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Land and Nature

The UK is home to a rich and diverse variety of wildlife. Even in urban Birmingham there’s much we can do to support our treasured species. Since 1970, 41% of all UK species studied have declined, and as many as 26% of our mammals are at real risk of extinction. In order to preserve our unique land and nature we must protect and restore land and marine systems, benefitting both wildlife and the people that can then enjoy them.

How to make a change

Do you have a garden?

  • Practice wildlife friendly gardening: do not use pesticides, which are harmful to human health as well as insect and bee populations. Limit fertilisers to organic varieties, which will be better for the soil and safer for nearby water sources. Use forest friendly wood and peat free compost to help nature near and far. Compost containing peat releases vast amounts of CO2 to the environment and damages rare habitats when it is extracted.
  • Plant a mini meadow in a pot or hanging basket, or wildflowers in your borders to attract pollinators, and support our declining insect populations. Even better, establish a full wildflower lawn, or just let a certain patch grow wild to allow native species to return. The RHS ‘Plant for Pollinators’ scheme labels plants which are particularly good for bees and other insect species, making them easy to identify when shopping in your local garden centre.
  • Grow native species, and if you have the option, install a hedge instead of a fence to best support wildlife.
  • Install a pond for wildlife, or a smaller water source if you do not have the space for a full pond. Over the past century, 70% of the UKs ponds have been lost, causing our native wildlife to struggle. Even just a shallow bowl will aid wildlife as a drinking source.
  • Make pets seen and heard, as cats pose a serious threat to declining species such as house sparrows, blue tits, and starlings.
  • Provide shelter for wildlife: small log piles provide homes for all types of insects including butterflies and specially built ‘bug-hotels’ will do the same. Build a leaf pile for hedgehogs or install a bird or bat box.
  • Install a hedgehog gateway (a small hole in the boundary of your garden to allow hedgehogs to pass between gardens).

Don’t have a garden?

  • Get involved with a local litter pick or organise your own through Birmingham City Council (who provide the equipment needed) or join a community gardening project.
  • Volunteer with a local organisation to improve the area – for example the Wildlife Trust run volunteering days, as do many National Trust sites, and smaller local groups.
  • Petition against the use of pesticides in our public spaces, which are sprayed in parks, playgrounds, schools, cemeteries and on road verges, having devastating effects on wildlife. Get involved with Pesticide Action Network UK.
  • Go veggie for wildlife: the livestock industry is responsible for vast deforestation, and run-off from factory farms is devastating for wildlife. For example, extensive cattle ranching is the number one driver of deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest. Read up on the impact of animal agriculture on the environment both here in the UK, and further away.

Example Actions

  • Plant a wildflower patch in your garden
  • Replace compost with a peat free alternative
  • Stop using pesticides in the garden
  • Volunteer with a local wildlife organisation (x) times a month

Useful Links

Contact with nature is especially important for young people, ecobirmingham offer forest school sessions to engage young people with our environment. Our Power to Grow programme supports organisations setting up and running community gardening spaces. Find out more here:

Bee Friendly Brum is a community group who care about our bee and insect populations. With a focus on protecting bee species in our urban spaces, they share ideas about what we can do both personally and collectively through influencing local policy, to help these wonderful and vital pollinators thrive in our local areas.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) website has a handy ‘find a local group’ search tool for local gardening groups which can be contacted via the website.

The Wildlife Trust have online resources covering a number of topics for helping wildlife at home.

The RSPB have resources covering gardening for wildlife, how to help birds, and a general ‘green living’ advice section.

Pesticide Action Network UK provide information on pesticides, and more environmentally friendly alternatives.

Birmingham City Council have kit-lists and guides on litter picking within your community.

Download an Action Plan so you can set your own goals!

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