Nature’s Recovery – How will we bring the wild to everyone, right outside their doorstep?
We want everyone to experience the wonder, joy and peace which our natural environment provides, and step out of our front doors into a buzzing, fragrant, heady space full of the noises, colours, textures and fragrances of the wild.
We know what needs to be done to achieve this – we need to build on the principles established by the Making Space for Nature report by Lawton et al in 2010. We need more and bigger spaces, which are richer in wildlife and connected within a well-functioning ecological network. Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre (TVERC) have led the mapping of the Nature Recovery Network in Oxfordshire, and the nature conservation community is working together, coordinated by Wild Oxfordshire, to set out a strategy to build on the policies to accompany it.
So how can we bring this map to life and bring the wild to everyone?
Firstly, we will continue to actively encourage the brilliant and dedicated individuals and organisations dedicating their working lives to our environment in Oxfordshire to work in partnership to unlock opportunities. We currently coordinate the Biodiversity Advisory Group, the Conservation Target Areas, the Evenlode Catchment Partnership (ECP) and are a lead member of Oxfordshire Environment Board.
Secondly, we will inspire and empower volunteers in the community to make a difference and deliver Nature’s Recovery on the ground. Our Community Ecologist provides bespoke ecological advice on habitat and species management to local communities, and we pilot innovative projects including citizen science water quality monitoring, Natural Flood Management with local famers, Bee Healthy Borders at local doctor’s surgeries, and the Yellow Wagtail project.
Thirdly, we will raise awareness, facilitate action and showcase examples of how we can all work together to achieve nature’s recovery. The stories we share demonstrate that the aspirations in the strategy are possible to achieve.
And what can you do? If you’re interested in joining a local wildlife group, then check out our Directory to find out if there is one near you (https://www.wildoxfordshire.org.uk/directory/) – if there isn’t then you could set one up! We also have information on our website about creating
wildlife habitats, and on sources of funding (https://www.wildoxfordshire.org.uk/communities/resources/). You are very welcome to join us at this year’s virtual ‘Local Environment Groups Conference’ – there will be weekly online, interactive talks Wednesday 11th November – Sign up for the email Bulletin, check our website page or follow us on social media for more details!
You may also be interesting in learning more about recording the wildlife you see when out and about, in which case you should check out the TVERC website which has a wealth of information. TVERC is a not-for-profit organisation which collects all the information for Berkshire and Oxfordshire in one place to help people make sound, effective decisions about how to develop and manage land sustainably and where to direct wildlife conservation. Even the common and widespread species are important to record so that we can develop a picture over time and across the region of what is happening to our wildlife, particularly in time of changing climate and policies. The easiest way to make sure your records are used in local-decision making is to submit your records direct to email@example.com. Your wildlife records will help protect and enhance our environment by increasing the quality and quantity of data TVERC hold.
If your interest lies in reducing waste and carbon emissions, then Community Action Groups (Oxfordshire) can provide you with support and funding (https://cagoxfordshire.org.uk/, whilst Community First Oxfordshire supports community-led planning and action, with a focus on health and transport https://www.communityfirstoxon.org/. And Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment provides funding for community environmental projects https://www.trustforoxfordshire.org.uk/about-us.
Another way in which you can help is by writing to your local politicians and responding to planning consultations to remind decision-makers of the importance of Nature’s Recovery. There are some great tips on the RSPB website about how to do this most effectively. Why not sign up to our
monthly Bulletin and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter? We will ensure that you hear about pivotal environmental issues affecting Oxfordshire’s wildlife, in a balanced, independent, and inspiring way. This will enable you to take action if you wish, using the carefully curated information we have provided.
Wild Oxfordshire is a very small independent charity and we are reliant on the generous contributions of our supporters to continue our work to provide a co-ordinated and strategic approach to conservation in Oxfordshire, which is difficult to fund from traditional sources. Through providing support and encouraging environmental organisations and volunteers to work together, Wild Oxfordshire is the catalyst for solutions that benefit wildlife within our rich and vibrant county. You can support us in several ways, from doing your online shopping through Give As you Live which will cost you nothing, to becoming an individual Friend or organisational Member of Wild Oxfordshire, corporate sponsorship, or larger personal donation. We are also reviewing our Board of Trustees so keep an eye out for opportunities to volunteer which might suit you.
Together we can deliver Nature’s Recovery in Oxfordshire – let’s get going!
Camilla Burrow, Wild Oxfordshire Director