North Somerset project gets underway
A quarter of North Somerset’s parks and green spaces are set to be transformed into wildflower meadows in a project that gets under way this month. The groundbreaking rewilding partnership aims to bring wildflowers, vibrant habitats and buzzing biodiversity into the very heart of the district’s residential areas. The hope is that this will be a grassroots project in more ways than one, with communities getting involved and ultimately driving the work.
Organisers say it’s great example of how partnerships should work: North Somerset Council have provided the land and committed to managing it with wildlife in mind, while Avon Wildlife Trust are monitoring the results and training local people in the skills to take part.
The bold new plans have been triggered by growing concern at the collapsing of our ecosystems and the ongoing decline in biodiversity, largely driven by habitat loss and fragmentation – and the change couldn’t be easier. Simply by reducing grass cutting from a monthly mow to one or two cuts annually, the council hopes to provide more habitat for wildlife in decline, including Britain’s favourite mammal, the hedgehog. Not only is taller grass beneficial to many species, mowing less often also allows wildflowers to emerge – and that means more nectar for our struggling pollinators like bees and butterflies. With a third of all food produced in the UK dependent on pollination by insects like these, that’s great news for all of us.
However, grassland is only part of the story for this ambitious project. The ability of trees to absorb carbon dioxide makes them one of our key defences against the impacts of climate change – but that’s not all. They also provide vital habitats for many species, and volunteers are aiming to plant a staggering 50,000 trees across the area during the next two years.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the plans comes down to one word – people. The project aims to help locals to engage -and even fall back in love – with the spaces on their doorsteps. This is a chance for people to gain new skills that will allow them to take part in surveys and help with the monitoring of species, including bees and butterflies. Training will be provided by Avon Wildlife Trust, and the hope is that some participants will even go on to pursue a career in conservation..
Training and surveying will take place over a range of evening and weekend events. You can find out more by heading to North Somerset Council’s website and searching for Rewilding North Somerset. If you would like to get involved with volunteering, get in touch at NSRewilding@avonwildlifetrust.org.uk.
Join us for our first event!
We’re pleased to announce that we’ll soon be holding our first ever event, with a talk from Rewilding Britain’s network lead and Somerset’s very own Sara King.
Sara will be talking to us all about how the national rewilding network is helping to upscale rewilding in the UK, and what that might look like here in Somerset.
It’s free! Just register here.
Earth Day 2021
Since its promising beginnings back in 1970 when 20 million people took part in demonstrations across the US, Earth Day has become an annual celebration of our wonderful planet and a chance to highlight the threats it faces. With events held every year on the 22nd April, the campaign has made real progress in raising awareness of the plight of our planet, from the problem of pollution and the importance of recycling, to the threat of global climate change and the loss of biodiversity.
Now in its 51st year, we are really pleased to see Earth Day 2021 focusing on restoring nature. Though this is far from the first time that the campaign has encouraged ecological restoration – in 2010 the target was set to plant 1 billion trees, which was completed in just two years – there is a growing recognition of the need not only to halt the degradation of our ecosystems but to active accommodate their return. Rewilding, as we know, is a key element of that nature restoration.
So what’s happening this year?
As with so many events this year, much of the Earth Day celebration will be taking place online – with some already underway! Head over to the Earth Day website to find out more and tune into their live stream of talks and discussions from experts and advocates across the globe – even the Pope.