acres.  It protects a unique ecosystem where the Andes meets the Amazonian foothill forest.   A lot of this land has been degraded as a result of clearing land for grazing cattle, but now the land has become part of the estate, it will given the opportunity to regenerate to its former state.  

    Visit the World Land Trust to see how your gift can help protect habitat
    ©World Land Trust


    The area has amazing biodiversity, with animals such as the critically endangered Limon Harliquin Frog, the Orange Throated Tanger and mammals such as the jaguar, the spectacled bear, the mountain tapir and ocelot.

    So if you're looking for a Christmas gift for someone this year, why not visit the World Land Trust's Buy an Acre scheme and support it?  Let your gift help keep the planet green and amazing and protect habitat so wildlife have a home! 

    Visit the World Land Trust and make a difference today




    National Tree Week takes place from 26th November to 4th December in 2016.   Celebrate all things tree and branch out with these leafy activities!  National Tree Week is organised by the Tree Council - it's the largest tree celebration in the UK and it launches the start of the winter tree planting season.

    This is a great opportunity to do something positive for trees in your area. 

    10 Tree Things to Do 

    Send a tree through the post
    Yes, honestly.  There’s a tree (or a bush) for everyone even in a hallway or on a balcony.   Rather than send flowers which don’t last, send a tree or bush which will last longer.  Some trees/bushes even produce things you can eat…. Tree2mydoor.com is to trees what a florist is to flowers so this Christmas why not send a tree as a gift?

    Hunt for ancient trees
    Help the hunt for Ancient Trees and help boost the ancient tree inventory.  This is a great outdoors activity, aided by the fact you can choose the day (and weather) on which to do it.  Your family can go hunting for ancient trees and if you find one, let the Woodland Trust know about it.  It helps them lobby to protect ancient trees and care for them, and plan for their proteciton in the future.  The Woodland Trust has a leaflet for children with activities to do. 

    Plant a tree or join a community plant
    From small trees to the mighty oak, you can plant a tree in your garden or join a community project and enjoy it for years. Get your community planting trees or volunteer to help on a tree planting near you.  This is a great way to meet new people and make friends and get all earthy.  The Woodland Trust has more information on community planting

    Who lives in woodland and trees?
    Wildlife need our woodland and our trees. Discover who lives in our woodlands and trees and our forests.  The Wildlife Trust and Woodland Trust both have information about who lives there.   

    Become a tree surgeon
    This could be a great career for anyone who loves the outdoors life and trees!  Tree surgeons plant, they fell, they care for and maintain trees and assess their hazards.   You can find more info at the National Careers Service website here and The Arboricultural Association has information as well.

    Be a tree warden for the Tree Council
    The Tree Warden Scheme is a national initiative to enable people to play an active role in conserving and enhancing their local trees and woods. The scheme was founded and is co-ordinated by The Tree Council. 

    Trees, shrubs and hedges from Suttons Seeds
    Trees, shrubs and hedging from Suttons Seeds

    Plant a tree in memory 
    My wonderful Dad died in 2013.   Birthdays and Christmases are difficult.  I felt I wanted to mark events such as this in some way so I’ve started planting a tree in Dad’s memory for these occasions and Father’s Day.   So far, I’ve planted a tree with the Alderney Wildlife Trust, the Woodland Trust in Sussex and 5 trees in Ecuador with the World Land Trust, all in his name and memory.  It took a while for the idea to surface, but I do smile at the thought of trees being dedicated to Dad all over the world. I try to find a link between each tree and Dad.  He was a Winnie the Pooh fan, so I planted a tree in Sussex which is Winnie the Pooh country.

    Campaign for Trees
    The Woodland Trust campaigns for Trees – visit their website to see if there are any campaign's you could support.   Examples include being a voice for trees and woods, telling the Trust about threats to ancient woods, and taking action in your community. Find out what you can do to help 

    Identify trees
    How many of us know our oak from our beech?  The Woodland Trust has information you can use to discover which tree is which.   Visit the woods near you and enjoy them.

    Visit Trees for Cities
    Trees for Cities is working to make cities greener places in which to live and visit world wide.  There are opportunities to volunteer, either as an individual or a corporate entity.  Since 1993, over 70,000 people have planted over 600,000 urban trees in parks, streets, schools and housing estates across the UK, as well as internationally.  


  4. There's some great news for marine life this week as the Ross Sea in Antarctica gains protection.

    Some 600,000 square miles in the Southern Ocean will become the world's biggest Marine Protected Area (MPA).  The protection lasts for 35 years and protects the area from commercial fishing.    

    This is a great example of how nations - 24 in all plus the EU - can work together and reach an agreement to protect a prestine marine ecosystem which is vital to wildlife.   It is hoped that other protected areas will follow.


    Delegates from 24 countries and the European Union have agreed that the Ross Sea in Antarctica will become the world's largest marine protected area (MPA). A 1.55 million km2 area of the Ross Sea will be established, with special protection from human activities.  The meeting took place in Hobart, Australia, after years of protracted negotiations.

    The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) agreed unanimously to designate the Ross Sea as an MPA.

    This new MPA will come into force in December 2017.   It will limit or entirely prohibit certain activities so as to meet specific conservation, habitat protection, ecosystem monitoring and fisheries management objectives.  And 72% of the MPA will be a 'no-take' zone, which forbids all fishing.  Other sections will allow some harvesting of fish and krill for scientific research.  

    The Ross Sea, its shelf and slope comprise just 2% of the Southern Ocean but it is a vital home to 38% of the world's Adelie penguins, 30% of the world's Antarctic petrels and about 6% of the world's population of Antarctic minke whales.  It is also home to vast number of krill which are a staple food for species such as whales and seals.  And the region is important to you and I because the nutrients from the deep waters there are carried on currents around the world.   The fear is that overfishing and climate change are impacting on their numbers. 

    The establishment of this enormous marine protected area is a great step forward for the wellbeing of marine life and people everywhere.  Here's to more of them!