In the drama of the open spaces around her, Emily can play the role of a lifetime. She knows the wildlife of the nature reserve as intimately as Yorick knew Hamlet, and with an audience of birds, bees and wildflowers, she can set her imagination free.
Rutland Water has been a part of Becky’s life since she was 15. She has grown up with the staff and volunteers as her extended family and closest friends. At the age of 16, she met her partner, Lloyd at the reserve, and they have been together ever since. The landscape is a homefrom home for her, as well as providing her with a career: from being a volunteer herself, Becky now coordinates the reserve’s community of over 400 volunteers.
Wild places help us fall in love with people and nature.
Idle Valley Nature Reserve, Retford, Nottinghamshire
Carole has been volunteering at Idle Valley for seven years now; whilst she used to get involved with the heavy work out on the reserve, the garden is now her domain, working with the Recovery project. As well as giving her the chance to grow flowers, plants and vegetables for use in the café, she gets to work with people in society who need her time, patience and friendship the most, which is incredibly rewarding.
Green spaces provide a chance to enjoy some of nature’s finest ingredients.
Sedgley Beacon will be springing into life this May thanks to green-fingered volunteers from South Staffs Water. Working in partnership with The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, the team of water employees spent a day gardening on top of the covered in reservoir in the hope of encouraging more wildlife to the site.
Work on the local landmark, which is funded through the Nature Improvement Area, started last year with the creation of a new wildflower meadow.
This year South Staffs Water employees have turned their attention to planting new hedgerows and renovating existing ones, sowing more wildflowers and clearing the site of litter.
Alex Martin, head of water strategy at South Staffs Water, said: “The day at Sedgley was a great opportunity to get out of the office to see and physically participate in what we are trying to do through our biodiversity and community engagement strategies. There was some hard work to be done but it was also great fun.’
South Staffs Water plan to continue their work at Sedgley Beacon, helping the Wildlife Trust to realise their plans of returning the site to its former beauty as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Jen doesn’t need her phone to get connected – she can hear the tweeting of birds, see the flicker of sunlight in the reeds and share her interest in wildlife with like-minded people. All while taking action to improve important habitats for wildlife.
Wild places keep us socially, mentally and physically active.
Bill finds peace and calm by the sea; returning all he catches and sharing the beauty and solitude with birds and marine mammals.
Wild places give us time out from the routine.
(c) Carol Elliot
Idle Valley Nature Reserve, Retford, Nottinghamshire
Phil is a volunteer with the Recovery Project at Idle Valley Nature Reserve; he’s always had an interest in nature, but was inspired to volunteer when he was given the chance to help tend the honeybees. As well as acting as a friend to those attending the project for health reasons, he has the satisfaction of knowing that his hard work in the garden goes straight back into the local café.
For our regular volunteers, weekly work parties on our nature reserves are not just about helping to protect local wildlife. They are also a chance to catch up with old friends, meet new ones and enjoy being outdoors at the same time.
Wild places keep us mentally, socially and physically active.
Laurence suffers less from depression since he started conserving orchards. Playing a part in the management of places which support wildlife is proven to improve wellbeing, and you don’t need to be ill to get better.
Find your wild life and volunteer for your Wildlife Trust.
We moved to Exmoor five years ago and are totally in love with this area. I live with my husband and two lively dogs in between the moors and sea and am lucky enough to be able to walk for a couple of hours most days. Natural history and wildlife has been part of my life since I first started taking an interest in the outside world at around the age of 5. I have a special interest in ponds and aquatic life after seeing the fascinating mini pond world I visited at age 7 bulldozed to make way for a new housing development. That image has always stuck with me and now wherever I move to I always create a pond and wildlife garden and try to live in harmony with nature.
IDLE VALLEY NATURE RESERVE, RETFORD, NOTTINGHAMSHIRE
Dom’s job as Recovery Project Leader at Idle Valley combines his two passions, working with people and nature. As well as having the satisfaction of watching this special wild place blossom under proper care, he can see the difference every day that he, and the project, makes to those most in need of mental assistance, support and friendship.
Look – a boatman! Keira’s delight in learning about unusual creatures is even more special when she can find them herself. Less than 10% of children ever play in natural areas, compared to 40% of today’s adults who did so as children[i].
Wild places provide endless opportunities for learning and discovery.
[i] Louv, R. (2005) Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. Algonquin Books, North Carolina.
Bird, W. (2007) Natural Thinking. Investigating the links between the Natural Environment, Biodiversity and Mental Health. A report for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Bedfordshire.
My Breath of Fresh Air
Stanley Moss, Durham
Michael looks after Stanley Moss Nature Reserve in County Durham; he loves the serenity of the area and the different wildlife that he can see. The area was once used for coal mining, and was drained and planted with conifer trees. Now Michael is helping to restore the peat bog and raise the water levels, which will act as a valuable carbon sink.
English peatlands are estimated to contain around 584 million tonnes of carbon. If released into the atmosphere this equates to around five years of England’s total annual CO2 emissions.
Wild places collect and store carbon from the atmosphere, lessening the impacts of climate change.