Show the world your amazing work for wildlife, urges new nature movement
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Nature lovers across East Anglia have been urged to share the “unknown, unsung and unfunded” wildlife projects in their gardens, communities and landscapes to give social media momentum to a new conservation movement.
WildEast, which launched in June, is a hugely ambitious 50-year nature recovery project aiming to return 20pc of East Anglia to nature and reverse the alarming declines in insect, mammal and bird life.
To achieve that, it wants everyone in the region to pledge 20pc of their landscape to wildlife – ranging from major landowners and farmers to schools, churches, businesses, allotment-holders or even individual homeowners in their gardens.
The long-term goal is to map all of these pledges when they are made to show progress towards the ultimate 250,000-hectare goal. But in the meantime it is asking people to shine a light on the myriad of nature projects already happening, however large or small, by sharing pictures or videos on social media and tagging their post with #MyWildEast. It is hoped this will inspire others to play their part in the project.
Some of the clips already shared with group include river restoration schemes, nature photography projects, community wildlife wardens and back-yard re-wilding experiments, all the way up to large-scale wildflower planting schemes to boost pollinator numbers on pig and arable farms.
Videos have also been made by trustees Ollie Birkbeck who is installing restorative farming practices alongside the restoration of 500 acres of heathland nature reserve at Little Massingham Estate, and Hugh Somerleyton, owner of the Somerleyton Estate near Lowestoft.
READ MORE: Wild ambition to turn East Anglia into one of the world’s greatest nature reserves
Lord Somerleyton said he hopes the enthusiasm of those already working for wildlife – allied to the power of social media – can influence others to make a pledge and kick-start the WildEast project.
“We have had a lot of early interest from people getting in touch who are doing amazing things, which are not perhaps widely known,” he said.
“We have also had people saying: What can I do? What should I do? That is why we want to celebrate those unknown, unsung and certainly unfunded projects. That is the essence of WildEast. We want it to become a movement of people for nature and we want everyone to play a part and make a difference.”
Another trustee is Argus Hardy a Suffolk architect who comes from a family of naturalists, zoologists and farmers with strong links to nature conservation. He said: “When people talk about wilding or redressing natural balances it sounds like a big ask, but what we are really asking for is a change of mindset. It is actually very simple and we can all engage with this.
“What we are hoping to find is that this is all going on already, and not just at the big RSPB or Wildlife Trust projects.
READ MORE: Don’t wait for funding before pledging land to nature, farmers urged
“A lot of people have had more time in their gardens recently and it has been a moment to reflect on what they can do, rather than waiting for others. So many people are doing extraordinary things. This is about celebrating the people already doing something, and encouraging others to engage.”
• Share videos and photos with the hashtag #MyWildEast and mention @wildeastuk on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or TikTok.
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