Five little everyday things you can do to help save our wildlife

Three quarters of people in the UK are worried about the state of nature, a new YouGov poll has found.

The survey was commissioned by the Save Our Wild Isles campaign, which has been set up by a coalition of conservation charities including the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the National Trust and aims to inspire people to help with the conservation of British wildlife. 

The campaign coincides with the release of Sir David Attenborough’s new BBC One series Wild Isles, which showcases the ‘wonder’ of British wildlife. 

Speaking at the end of the first episode, Sir David called on the British public to play their part in conserving and restoring nature.

‘The truth is, every one of us, no matter who we are or where we live, can and must play a part in restoring nature,’ he said. 

‘It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or powerless by the scale of the issues facing our planet, but we have the solutions.

‘I am hopeful for the future, because although nature is in crisis, now is the time for action, and together we can save it.’

The Save Our Wild Isles campaign is calling on people to ‘go wild once a week’ to play a small part in conserving the UK’s wildlife. 

This could mean planting wildflower seeds in a windowsill box, eating less meat, joining a community action group or campaigning for policy changes. 

‘Britain’s natural places and native species are truly challenged, says Jill Nelson, CEO of the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES). 

‘Outside protected areas, widespread species like hedgehogs, dormice and water voles, are struggling. 

‘Going wild once a week to help the natural world is a great way to make a difference. 

‘Simple actions even close to home help nature, boost our mental health, and offer real hope in response to the environmental crisis.’

Wondering how you can help? Here are some suggestions.

Make a ‘hedgehog highway’ 

Habitat loss and fragmentation are two major problems facing the UK’s hedgehog population today, according to PTES.

To help them, the charity suggests making a small, square hole (13cm x 13cm) in or under your garden fence or wall to help them to access lots of other gardens in your area in the search for food, mates and shelter. 

You can learn more about building a hedgehog highway at Hedgehog Street and record your new highway on the BIG Hedgehog Map.

Attract moths and bats to your garden by planting the right flowers

The Wildlife Trust suggests planting with moths, caterpillars and bats in mind.

‘Bats play an important role in habitats, not least as pollinators, controlling insects and dispersing seeds,’ the charity said. 

You can do this by planting a diverse range of plants, shrubs, grasses and flowers as well as native trees like willow and oak — and don’t be afraid to let them grow long and wild, leaving dead plant matter to allow caterpillars to overwinter in your garden. 

You can learn more about this on the Trust’s website. 

Become a wildlife watcher 

An easy way to help wildlife conservationists is to record the different species of animals you spot and where, be it a hedgehog, a badger, a bat or a fox. 

Keep these records and share them with charities to help them understand which species are the most at risk. 

Here are some surveys you can take part in this spring:

  • PTES’ Living with Mammals survey 
  • The National Water Vole Monitoring Programme
  • The Great Stag Hunt  

Create a mini pond

Now, not all of us have enough time, money or even the space to build a garden pond from scratch – but that doesn’t make us helpless.

As the Wildlife Trust says, even a small pond can be home to an interesting range of wildlife, including damsel and dragonflies, frogs and newts. 

However, with a declining number of ponds, rivers and streams, some animals are losing out. 

The charity suggests creating a ‘mini pond’ using a washing-up bowl, a big plant pot or even a disused sink – anything, as long as animals are able to get in and out easily. 

Learn how to create a mini pond on the Trust’s website.

Plant large shrubs for nesting birds 

Who doesn’t want to provide a cosy nesting spot for baby birds hatching in the spring?

If you have your own garden, the Wildlife Trust recommends planting a mix of native trees, hedges and large shrubs in your garden to provide shelter and safe perches for birds, and make them feel at home with a bird feeding station and bowl of water. 

If you do get some birds nesting in your shrubs, be sure to disturb them as little as possible. 

Learn more on the Trust’s website.

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