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Days 29 & 30: Big ideas

Posted: Friday 30th June 2017 by 30DaysWild2017

Farmland to Heathland?Farmland to Heathland?

The lasting legacy of #30dayswild; big ideas, big projects, big wins.

The end of #30dayswild, hence my last blog. These blogs have covered a wide range of topics. All have been concerned with wildlife conservation in one or other of its many guises. Wildlife Conservation is a huge collective effort. There are literally thousands of conservation projects taking place day-in day-out across the country that help conserve wildlife of every conceivable kind.

In this last blog I return to two themes that have cropped up a number of times in my blogs. These are two big themes which when followed through will have a lasting legacy for all wildlife. The first theme is “Bigger, better, and more joined up”. This phrase is an expression of the need to establish nature reserves and develop Living Landscapes which aim at achieving larger sites, more linked-up sites, and sites which provide the very best ecological conditions for wildlife. “Bigger, better, more joined up”, is the best mantra that you should chant every morning when you awake.

The other major topic is climate change. Climate change is not going away and it remains the biggest threat to our wildlife, and to ourselves. There are signs of hope that people are now really getting behind the initiative to reduce the use of fossil fuel based energy sources. High level politicians are now getting behind the ideas although, unfortunately, there seems to be little high level political leadership in the UK. However, in Europe many leaders are thinking radically about sustainable futures. Fortunately Mr Trump is already well out of step with most of the world. Watch out for next week’s G20 meeting in Germany where climate change will be on the agenda.

Working on these two key topics is a duty for us all. Whenever we can, we all need to support the bigger, better more joined up initiative, and we need to reduce our reliance on non-sustainable energy sources. In the last two days I have been involved in some exciting developments that the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust is hoping to bring about as major contributions in both of these areas.

Poppys in cereal fieldThe first was a visit to a site currently run as an arable farm which it might be possible to revert to heathland habitat. This would be a major achievement for the Trust and for wildlife in the county. To put back a chunk of lowland heath into Worcestershire, a habitat very much diminished across the whole of the country, would be a major achievement. Heathland is a habitat that harbours some very special species, but achieving their comeback will require committed conservation effort over a long period of time. The site is close to other heathland remnants. The new area could not only be restored but it could be opened up to public access thus also contributing to the health and wellbeing of everyone who visits.

Before this can be achieved there are many hurdles to get over. However, the fact that we can think seriously about such a project shows the strength of the Trust’s forward thinking and its confidence in being the organisation that is truly able to deliver nature conservation in a practical way on a large scale in Worcestershire.

Another demonstration of the Wildlife Trust’s forward thinking is illustrated Wood chip boilerby the advanced planning of a project to make all of the buildings at the Trust’s Lower Smite Farm Headquarters run on a sustainable biomass heating system. Not only would this be a sustainable system burning wood with great efficiency but the wood could come from the Trust’s own woodland nature reserves. Wood could be burnt that is the by-product of woodland management aimed at conserving key species and habitats.

This would be a major capital project for the Trust but with the backing of the Governments’ Renewable Heat Incentive scheme it would pay for itself within a few years. At the same time the Trust would be reducing its carbon footprint and hence be making an important contribution to the effort necessary for staving off the more disastrous effects of climate change.  We're in the very early stages of planning this so keep an eye out for more information in the future.

White rabitAnother month starts tomorrow and so once again there is the need to seek the luck of white rabbits. I have certainly had a lucky June with many close and exciting encounters with wildlife. I hope you too have had many uplifting encounters with wildlife while being part of #30dayswild. I hope that July will be just as good, if not better.

Graham Martin, Chair of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, opinions are my own not those of the Trust., @GrahamMartin99


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