Somerset Wildlife Trust launches 2021 Somerset Nature Reserves Fund

Steve Law

Fund unveiled to ensure nature reserves continue to play their role in reversing nature’s decline and provide resilient, connected landscapes for wildlife and people in the future.

Somerset Wildlife Trust is pleased to unveil its 2021 Somerset Nature Reserves Fund. Launched in 2016, the Fund exists to ensure the Trust can deliver the year round maintenance needed to safeguard the health of its nature reserves across the county, which costs about £2,000 a day.  The Fund has inspired many people who care about the county’s precious landscapes and wildlife to donate, which makes a vital difference to the Trust’s ability to protect these precious and fragile habitats.

This year the Fund is particularly important as the Trust navigates its way through the uncertain economic climate, and after a year when its conservation volunteer teams have not be out to help manage its reserves as usual but many more local people have been visiting its reserves.

“Our nature reserves provide a safe refuge for an enormous range of wildlife, including some exceptionally rare species.  They are also really important wildlife habitats within Somerset’s nature recovery network – a matrix of connected healthy habitats across the county through which species can move and spread. They are so important as we look to tackle the decline in biodiversity and the continued impacts of climate change.  It’s absolutely essential that we continue to raise funds to keep our nature reserves in good health.”
Katie Arber
Director of Fundraising and Marketing

The Trust’s Reserve Managers are now starting another season’s habitat work without having been able to complete much of the work from the previous year, and this backlog doesn’t even include the vast amount of work required to manage the tragic effects of Ash Dieback. For most of the last year they have been without the support of their volunteers who they rely on to help manage our reserves, so the Trust has had to bring in contractors at considerable expense to help them keep on top of things.

Graeme Mitchell, Chair of Trustees, Somerset Wildlife Trust adds, “There’s never been a year where donations to our Somerset Nature Reserves Fund have been more vital.  Our planned reserve management budgets simply weren’t designed to support the amount of additional costs we’re facing.  Visitor numbers have almost doubled on our nature reserves during lockdown and, whilst it’s brilliant to see so many people out enjoying nature locally, of course more visitors mean more maintenance work, with wear and tear on paths, boardwalks, stiles and hides needing constant repair. We have also had to repair damage and deal with fly-tipping as a result of those few who don't treat our reserves with respect. We’re playing a massive game of catch up."

The Somerset Nature Reserves Fund
We want to thank all our supporters for everything they’ve done to help the Trust in recent times. It’s hard to ask for help again but we need people to get behind us and support the Fund this year. We are committed to doing our best to maintain our nature reserves – for the wildlife that call them home, the wider ecology of the county, but also for everyone who lives, works and visits Somerset.
Graeme Mitchell
Chair of Trustees

To make a donation please click the button below. 

Donate

You can also donate securely by card by telephoning 01823 652429.

The Somerset Nature Reserves Fund

ENDS

For interviews and further information please contact Kirby Everett on 01823 652413 or email: kirby.everett@somersetwildlife.org or Beccy Willmetts on 01823 652414 or rebecca.willmetts@somersetwildlife.org

You can follow us on Twitter at SomersetWT or Facebook on @Somersetwildlifetrust

Photo: Caption

Images are attached for use with this news release.  They are granted on a one-time use basis, in association with this release and the photographer must be credited. More images available on request.

Notes to editors:

About Somerset Wildlife Trust – www.somersetwildlife.org

Somerset’s wildlife is part of what makes living, working and visiting the county so special. Somerset Wildlife Trust has been protecting vulnerable wildlife and preserving Somerset’s wild places for over 50 years and, with over 20,000 members, is the largest conservation charity in the county.  Alongside our members and volunteers we work year round to protect wildlife, transform landscapes and put nature back into people’s lives. 

Our reserves holding of over 1,700 hectares incorporates a diverse range of habitats from wetlands to woodlands, grasslands and meadows, and provide secure environments for a diverse range of wildlife such as Dormice, Otters, Hedgehogs, Barn Owls and many other species - as well as providing safe havens for some of Somerset’s most iconic species such as Bittern and Large Blue butterfly. These habitats also connect green spaces across the county so wildlife can travel, and are the bedrock upon which we are able to deliver key conservation programmes across the year.

The majority of our work is made possible through the support of our members and people who live and work in the county who choose to make donations, fundraise for us or leave generous legacies. By working together with our members and supporters we really can make a difference.