15 Minutes… Reversing the Decline: How To Protect Our Wildlife
CBBC’s Deadly 60 presenter, Steve Backshall, has been enthusiastic about animals, insects and creepy crawlies since he was wriggling around himself.
Now back from his around-the-world trip, Steve delivered a stark warning at the RSPCA Garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show – if we don’t take action now, some of our beloved British wildlife may only exist in zoos.
Polling by the Natural History Museum has revealed worrying results, not least the rapid decline of some of our most-loved species like hedgehogs, red squirrels and some butterflies. As Steve put it: “This is terrifying, and should spur every single one of us into taking action.”
It’s not too late to change. Working with our gardens, outside spaces and communal areas, we can reverse the decline.
Our gardens are a secret weapon for saving wildlife. With around 23 million gardens in the UK, the combined total area is more than four times the amount of land protected in nature reserves.
RSPCA Garden Designer Martyn Wilson is passionate about creating useable gardens that double up as wildlife sanctuaries. He says: “A wildlife garden needn’t look scruffy. It can look contemporary, stylish and well-kept, while still providing a sanctuary to a wide range of species.”
Ideas can include:
– Add a bird feeder – low-cost and great fun spotting your new visiting friends. Butterfly feeders can be added too which provides sugar and water
– Create a water feature or pond for amphibians and birds to stay hydrated
– Make (or buy) a bee hotel to provide nesting opportunities
– Allow wild growth – plant wildflowers or leave an area of your lawn unmown
– Add a hedgehog entry point in your garden fence – you can even create a hedgehog home fit for hibernation
– Planting to attraction pollinating insects
– Plant fruit trees and shrubs with berries to provide seasonal treats for both you and the wildlife, and the blossom helps pollinate insects too
– Compost heaps for recycling garden and kitchen waste create a warm home for invertebrates
– Wood and leaf piles provide shelter
– Living roofs – flat and gently sloped shed or garden room roofs can be cleverly planted on
Become a Wildlife Friend
Want to do more? The RSPCA are recruiting volunteers (16+) to help spread the message on how to protect our wildlife. It can be picking up litter to prevent injuries, putting out water for thirsty birds, or making a simple bug hotel. Activities will be assigned to volunteers and are inclusive to all wherever you live, whether you’re in your garden, back yard, on a balcony, or in a communal space. Activities will be updated seasonally, and you’ll have access to a team of wildlife experts who will share their knowledge with you. Apply online at https://tinyurl.com/RSPCA-Wildlife-Friend
Get inspired and choose wildlife.
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This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum