Category Archives: Helping wildlife

Prince Charles’ half-term nature challenge: plant seeds and paint a paperweight

The Daily Telegraph and Sky report Prince of Wales urges bored children to pull on their wellies and engage with the natural world on their doorsteps.

 “It’s at this time of year that all sorts of wonderful things start happening as nature wakes up the world from its winter sleep,” he said in a video message recorded at Highgrove last week. “What I love to see is how each of these things depends on everything else happening – how the millions of tiny organisms in the soil make it possible for the flower to grow; how the trees become home to lots of insects and give shelter to birds as they build their nests. “But you wouldn’t believe it, the way everything works together goes even deeper. You can see this if you look really closely at the patterns of things.”

Acknowledging the frustrations of being stuck indoors for months on end during the pandemic, the Prince, a lifelong advocate of the natural world, urged children to take a really close look at nature as it slowly changes, to note how “the same patterns occur over and over again”. 

Wishing you a merry sustainable Christmas!

Christmas is not always the most environmentally friendly time of the year, while it is the most wonderful! From the tree to the wrapping paper, the food to the Christmas crackers, the gifts to the Christmas cards, the choices we make will have a massive impact on our planet. Read more on this here and please share in the comments section below your ideas for how you make Christmas more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.

As you prepare for Christmas this year you may want to stop and think about our natural world as you plan the gifts you give to your loved ones. We all want to show those closest to us that we care, but even better if we show at the same time how we care for the planet on whose health we all depend.

Do they really want that present, or will they use it once and throw it away? You don’t want to inadvertently waste the resources used to manufacture a gift which sits in a cupboard unused or is thrown in the bin contributing to unnecessary waste.

Think about the carbon footprint of your gifts – that special present from abroad will likely have flown more than you will have this year.

Have a conversation with your friends and family about how to make this Christmas a more sustainable holiday.  Make sure they know that you would prefer not to receive those joke gifts you laugh at once and throw away, or that you would prefer a donation is given to charity as you have everything you want.  

A search on the internet for sustainable gifts will provide a wealth of choices, and here are just a few ideas (please note, we are not recommending, endorsing or promoting these online stores, but sharing them to give you a flavour of what is available).

Protect the Planet – Eco-friendly gifts for everyone – no matter what your budget. https://www.protecttheplanet.co.uk/eco-friendly-gifts

Adopt an animal – Think about adopting a tiger, elephant or dolphin or sponsoring a rescue dog or cat for your loved one, which usually provides photos and updates on the animal(s) that are receiving help at the same time. Many charities offer this including WWF, RSPCA, Wildlife Trusts, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, and lots more.

Natural Collection – Natural Collection offer a curated range of hand-crafted home ware, ethically sourced fashion and natural beauty essentials to complement your eco-conscious lifestyle. We do our best to promote healthy and sustainable living in every aspect, offering organically sourced household essentials, earth friendly cleaning alternatives and artisan made foods. https://www.naturalcollection.com/?utm_source=AFW&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=AFW&awc=3650_1604921558_1dc14b2785e818a9e13c238a3a7c9392

WEARTH London – Give thoughtful sustainable gifts whilst supporting independent UK brands with our range of ethically sourced and environmentally conscious presents. You can also discover all of our zero waste gifts by using our plastic-free filter. All deliveries are carbon neutral. https://www.wearthlondon.com/all-ethical-gifts?sort=sort_order_asc&page=1

WWF Green Christmas Gift Guide – From Christmas cards to reusable cups, we’ve got you covered this season with sustainable gifts that can help in the #FightForYourWorld. https://www.wwf.org.uk/green-christmas-gift-guide

Please do share your ideas for a greener Christmas in the comments below. We wish all of our members and readers a joyous Christmas!

Top photo by Tracy under creative commons of wrapping paper sheets made from old book and magazine pages sewn together by machine & finished off with ribbons of old VHS tape. Second photo by waferboard under creative commons.

Treedom fighters: Get the kids planting trees this half term

The Sun reports environmental experts say we need to plant 50million trees in the UK each year to slow climate change. This year it is more important than ever. Covid has meant that fewer trees than before have gone into the ground But YOU can help by going into your local park, fields or woods, collecting trees’ seeds off the ground and planting them. If every one of us sowed just one or two acorns this autumn and planted the resulting seedlings next year, we could make a real difference. 

Ivy hailed as nature’s thermostat rather than a creep

The Times reports the climbing plant has received the endorsement of the Royal Horticultural Society as the best to provide an architectural vest that keeps buildings cool in summer and warm in winter.

An experiment conducted by the society with the University of Reading suggested home owners should not be concerned about ivy harbouring damp, as the plant reduced relative humidity on warm winter days by 5.7 per cent. 

Photo of ivy covered house by Karen under creative commons.

Give your lawn a monthly ‘Mohican’ mow to boost wildlife, experts urge

 The Express and Star reports mowing the lawn just once a month – and leaving some areas to grow long – provides a huge boost to flowers, bees and other wildlife, experts have said. The “Mohican” haircut approach to mowing is being recommended by wildlife charity Plantlife, after a citizen survey of lawns revealed they can support 200 different flowers and generate huge amounts of nectar for wildlife. 

It’s time to rip up fake grass to save birds and bees

The Metro reports artificial grass creates a ‘desert’ and should be removed to help wildlife, experts have said. The fake turf is becoming a common sight around the UK, chosen by many because it requires little maintenance. But it is doing harm to the insects, birds and other wildlife that live here and have seen their habitat shrink. 

Top photo of artificial grass by Perfect Grass under creative commons. Bottom photo of natural grass in a Normandy garden.

Coronavirus: Keeping your garden flourishing during lockdown

Watch this video!

The BBC report that for many of us trapped in our homes during the coronavirus outbreak, our gardens offer sanctuary.

But what plants, insects and animals can we expect to see at this time of year? And how can we help everything flourish?

Nick Acheson, from Norfolk Wildlife Trust, filmed this report from his back garden explaining what to look out and what to do as spring comes into full swing.