Taking action for wildlife

Bradfield Woods by Sarah Groves

How we can all help wildlife by Ben McFarland, Head of Conservation.

We are now clearer than we have ever been that our wildlife is in trouble. The State of Nature Report, which makes use of the incredible efforts wildlife organisations, volunteers and members of the public put into collecting data, shows 60% of our species are declining. We know the reasons for this decline in our wildlife. In a nutshell, it is because of the increasing intensification of land use by humans, whether is through housing, loss of gardens, farming, road building or large energy projects.

The good news is that, because we know the causes, we also have a good idea over what the solutions are. Whilst some of the rarer species need quite specific habitat types and often management, a huge number, including many that are declining, just need space and a chance for nature to recover and breathe. This is one of the reasons that nature reserves are so important, but we know, despite great efforts, these are not enough. That’s why we have increased our efforts working with farmers and other landowners, providing advice on how they can manage their land with wildlife in mind alongside their business considerations. We are also working hard to improve fortunes for wildlife in and along our rivers, through tree planting and habitat creation, helping water voles and fish. We also work with local communities to help wildlife in their own patches, too.

It is only through your support through membership and donations that we are able to do this and we could never hope to have the scale of positive impact that we have without it. But, we also all need to act on a personal level, too.

What can you do to help our wildlife

In my own garden, I’ve left areas to go ‘wild’. I’ve created some wildflower areas which are much loved by bumblebees and I’ve made some log piles that are now teeming with life. Not everybody has a garden of course, but here are just a few things you could do to personally help our wildlife:

Create a pond

They are great magnets for wildlife such as newts and dragonflies. We’ve sadly lost many of our farmland and village ponds and so if you can create one, it will make a big difference. Find out more here.

Create a log pile

Dead wood is really important for many small animals which in turn are important food for birds and mammals. Our increasingly ‘tidy’ gardens and countryside means we have lost much of this vital habitat. Find out more here. 

Log pile by Scott Petrek

Log pile by Scott Petrek

Create a mini wildflower meadow

Bumblebees and other pollinators need all the help we can give them. Wildflowers are a delight to have in the garden and so are the bumblebees that will visit them! Don’t be too quick to tidy up – dead stems and leaves make perfect homes for insects.

Wildlflowers and butterfly by Jon Hawkins

Wildlflowers and butterfly by Jon Hawkins

Let an area go wild!

Just leave an area for nature to do its own thing. It will be fascinating to see how it develops and what makes its home there. Find out about creating a wild patch here.

Love Scrub

If you own a bit of land, let it scrub up! We have lost so much scrub in Suffolk. Allowing brambles, hawthorn, blackthorn and other scrub species to develop will be welcomed by many species of bird that nest in this habitat, from recognisable garden birds such as wrens, robins, blackbirds and goldfinch, to more usual species such a blackcaps, whitethroat and if you are very lucky, nightingale. Hedgehogs, which sadly are declining rapidly in many areas, will also really benefit.

If you don’t have access to a garden, you can always plant some native wildflowers if you have a window box or balcony. Alternatively, if you live in a flat, talk to your management company about creating a wild area around your home.

Grasshopper warbler singing in scrub by Chris Gomersall

Grasshopper warbler singing in scrub by Chris Gomersall

Volunteer with us or local community group

Help manage wildlife habitats, talk to other people about wildlife and get involved. Our volunteers are amazing and carry out vital work for wildlife and their local communities. Find out more about volunteering opportunities here. 

Be a voice for nature

Make sure your voice is heard. Stand up for the things you care about by signing petitions, protesting, writing to your local MP and doing your bit to be a voice for nature. Get involved, help build strong nature-friendly communities and encourage others to do the right things for nature, too.

So many people are already working hard for nature, which is really encouraging. The momentum is here, and there’s so much more we can all do. We just need to work together to help nature recover and thrive again. Quite frankly, our lives depend on it.