The diverse work of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
They say that variety is the spice of life, but the breadth of our work means I still struggle to answer the seemingly simply question, “What does Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust do?”, said Erin McDaid of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
You might expect that after working for Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust for 30 years I’d have a pithy answer to the question ‘What does the Trust do’ but, despite years of explaining what we do, it’s a question I can struggle to answer briefly.
Our charitable delivery is diverse and complex and is delivered by so many amazing people across the county that explaining our work succinctly can be challenging.
A simplistic explanation of what we do would be to say we protect and restore the county’s wildlife — but this doesn’t adequately reflect the huge amount of work we do to inspire, educate, and connect people with nature.
Our strategy is focussed on creating a wilder Nottinghamshire for everyone and whilst this phrase better reflects our delivery, it does little to explain how we work to achieve this goal.
At our annual general meeting we summarise the challenges and achievements of the past twelve months but distilling down twelve months’ activity into a handful of slides is tricky.
While this summary can never hope to cover all aspects of our work, it does serve to highlight the breadth and reach of our activity across our three main programmes — seeking to persuade more people than ever before to act for nature and climate, ensuring there is more space for nature and that as a charity we are valued, sustainable and secure.
Our work to inspire action for nature and climate includes supporting, engaging and mobilising young people and local communities.
Our Local Members Groups provide further inspiration through their programmes of walks and talks — all helping to share our passion for nature right on people’s doorsteps.
Campaigning continues to be a huge focus, whether taking the government to task over its pledges to restore nature or standing up for wildlife within the planning system.
For people to be inspired to act for nature it is vital that they have access to it and care about it.
Our amazing estate of nature reserves, the most visible aspect of our work, plays a huge role in helping connect people with nature. As well as providing refuges for wildlife, our nature reserves are havens for people.
As our President Emeritus, Sir David Attenborough, once said of the nature reserve which shares his name, “everybody needs a lifeline to the natural world”.
Our reserves provide that lifeline for huge numbers of people across the county.
While our nature reserves, such as the Farndon Willow Holt alongside the River Trent or Besthorpe Nature Reserve in the Trent Vale between the villages of Collingham and Besthorpe are amazing bastions for wildlife, in isolation they are not enough to secure nature’s recovery.
As a result, a huge amount of our work is focused on encouraging others to create more space for nature in towns and cities as well as the wider countryside.
We work with dozens of farmers to help them make their land more welcoming for wildlife and provide advice and support to volunteer groups, parish councils and others on how to manage land in their care.
We are always looking for ways to do even more to bring nature back from the brink.
In the Sherwood Forest area, we are working to enhance water quality and restore habitat along three rivers with funding from Severn Trent.
Alongside Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Wildlife Trusts we are working to restore peatland in the Humberhead Levels including around 260 hectares in Nottinghamshire.
At the opposite end of the county, the Trust remains centrally involved in the plans to create a natural greenspace on the former Broadmarsh shopping centre site.
As we mark our 60th anniversary, the range of ways in which we are protecting, restoring, and connecting people and nature has never been more varied and our work has never been more important.
It is also clear that none of this would be possible without the support of our members, donors, corporate and community partners or the hundreds of volunteers that support us with their time and talent.