Your wildlife needs you! Get involved with Wild About Gardens Week from 24 - 30 October 2016 and find out how, with a few simple actions, you can help the wildlife in your garden to thrive.
Did you know that many of our native wildlife species are struggling to survive? The creatures that we think of as part of the British natural landscape, such as hedgehogs, house sparrows, frogs and bats are in decline. A study by wildlife researchers in 2013 found that up to 60% of our wildlife species have declined in number over the past 50 years.
Wild About Gardens, a partnership between the Royal Horticultural Society, The Wildlife Trusts and the Bat Conservation Trust, is all about reversing that decline – and you can help.
Go wild in your garden
The main reason for the decline is the loss of natural habitat. But we have great news for you: the solution to the problem is in your back garden!
There are 15 million gardens in the UK, which account for more natural space than all our national nature reserves put together. If every gardener does something even very small to help, then the potential for our wildlife is huge.
Wild about bats
This year, the focus is on bats, which have been in severe decline over the last century. However the Bat Conservation Trust and more than 100 local bat groups have been working hard to turn the decline around. And when you consider that bats make up one quarter of all the mammal species we have in the UK, it’s crucial that we look after them.
What might surprise you is that bats are pollinators and pest controllers. Over 500 different plants depend upon them for pollination and they also keep insects at bay, so with the right flowers in your garden you can really do your bit to help them thrive.
As part of Wild About Gardens Week, the Royal Horticultural Society is encouraging gardeners to plant a Bat Feast, full of flowers that attract bats and you can enter a photo of your bat feast into a competition to win some special prizes – including some from Forest Holidays.
Wild About Gardens – what you can do
Head over to Wild about Gardens Week for some great ideas to help all the wildlife in your garden. You can find out how to help bats, discover which plants will encourage pollinators to your garden and learn how to grow a mini meadow.
Building a bug hotel is another great and relatively easy activity which you can do with even very young children. Our old Forest Ranger from the Forest of Dean wrote some great instructions with lovely illustrations which you can find here.
Wild About Gardens – what we are doing
Our forest locations around the UK are all getting into the spirit of things and we have lots of exciting activities going on if you are staying with us, particularly focusing on bats. Most locations will be doing Bat Walks through the woods and some other highlights include:
• Bat box building at Sherwood Forest.
• A bat and moth Twilight Walk with games at Deerpark.
• "We're Batty about Bats" activity at Blackwood Forest.
We will run many of the activities with the help of local Wildlife Trusts and bat groups and will make donations to these charities. Our Forest Rangers will also be full of tips and suggestions on how to make your own garden wildlife-friendly.
Wild About Gardens Week runs from 24 – 30 October, which for many of us, also happens to be half term week. Come and stay in the forest for a few days, enjoy the wildlife and bat activities and take away some great ideas on how to bring a variety of wildlife to your garden throughout the year.