By Jess Cartwright
The holiday season is all about giving gifts to loved ones, so why not buy a gift for nature? Wildlife is so important to everyone, it gives us so many gifts in return; beautiful scenery, interesting plants and animals, fresh air and a brisk walk is arguably one of the best mood boosts. 2020 hasn’t been kind to everyone, and nature hasn’t been left out due to ongoing climate change and deforestation. Here are some ideas to support wildlife and say thank you for all the memories you’ve created with, and in, it:
Plant a tree
You can make a donation to plant a tree, or multiple trees, in the many National Trust sites. From just £5 a brand new sapling will be planted in your honour, or dedicated to someone you love, or maybe even someone you’ve lost. It’s a great way to give back to nature, as trees help off-set carbon emissions, and will likely become a new home for wildlife. The trees can be enjoyed by you, and other family and friends forever. Find out more here.
If flowers are more your thing, you can buy wildflower seeds to grow in your garden. These multipacks often contain seeds for flowers native to the UK, having grown and evolved in this climate for many, many years. Because of this, they tend to be easier to care for as they are equipped for the changing seasons and have adapted alongside common insects, making them very useful to local ecosystems. Flowers provide lots of necessities for insects, such as pollen and nectar, leaves for food, shelter and places to breed.
Especially in urban areas, where there’s many grey buildings, a pop of bright flowers can really help bees on their journeys, as most can’t travel too far between plants. Bumblebees are in decline, due to habitat loss, use of pesticides and urbanisation, so any step taken to help protect them is important. Flowers also boost people’s moods, so growing colourful flowers can be beneficial to you, too.
Packs of seeds usually only cost a few pounds. It is often a lucky dip which flowers are included in the seeds - you’ll find lots of interesting flowers reveal themselves as they grow!
Sponsor an animal
Domestic animals are adorable, and wild animals are no different. While we might not be able to have wild animals as pets, we can adopt them and be kept updated on species that we love from afar. The Wildlife Trust offers adoption for many native animals, including beavers, dormice, red squirrels and seals! Whatever animal you’re interested in, you can adopt one and receive an adoption pack full of interesting information about your animal, plus some other goodies. Find out more here.
Create a new home
Due to the increase in urbanisation, a lot of wildlife has lost precious habitats and green spaces. This makes finding a home incredibly difficult, and many animals lose their homes due to deforestation.
If you are keen to home an animal, you can buy a special animal box or build your own, which you can place in your garden. From bats to owls, boxes can make a great temporary or permanent home to animals that might struggle to find one, and could save lives during harsh winters as a place of safety and shelter. The Nestbox Company have many options for a variety of animals. They take time to tailor the boxes to suit specific species and there is the option to build your own if you fancy getting hands-on.
Clean up the coastline
Volunteer your time for a rubbish clean-up. Removing waste from coastlines can have a huge impact on the health of animals that live there. Did you know 100 million marine animals die from ingesting and a further 100,000 animals become entangled in human rubbish each year? As well as cutting down plastic use, safely removing rubbish that has already piled up is so vital to looking after our animals.
The National Trust is responsible for 780 miles of coastline, and organise regular beach cleans. During these, volunteers have found some interesting items, such as retro picnic remains from the 70s and 80s - which shows just how much of an issue improper waste disposal is. Find out more at the National Trust.
Donate to a local wildlife charity
If there’s a particular wildlife group, rescue centre or charity that you love, please donate to them - it doesn’t matter how small the contribution is, it can make a whole world of difference to animals in their care and resources they can offer. It can provide food for animals, a shelter or even a new flight cage. If you’d like to donate to SWR click here, we are so grateful for your support!