• Comment: Walking for Wildlife
    September 28, 2018

    In September, A Rocha staff and supporters joined a crowd of thousands on Chris Packham’s People’s Walk for Wildlife. The march in central London celebrated the fabulous wildlife we have in this country and called for people to join together to protect and restore it.

    It was a typically English day, complete with drizzle, but thousands of people turned out nonetheless, cheering and playing birdsong through their phones, demonstrating that there is a real appetite in this country to see nature protected and restored. The difficult truth, however, is that the goodwill and fun of the march needs to be followed up by urgent action, in our homes and in our politics, to halt the decline of nature in these isles.

    On this, as in so many of the great issues of our time, the church has a key role to play. In the ... Read more...

  • Under the Boardwalk!
    September 28, 2018

    No, not an old song by The Drifters; at Foxearth Meadows nature reserve, we have a new boardwalk! This is an exciting development, as it opens up the public footpath across the site, which has previously flooded in winter. It will now be open year-round, enabling visitors to get much closer to the different habitats on the site without disturbing the wildlife.

    The boardwalk was planned and designed by our Foxearth Meadows Ranger, Mark Prina, and part-funded by Essex County Council, whose contractors performed the installation.

    The boardwalk is made of recycled plastic, meaning less plastic being lost into our rivers and oceans. The plastic will last much longer than wood and doesn’t leach chemicals into the soil.

    Passing through an area of tall vegetation, the boardwalk will offer visitors an up-close-and-personal view of the fantastic diversity on the Foxearth Meadows reserve. Keep your eyes ... Read more...

  • A Great Green Prize
    September 10, 2018

    We recently ran a competition for students from two local schools to design elements of our new Creative Space area at Wolf Fields Urban Nature Reserve. The winners were treated to an outing to Knepp a 3,500-acre estate just south of Horsham, West Sussex and ‘one of the largest rewilding projects in Europe’.

    The group of intrepid explorers from Southall were guided by Senior Ecologist Penny Green as they toured the estate. From the Safari vehicle, they witnessed a Red Deer getting ready for rutting season, rubbing his antlers against shrubs and trees. As they stopped for a walk, found a Grass Snake and a Slow Worm, which one of the children was able to handle.

    The children were able to see many interesting creatures, including Long Horn Cattle, Tamworth Pigs and Fallow Deer. They also saw some magnificent birds including a hobby, buzzards, a ... Read more...

  • Public Pressure and Plastic: Cause for Hope
    September 10, 2018

    In August, the government published the results of a rare survey. It was rare because it was the Treasury consulting the public and about plastic pollution. It was doubly rare because of the huge response: 162,000 submissions from individuals, businesses and campaign groups. The vast majority expressed support for much tougher government action, including measures to reduce demand for single-use plastics such as coffee cups and takeaway boxes, and encouraging greater use of recycled plastic in manufacturing.

    The Prime Minister announced that the government would respond to the public will, which demonstrates a much wider point: public opinion counts. There’s no shortage of bad news on the environment, from recent reports on the rapid decline of UK wildlife and the scale of global plastic pollution, to the stark evidence of climate change this summer.

    But the greatest hope of urgent change lies in people making ... Read more...

  • Comment: Too Hot to Handle
    August 16, 2018

    This summer, the UK has been hit with yet another heatwave—this one drawing comparisons with the notorious drought of 1976—and as global average temperatures rise, we’re told that events like this will become much more common. But what are the implications for nature?

    Some species such as crickets and butterflies, which don’t lay eggs in water, are likely to do well—at least in the short term. Trees, with their extensive root systems, tend to cope better with drought conditions. Many others, however, are adapted to a more ‘normal’ British climate with much more rain than we’ve seen so far this summer. Many birds will need to find supplies of fresh water. House martins, which build their nests out of mud, need extra water to make repairs when the mud dries out and cracks. Amphibians are struggling as ponds and streams dry up and ... Read more...

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