Have you spent some time outside enjoying the flora and fauna, perhaps taking part in some citizen science, or even just going a bit wild? There are some really fantastic campaigns that have been happening in the past couple of months that not only help with conservation but encourage people to get outdoors and see the joys that British countryside and wildlife has to offer.
Below I’m going to run through my three favourite campaigns I’ve seen this year.
‘The UK has lost a shocking 20 species of bee and a further quarter are on the red list of threatened species.’ Put quite simply this statistic made me angry enough that I wanted to do something about it.
Friends of the Earth, had a clear message, a call to action and the opportunity to take part in citizen science – enabling scientists the opportunity to use the vast amounts of data collected by participants.
I was also pleased to see that Waitrose is a corporate partner for the Great British Bee Count. This fits really well with their brand and really helps them to showcase their commitment to protecting Britain’s bees.
When I was at the British Science Association we worked with one of our corporate partners, EDF Energy, to develop and deliver the Big Bumblebee Discovery, an award-winning partnership (the partnership won the Third Sector Business Charity Award for short-term partnerships) that asked families to get involved and identify different species of bees during the summer. The results were also published in the scientific journal, PLoS ONE.
In 2016, the Great British Bee Count participant’s impressively spotted 370,000 bees; we’re still waiting for Friends of the Earth to finish analysing the results but I’m looking forward to reading more about the outcomes.
Below is the white-tailed bumblebee, spotted by me in my garden.
I love London but every now and then I love nothing more than to get away from the bustling streets and find myself out in the countryside, enjoying the air, and the flora and fauna. So I found myself particularly drawn to The Wildlife Trusts’ campaign ’30 Days Wild’.
The premise was delightfully simple. They asked you to ‘make room for nature this June’ encouraging you to take part in Random Acts of Wildness, encouraging you to bring a little bit of nature into your life.
Their website was beautifully designed, user-friendly and interactive. Enabling participants to share which acts of wildness they’ll be joining in with.
Most of all, you could still take part in inner city urban areas, just enjoying a plant on your windowsill or some daisies in your local park.
This campaign was run by a much smaller charity called Butterfly Conservation who are incredibly lucky to have the brilliant Sir David Attenborough as their President.
They have a simple mission ‘the conservation of butterflies, moths and our environment’ – like Friends of the Earth’s Great British Bee Count; the Butterfly Count really does showcase the alarming decline in British butterfly and moth species.
The Butterfly Count ran from 15 July to the 7 August in 2016 and there were a number of resources and tools to get people involved. Furthermore, they were also supported by Waitrose, who have shown a dedication to their ‘Seven Point Plan for Pollinators’ - a truly fantastic piece of corporate social responsibility and thinking of the wider environmental picture.
Both The Butterfly Count and The Great British Bee Count are a fantastic way to engage children and to talk to them about the importance of protecting habitats and the amazing ways in which these lovely little creatures help protect our planet and help us thrive.
Go outside and thrive…
I’m sure there are loads more great conservation, wildlife friendly campaigns happening this year; from some of my favourite year-round campaigns such as the incredibly engaging '50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ campaign run by the National Trust, I know there’s a lot of ways that charities can engage with young people, families and adults to get them to look outside, take stock and spend some time together.
What are your favourite campaigns that encourage people to get outside? To make a difference to their environment? To be the ultimate Little Critter Saviours?