Wednesday, 26 November 2008
homes for wildlife
The RSPB have just released results from the first year of their Homes for Wildlife campaign and have reported that 300,000 actions have been taken to create habitats for garden creatures. Apparently, more than 25,000 gardeners have done an average of 12 things each that help frogs, toads, bats, insects, hedgehogs and birds. Providing seed mixes, growing flowering nectar-rich plants and planting dense thorny bushes are just some of the top actions people have taken as part of the project. Alongside the campaign the RSPB is offering free, tailored wildlife-gardening advice to help people transform their homes and gardens into mini nature reserves. The RSPB’s Richard Bashford, said: “Wildlife is increasingly reliant on our gardens for food, water and shelter so it’s fantastic that people are so committed to making their homes and gardens wildlife friendly. “Through Homes for Wildlife, we’re trying to reverse the alarming declines of familiar birds such as house sparrows, starlings and song thrushes. Large numbers of these birds make their homes in our gardens. The time committed by people in taking actions will help create a better future for them and other wildlife in the not too distant future.” One of the most popular activities in the project - growing plants in tubs to attract insects – shows that regardless of size or shape of garden everyone can take part. More than 4,000 people took action on balconies or in gardens smaller than squash courts. In even a tiny space, you can make a real difference for wildlife. On average, 60 bugs were seen in each garden. Snails were most common with an average of 12 per garden. Ladybirds were seen more often in the south and east than the north and west. Other results show that three-quarters of gardens surveyed had frogs, more than half had bats, a third had hedgehogs and newts and a quarter had toads. Richard added: “We’ve made a fantastic start but it’s really important that more people get involved. Now is a great time to think longer term about turning your garden into a haven for wildlife. The more people who sign-up and take action, the bigger effect we will have. By taking simple wildlife-friendly steps in our gardens, collectively we will make a real difference for many of our birds and other wildlife.” To get involved you can sign up on the Homes for Wildlife site and you will receive seasonal advice sheets and surveys that the whole family can take part in.