Bristol was the first city in the UK to declare an ecological emergency, which was recently highlighted in the House of Lords by Baroness Bakewell during a debate on biodiversity.
I’m pleased to share today’s guest blog, which is from Savita Willmott, Chief Executive of the Bristol Natural History Consortium.
How often do you notice nature? Maybe you like visiting one of Bristol’s many parks, forests or nature reserves. Maybe you like strolling by the river, paddling in a local brook or meeting friends at the Harbourside. Whether you are in an urban area or natural space, nature and wildlife is all around us. This weekend, people across the world will be coming together to celebrate International Biodiversity Day on May 22nd, and raising awareness of all of the incredible species that together make up life on Earth.
Once you start to notice nature, you might be surprised at the variety of species here in Bristol, even in the colder months. Free apps such as iNaturalist can help you identify photos of any wildlife you find, and there are plenty of volunteering opportunities, free courses, and local organisations and societies that can help you build your knowledge and love for local species.
One thing you might notice is that many species are declining in Bristol. Some older people can remember birds that are no longer seen as often, or they remember having many more insects around. As we celebrate nature, we also need to find ways to protect it. Nature is in trouble, and Bristol was the first city to declare an ‘Ecological Emergency’ to make sure that together we can reverse the trend.
There are plenty of things that you can do. Start at home by creating places for wildlife to thrive, such as little habitats or flowers for bees to pollinate. If you have a bit more space, cut out the pesticides, leave things a bit messy, and try building small like a windowbox or bigger like a garden pond. If you go to school, work or a local community centre, there might be a way to make common spaces more welcoming for wildlife.
If you’re not sure where to start taking action for nature, this year’s Festival of Nature is free, online, and packed full of 100 free ideas that can help you support Bristol’s nature and wildlife. Join us on our website and social media from June 5-12 and meet some of the many volunteers and organisations who are already working together on the city’s ecological emergency.
What will you do this weekend to celebrate International Biodiversity Day? Rain or shine, take a moment to ‘notice nature’, and get stuck to helping Bristol’s wildlife recover and thrive.