Somerset Wildlife Trust highlights the impact that seasonal work has on the health of our local wildlife and asks for more help to secure habitats through uncertain times
27th February 2017 – Somerset Wildlife Trust is pleased to present the return of its successful Somerset Nature Reserves Fund. Launched in 2016, the Fund was established to raise money to safeguard some of Somerset’s most iconic landscapes and precious wildlife, and has already helped achieve some enormous gains for wildlife across the county. The Trust hopes that this year it will be able to do the same with the help and support of wildlife lovers across Somerset who will hopefully kindly donate this year.
Tim Youngs, Director of Land Management sets the scene, “In Somerset we are incredibly lucky to have some amazing habitats from internationally renowned wetlands, ancient woodland, species-rich grassland, and magnificent meadows, each requiring specific conservation programmes in order for the unique biodiversity to not only survive, but thrive.
“Our nature reserves within these special places are the bedrock upon which we are able to deliver critical conservation work and, to ensure these special places are kept healthy, an incredible amount of planning and resource is involved - our reserves cost nearly £2,000 a day to maintain, which is a significant outlay. And, as the seasons and weather change we have to continually adjust and fine-tune our work and habitat programmes, such as grazing management – with the failure to provide the necessary feeding and breeding grounds at certain times potentially having detrimental consequences for species the following year.
“Having extra funds not only means that we can continue with our practical conservation work on our reserves, but helps us to be prepared for what the future may hold. We will be able to respond faster and provide on the ground solutions when we are faced with unforeseen challenges – such as Ash dieback.”
The Fund last year supported some amazing results for wildlife and was critical in conserving habitats for populations of some of Somerset's most charismatic wildlife, from Otters to Dormice. The county is now the stronghold for Bittern, with five booming males recorded last year on Somerset Wildlife Trust’s National Nature Reserve Westhay Moor, thanks to the restoration of their reedbed habitat. And the Trust’s Green Down Reserve now holds 36% of the UK population of Large Blue Butterfly.
Katie Arber, Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Director of Fundraising and Marketing adds, “It is very clear from the response we received last year that Somerset Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves are held dear by many people. Somerset’s wildlife is part of what makes living, working and visiting the county so special. Our members and supporters have been always been generous and we hope that they will give what they can again for what is a very important fundraising initiative for the Trust. We also hope the wider public and local businesses who value their green spaces, and understand and appreciate their value in their lives, will support the Fund and help us ensure Somerset remains a wildlife rich county.”