Towards a Wilder Somerset.
We have a vision for Somerset. It is a county teaming with wildlife, valued by everyone. We see landscapes full of flowers, accompanied by a chorus of bird song and buzzing with insects. We envisage habitats, green spaces and natural places of all shapes and sizes that are enjoyed, shared and cared for by people and their communities, woven together into a rich, living tapestry – an environmental life support network for the entire county.
We picture a healthy, and resilient environment where the needs of wildlife, people, and local economies are balanced in a way that will support our lives now, and that of our children in the future. The natural world is at the heart of our wellbeing and prosperity; we depend on it and it depends on us.
Globally, nature is in trouble. Biodiversity is declining rapidly across the world. A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services highlighted that there are one million species at risk of extinction. In the UK 56% of all species are in decline.
Despite huge efforts by ourselves over the past 50 years, and the work of other statutory and NGO partners, biodiversity continues to decline across Somerset in all but a few protected sites, and even in those, wildlife is threatened by the depletion and loss of the species upon which they depend. There are fewer wild places, and those that exist are smaller, less wild and more polluted, making it harder for wildlife to survive.
Climate breakdown is exacerbating these pressures, further threatening the survival of many species. We’re living an increasingly warmer world which is delivering extreme weather events, sea level rise, slow but sure changes in life-cycle timings and altered species distribution and migration patterns. We simply need to do more. And faster.
As a Trust, we feel it is time for us to change.
So, what does this all mean for us as a Trust? What kind of organisation do we need to be going forwards and where do our priorities need to lie to start painting a more positive picture. Moving forwards, how do we bring together the strength of our expertise, our accrued local knowledge, data and experience with the power of our supporters and the general public to have the most impact for wildlife in Somerset? How do we use our limited resources and where do we focus them? What should our key priorities be?
The Trust is now coming to the end of its five-year strategy, so we have reached a timely point to ask ourselves these questions – and a whole lot more. Alongside other stakeholders and decision makers, we want YOU, our members and supporters, to play an important part of the process through which we arrive at the right answers. We want to hear from you about how we can support you more, and better, on a shared journey towards a Wilder Somerset.
We’ll be doing this in a variety of ways across all our key stakeholders. To collect your feedback, we are inviting you to take part in this process through an online survey. We have launched a consultation document ‘Towards a Wilder Somerset’ which outlines our vision, in which we challenge ourselves across some key areas of the organisation. This document is available for you to read and download from the link on the left and includes a link to an online survey that we hope that you will invest some time in completing.
Make sure you are following us on all our digital communications channels, such as our monthly eNews and social media to recieve more news and updates on the consultation and where it takes us.