Wildlife Conservation News

 


Wildlife and our last remaining wild places are being destroyed because of human action or inaction and because of our own short –term greed.

Peter Fearnhead, CEO, African Parks Network, South Africa


 

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  1. It’s National Gardening Week, and this is a great chance to raise awareness of opportunities to get gardening!

    Did you know that there are a number of different gardening campaigns to get people gardening?

    A couple of my favourite are from the RHS, that’s the Royal Horticultural Society – Britain’s main gardening charity.   The RHS is known for its world famous RHS  flower shows such as RHS Chelsea, RHS Hampton Court and RHS Tatton Park; and also for campaigns such as Britain in Bloom which helps build local communities.  

    But there’s also a couple of others which I think are really important from the RHS and other gardening charities so here there are:

    Greening Grey Britain

    As Britain gets more and more concrete, and there’s more and more building, so it’s really important to look after and create new green spaces.   Gardens are crucial, and they are also an essential way to help wildlife.  Wildlife are losing more and more habitat to human activity.  What’s more, the more land we concrete over, the more risk at flooding we are and the more we damage the environment and our health.

    So the RHS is running a campaign to encourage people to get Greening Grey Britain.   You could for example:

    • Plant a tree
    • Plant a shrub
    • Plant a flower bed
    • Plant a window box or a container
    • Plant a climber
    • Do something else

    The RHS are hoping that 6,000 people will join in this campaign – so far over 2,800 people have done just that.  


    Wild About Gardens

    Wild About Gardens is a joint initiative by the RHS and The Wildlife Trusts to get more people growing for wildlife.  This year, the theme is Go Wild For Worms – they are essential to life and a gardener’s best friend.  They are also essential food for wildlife. 

    Campaign for School Gardening

    Young people are clearly the gardeners of tomorrow but more importantly I think they are going to be the guardians of our planet.   Frankly, and this is just a personal view, I hope they do a better job of it than my generation have done. 

    The RHS Campaign for School Gardening inspires and supports schools to give children with gardening opportunities to enhance their skills and boost their development.  Children love gardening and it does them so much good.  

    Horticulture Matters

    The RHS is looking to tackle the crisis in the horticultural industry in the UK which is suffering from a growing skills crisis.   It’s working to improve the perception of careers in the sector, to support schools in the delivery of horticultural qualifications and to work with the Government to secure funding for plant-science research.

    It’s your Neighbourhood

    Over 2,000 community groups participate in this gardening campaign – caring for parks, greening street corners, revamping alleyways and basically creating greener, safer places for everyone to live with a fresh community spirit.

    Pots for Pollinators

    This campaign is run by Butterfly Conservation and it’s asking people to Plant a pot for a pollinator – butterflies, bees etc. 

    Just Add Water

    Just Add Water is a national campaign to encourage the public to dig wildlife ponds, especially in urban environments.  There's been a huge loss of countryside ponds in recent years so hopefully this will help local frogs and newts and other wildlife to survive and thrive.  Efforts locally can make a big difference and Froglife have created the Just Add Water campaign to help give advice and tips.  

     

  2. The Snow Leopard Trust works to protect this endangered cat through community-based conservation projects


    The Snow Leopard Trust works to protect this endangered cat through community-based conservation projects.

    The Snow Leopard Trust have dedicated 1 May 2018 as a Spot-tacular!   It’s an online day to thanking its supporters and recognising them as an integral part of their team.

    To celebrate, they are sharing their annual Impact Report

    The support the Trust’s supporters have provided have meant that…..

    There’s more information here but it’s great to hear from a charity of the impact support has. 

    Visit the Snow Leopard Trust’s website to see how you can make a difference to these magnificent animals here.

    Spring into Action

    The Snow Leopard Trust  is currently working to raise $60,000 to expand their programmes and they are running appeals for a couple of projects:

    One to support wildlife rangers - Help equip and pay two rangers who patrol the Shamshy Wildlife Sanctuary in Kyrgyzstan to prevent illegal hunting and monitor wildlife populations

    Counting the cats – they are looking to come up with a solid estimate of the snow leopard population in Himachal Pradesh, one of five Indian states which have snow leopards

    Adopt a Snow LeopardAdopt a Snow Leopard

     

     

  3. It’s National Gardening Week this week (April 30th to May 6th 2018).

    This year, the theme of this annual event is to encourage gardeners to share their love of gardening, so I thought I’d share with you why I love it.

    There’s an awful lot that’s been written about the physical and mental benefits of gardening, so I thought I would tell you why I find it beneficial and why I love it.   I know gardening does me good.  I love being out there, digging, weeding, planting, planning, watering – it gives me a peace and it’s doing nature good at the same time.

    So here are the benefits I’ve enjoyed from my love of gardens and gardening…

    1. Gardening and a love of gardens helps you connect to people.   Give me a garden centre over a shopping centre any day.  At a garden centre, you can swiftly get chatting and comparing notes over the cucumber plants or the rose bushes.   You can compare failures, successes, things that have worked for you, things that haven’t worked for you. 
       
    2. You don’t have to travel anywhere to get what you need for your garden.  You can just do everything from home.  There’s an enormous number of online retailers who will happily deliver to you - though of course there are delivery costs.  

    3. You can get lost in a new world with gardening magazines which give me great joy – there’s nothing like leafing through pages of a magazine and jotting down ideas of things to try.   You don’t need acres and acres of garden, either.  A few square feet will do. 

    4. You can enjoy the pleasure of watching things you’ve planted grow.  I’ve stuck in a blueberry bush – it’s a dwarf one and it’s gone into a pot.  It’s started to flower and I’m looking forward to tucking into the blueberries. (To be honest, I’m amazed when anything I plant grows…. I’m a “plant and hope they come up” gardener.)

    5. Grow your own fruit and veg and salads, and you’ll have food you can enjoy from home – and there’s nothing like it!   My grandfather in Wales used to do this and I loved the mint from his garden, the peas, the potatoes etc.   My little sister and I spent many a happy hour with him outside, “helping”, and it was a great way to do something together

    6. You can enjoy the winter months planning for next year – looking through pictures of beautiful gardens can lift the spirits.  Even in the depths of winter, you know spring is on the way and you can look out for signs – the first primrose, a bluebell, a daffodil, a snowdrop…(not necessarily in that order).  You can plan to try out different things and move plants, pots, and so on around.  If it doesn’t work in one spot, it may work in another.
        
    7. Bring your garden indoors with house plants!  Plus you can enjoy lots of things with a garden theme to cheer up a home – pictures, mugs, household items – check out Emma Bridgewater who has an amazing range of mugs with a garden theme for the home.

      Emma Bridgewater has a wonderful range of mugs etc for the home
      Emma Bridgewater has a wonderful range of mugs etc for the home
      This is Purple Pansy


    8. It’s a great way to work off frustration and stress.   Plants and flowers are gentle – they don’t argue back (unless you’re trying to pull them out of the ground and they’ve been there a long time)…..
       
    9. You can create your own wildlife haven – and then sit back and enjoy watching the birds, butterflies, bees, and more visit and tuck in!  You could end up with your own nature show!

    10. You can really get into it as an interest, going on courses, reading books and magazines, attending gardening shows and events.   You can get as involved as you want. 
       
    11. I feel refreshed from being in the garden – tired, yes, of course sometimes.   But I feel refreshed and as though I’ve had a real break from the digital world, the TV etc.

    12. I love to take a mug of hot coffee out, and indulge in it while I’m gardening;  and because I’m burning calories (more than I would be if I were sitting down watching TV), that slice of cake tastes all the better afterwards – it’s well deserved!
       
    13. Gardening can bring people together as can be seen through campaigns such as Britain in Bloom, run by the RHS; who are also running a campaign Greening Grey Britain in the RHS is trying to turn Britain from being in grey concrete to green grass and flowers, plants and trees.

    14. You can enliven your senses with the result – every sense can enjoy the garden, from the sights of birds enjoying a bird bath, the sound of buzzing bees, the taste of the food you’ve grown, the feel of different sorts of leaves, the scent of flowers.   It makes you feel alive. 
       
    15. Garden gift vouchers.  They are fantastic gifts for anyone who loves their gardens.  It’s another excuse to trot off to the garden centre and have a pleasant few hours browsing, contemplating, chatting (see no 1 above), enjoying the café if there is one, and shopping. 
       
    16. My garden makes me feel happy.  Gardening makes me feel happy.  I love listening to and watching the wildlife because it’s their home too. 
       
    17. You don’t need a large space to help wildlife.  In fact, you don’t need a garden at all.  You can get window feeders for the birds. 


      Garden Wildlife Direct have a range of window feeders
      Garden Wildlife Direct have a range of window feeders

    18. You can take part in surveys and really feel you’re doing something to make a difference.  The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, the Great British Bee Count, the Big Butterfly Count, surveys of amphibians and reptiles – they all make a difference.  
       
    19. You can indulge in bird watching and identifying – there are lots of resources available and online to help you.  Get the children involved – they love wildlife and it gives them a great feel good factor to know which bird is which. 


      You can buy the RSPB's Children's Guide to Birdwatching from Foyles
      You can buy the RSPB's Children's Guide to Birdwatching from Foyles

    20. Last year, I made it my goal to turn my garden into a wildlife friendly one.  Now, if it isn’t wildlife friendly, it doesn’t go in.   And the results are starting to show.  And that makes me feel very happy as well.  And the feel good factor I have really lasts.  I feel joy in my heart every time I think of it! 

    So there you are.  My 20 reasons why I love gardening and being in the garden.  I haven’t even touched on the physical and mental benefits of it yet!