Nature's Heroes - Blog

Nature's Heroes

Nature's Heroes
Welcome to the Nature's Heroes group. Shout, inspire, chat or share - we don’t mind how you do it but please help us to create a world richer in wildlife by encouraging others to take small steps for nature.

Nature's Heroes - Blog

News and updates on our campaigning work and the exploits some of our top 'Nature's Heroes' from Steven (Head of Campaigns), Steph (Senior Campaigns Officer) and Kim (Campaigns Officer).
  • Our love for your green hearts, and a nature crafting challenge

    Back in October we invited you to help us Show the Love alongside millions of others by crafting green hearts for politicians, celebrities and RSPB staff to wear on Valentine’s Day. Wearing, and sharing, our green hearts acts a way to start conversations and spread the message far and wide that climate change is already affecting the things we love, but that we can do something about it, if enough of us show we care.

    Over 48 of you got in touch asking for more info and your early submissions have been brightening our office days - we love them. The hearts that have arrived are beautiful, and we hope each of you crafters have kept one of your incredible creations for yourselves! RSPB's award-winning photographer, Ben Andrew, took a few of them out into this week's snow to get some great pictures - here are just a sample:

    A felt heart on a hazel twig, a polkadot heart with 'change' across the middle in a bed of autumn leaves, a paper-craft bee heart in a sycamore tree and a blackbird, complete with nest, nestled in snowy bracken

    Hearts made by Linda Evans, Jane Comer, Elaine Jones and Jan Colley

    We know many more of you have been busy making and are just waiting for postcards to pin them to so you can add a hand-written message to accompany each of your hearts. We are expecting a full delivery very soon, so should have them out to you in early January.

     

    Do you fancy a nature-based crafting challenge?

    Last year for the first time we gave each of the ‘Species Champion’ MPs at Westminster a green heart to wear on Valentine’s Day, adorned with the species they champion in Parliament. Following this year’s election there are a small number of new champions at Westminster, and for the first time we’d also love to get Species Champions in the Welsh Assembly involved in the Show the Love campaign.

    Do you have a flair for bringing nature to life in your crafting? If so we’d love to give one of your hearts to an MP or AM! These politicians are standing up for:

    • Adders
    • Arctic terns
    • Ash trees
    • Atlantic puffins (one in Westminster and one in the Welsh Government)
    • Barn owls
    • Bilberry bumblebees
    • Black oil beetles
    • Bottlenose dolphins
    • Brown trout
    • Choughs
    • Common pipistrelles
    • Curlews (one in Westminster and one in the Welsh Government)
    • Dunnocks
    • Greater horseshoe bats
    • Grey seals
    • Harbour porpoises
    • High brown fritillary butterflies
    • Honeycomb worms
    • Lapwings (one in Westminster and one in the Welsh Government)
    • Large blue butterflies
    • Lesser horseshoe bats
    • Native oysters
    • Natterjack toads
    • Nightjars
    • Noctule bats
    • Pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies
    • Pine martens
    • Red squirrels
    • Shelducks
    • Sewin
    • Shrill carder bees (one in Westminster and one in the Welsh Government)
    • Small blue butterflies
    • Small copper butterflies
    • Sphagnum moss
    • Spreading bellflowers
    • Swifts
    • Turtle doves
    • Twite
    • Water voles
    • Waxcap mushrooms
    • Welsh clearwing moths
    • Welsh daffodils

    If you’d like to craft a heart with any of these species on, let us know either directly by emailing campaigns@rspb.org.uk or in the comments below. We’ll keep this blog up to date with which species have been snapped up (marked with a strikethrough) and which still need a nurturing crafter to bring them to life.

     

    What changes are you noticing?

    Across the UK, our 2018 Show the Love activity in February will be focused on noticing change. The signs of climate change are all around us, and especially noticeable as the seasons change. So with that in mind, The Climate Coalition are kicking off the conversation a little earlier, with their alternative Christmas advert – do have a watch, and share it if you like it.

  • It's #InOurNature - is it in yours?

    After decades of decline, nature in the UK is at a cross-roads. At this time of political change, we have a duty to encourage politicians not only to secure our current environmental laws, hard won during our membership of the EU, but to go further.

    We need to push for laws that drive the recovery of nature, so that people across all four countries of the UK can know the thrill of being outdoors in wild places and being inspired by spectacular wildlife.

    But to achieve that, politicians need to see what we already know: that nature matters to millions of people regardless of political outlook. People throughout the UK want nature protection to be better after the UK leaves the EU, regardless of whether they voted to leave or remain.

    The RSPB has been working with experienced campaigners If Not Now Digital and Harriet Kingaby to jointly develop the #InOurNature campaign to serve as a catalyst for others to bring their own creativity and passion for nature to the debate about its future.

    We’ve done this because we believe it’s vital that people beyond our dedicated supporters are made aware of this debate and empowered to have a voice in it. Because of this none of the content is branded RSPB, but we’re excited to be playing a role in ensuring nature has a voice.

    #InOurNature is about giving people the opportunity to share their love of nature.

    So, even though #InOurNature isn’t aimed at dedicated supporters like you, I’m posting this blog so you can see what we’re doing – and to give you the opportunity to get involved if you want to.

    You can check out the campaign at itsinournature.uk and by liking, sharing, and commenting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

    Check it out today (Monday 13 November) to be part of the launch of our new film!

  • The nature of farming: what you told us

    The RSPB does a lot of work on farming and food, from science to identify what’s causing wildlife declines on farmland to free advice which helps farmers protect and restore wildlife on their land to ensuring all our reserves cafes meet the Food for Life standard. This week on Twitter we’ve been asking your views on what threatens nature, which of our farming stories have caught your attention most and what you think about farmland wildlife and food.

    Last year’s State of Nature report brought together data from over 50 organisations to look at how wildlife in the UK was faring. As many of you pointed out in our poll, the picture remains alarming: over half our species declined between 1976 and 2013. There are a number of activities which can pose a threat to nature, from urban encroachment to climate change.

    Producing our food doesn’t seem like it should be one of them. But with 75% of UK land used for food production, the way this land is managed has a vital role in the state of nature with agriculture making an important contribution to the fortunes of wildlife. Over the years farming has changed dramatically, this has meant that farms often have less space for nature.

    The speckled brown bird, the meadow pipit, perched on bracken; cornflowers in a wildflower field margin, and a harvest mouse perched on an ear of golden corn in a cornfield.

    Farming practices and the state of nature are inextricably tied together. Many of our names for now declining countryside wildlife show the connection: L-R meadow pipit, cornflowers and harvest mouse. (Image credits L-R Tom Marshall, Andy Hay, Ben Andrew, all rspb-images.com)

     

    Spot the farms that are great for nature

    An over-whelming majority of you on Twitter said that you are almost always on the lookout for wildlife when you’re in the countryside. Fortunately, there are farmers creating, restoring or protecting homes for nature on the land they manage. Like the farmers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who are all working in different ways to save the curlew. And stone curlew hero Rachel Hosier in Wiltshire, who introduced stone curlew plots on her farm to successfully encourage these strange and rare birds to flourish.

    These nature friendly farmers are demonstrating that is possible for farming and nature to go hand in hand. Whether it is skylarks or turtle doves, cornflowers or pollinating bees, many of our most iconic species live on farmland, making it often a great place to experience wildlife. You can look out for the tell-tale features seen on nature friendly farms:

    • Established habitats like species-rich grasslands and woodland are some of the most important for wildlife.
    • Hedgerows and field margins are home to nesting birds and small mammals and also help link up other areas of habitat.
    • Water features such as farm ponds are vital for those species which live, feed or breed in or near water.
    • Wildflower meadows offer a home to pollinators and other insects, as well as native plants.
    • During winter many birds need a helping hand from farmers to find the seed food they rely on to survive until the plentiful summer period. Look out for fields at this time of year where the crop has been harvested but the stubble left over winter, allowing birds including yellowhammers, linnets and corn buntings to feed on them. 

     

    But what about the shop shelf?

    Of course farms are not nature reserves – they are places where our farmers produce the food we eat. You told us you quite often tend to think about the impact of the food you buy on wildlife and this is great to hear! However right now it can be hard to find much information. But it’s not impossible: we’ve pulled together six simple ways to make your shopping basked more nature friendly.

     

    Time for a new system

    While many farmers are motivated by a love of nature and the responsibility they feel as stewards of the land, government support is vital to help them to help nature. Nature brings us so many benefits, from food grown in healthy, fertile soils, to the great feeling of being surrounded by nature. But our ‘use’ of nature that way has a cost. Something needs to be put back in to look after the environment we benefit from. There’s very little money for that in the food supply chain, instead, it comes from government schemes which pay farmers to deliver environmental benefits.

    We are on the cusp of an extraordinary opportunity for change, as the Government next year will present a new agriculture bill, the first in over 40 years, which will determine the future shape of farming in this country. You told us that you think it’s their job to ensure our food meets a minimum standard of environmental sustainability. We want the Government to take this chance to shift our food system to one that protects our environment and sustains the healthy, diverse wildlife that support food production. If you agree, sign up to be a campaign champion to join our campaigning when the Government publishes its proposals next year.