It’s World Wildlife Day today and I’m delighted to celebrate the work that communities across Bristol are doing to bring wildlife back to the city.
Action by individuals and communities is essential to restoring lost wildlife such as swifts, starlings, hedgehogs and butterflies, which are all far less abundant than they used to be.
Restoring nature is important for wildlife and also for people. Healthy ecosystems provide clean air and water and lots of the essentials of life that we depend upon. Bees and other insects for instance pollinate much of the food that we eat.
Communities across Bristol are getting involved in restoring local wildlife sites such as Hengrove Mounds, Dundry Slopes, and Lawrence Weston Moor through the National Lottery funded My Wild City project. Avon Wildlife Trust is supporting groups to get close to nature, manage habitats for wildlife and improve access with paths, steps and information leaflets.
It’s only by everyone taking action for nature that we’ll be able to restore the city’s lost wildlife. Our aim is to help develop leaders and establish groups and communities that can continue to look after these important places for years to come.
Bristol has lots of fantastic green spaces that provide vital habitats for wildlife and protecting them is crucial to bringing wildlife back.
We know that Bristol is facing a housing crisis and is aiming to build tens of thousands of new homes. This cannot be done at the expense of essential wildlife habitats. To provide more homes while protecting wildlife, the city needs to avoid urban sprawl and redevelop existing developed and brownfield sites at much greater density than present.
I’m delighted that the Council have decided to save the green space at the Western Slopes from development. This is an essential site in Bristol’s wildlife networks, linking the Northern Slopes with Hengrove Mounds, Manor Woods Valley, Crox Bottom and ultimately Dundry Slopes. It has a wealth of wildflowers and insect life and supports many species of bats. The Friends of The Western Slopes have campaigned to raise awareness of the Slopes’ wildlife value and secure their protection. They show what can be done when communities come together to fight for wildlife.
We’re looking for everyone to get involved in bringing wildlife back. We want to make taking action for nature as normal as doing your recycling, or watching your favourite TV show.
Bristol is a great place to be doing this, as the city’s latest quality of life survey shows that 87% of people are concerned about the loss of wildlife in Bristol and 53% have already taken action to create space for nature.
Later this year, we’ll be launching Team Wilder as a way to join with others in taking action for nature across the city. In the meantime you can get involved in the “friends of” group at your local wildlife site, join your neighbours in creating hedgehog corridors, and find lots of other ideas for things you can do in your home and community on our wildlife actions page.