Posted 9th Sep 2014
As autumn approaches Dorset Wildlife Trust tells us about their new campaign to help save the struggling wildlife on our doorstep
Whether it's the rustling of a timid hedgehog or the cheerful chirp of a bird, our gardens are filled with a bounty of wildlife that inhabit our trees and hedgerows. So, when it comes to the autumn and winter months, when the days become shorter and the nights become colder, our gardens can be the only safe havens for our little friends, if we help them.
In 2013, a report revealed that 60 per cent of the UK species studied were in fast decline, and had been in recent years. Wildlife such as starlings and hedgehogs, who seek shelter in our own back gardens, were among these species noted in The State of Nature report, which sparked a new campaign to get homeowners thinking about their gardens and its inhabitants.
The campaign 'Make Wildlife Welcome', launched by Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT), has been set up to encourage us to provide a helping hand to struggling wildlife during colder months to help see them through to the next spring. Aimed at anyone with a garden and even those without, DWT hopes to spread the word about the plight of wildlife here in the UK and encourage everyone to make a change, no matter how small, in order to give our precious wildlife a fighting chance this year. Ensuring there is fresh, unfrozen water in your garden, leaving food out at ground level for passing birds, and even creating areas of shelter for other types of wildlife that call your garden a home, are all ways you can make a change over the next few months.
DWT’s community conservation officer and wildlife gardening co-ordinator, Joy Wallis, said, 'Many people think that gardening is only a spring or summer activity, but there’s lots you can be doing to help garden wildlife throughout the colder months. For example, if it is very cold, a hedgehog could wake from hibernation, and it will need a warm, safe place to stay and high energy food, to ensure its survival. It is surprising just how many wild animals will be ‘wintering’ in your garden, so please do resist the temptation to be too tidy!'
Anyone who makes a pledge to 'Make Wildlife Welcome' in their garden will receive a free book ‘Bringing a garden to life’ which tells the story of how DWT's friends and supporters, Wiggly Wigglers, created their own garden for wildlife, and how you can do it too. You will also receive wild flower seeds, free literature and downloads, as well as expert advice and information on practical things that can be done from Dorset Wildlife Trust, 365 days a year.
Joy added, 'We find that people who spend time in their garden feel good about making a difference for wildlife, and also see benefits to their mental and physical health. It’s also a great way to keep active all year round.'
If you would like to make a pledge to help wildlife for just £3 a month, Dorset Wildlife Trust has everything you need to get started, or help support an established wildlife friendly garden. Visit www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/mww to make your pledge to help wildlife and get tips on how else you can help wildlife these season. Keep up with stories, tips and information on Twitter too using @DorsetWildlife #makewildlifewelcome.
Images courtesy of ©Steve Davis and ©Sally Welbourn