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The ecological emergency on your doorstep

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Avon Wildlife Trust are a supporting member of the Partnership. In this blog Head of Fundraising, Membership and Communications Nicole Squire shares an update on the innovative and impactful Grow Wilder project and how you can get involved.

Nicole SquireA little under a year ago, we were emerging from a wintry lockdown. There was a collective sense of weariness, and a need for regeneration. Rarely have the green shoots of spring been so eagerly awaited. Whilst for many of us the world became smaller and we scaled back out activities, at Avon Wildlife Trust’s food growing hub, Grow Wilder, life was anything but. A bumper season was in store as more people than ever turned to growing their own and learning about life on their doorstep. A record 17,000 plants were planted by our customers, and online orders proved a hit. Now, our wildflower plants are in high demand by many local authorities and businesses, proving the message is getting through that, for nature’s recovery to happen, it can’t just be on reserves – road verges, public land and field edges must all play their part.

A beacon of hope for biodiversity

In its 10th year, the amount of biodiversity now in this local urban oasis is extraordinary. In spring and summer, wildflowers abound, and bees feast with abandon. Ponds hum with life, and the demonstration areas enable us to show our many visitors just how easy it is to create wildlife-friendly habitats in the smallest of gardens, knowledge they take home and share. Exciting species spotted there include everything from voles and foxes to stoats and the rarely spotted winter moth.

Grow Wilder is a beacon of hope and as wildlife has returned, so too has a community around it. Our land partners provide local employment and create produce with few food miles and a commitment to organic principles. Vegetable growers, a herbalist, a woodturner and a herd of goats co-exist as harmoniously as the voles, stoats, bees and moths. They are businesses, and yet they are a community too. Our herbalist, Chris Roe, helps milk the goats. Our woodturner, Geoff Hannis, can regularly be seen sharing a cup of tea with the volunteers in the nursery. It’s no wonder that those businesses who invest in employee engagement days for their staff are so pleased with the impact that they return again and again having recognized that nature doesn’t just heal wildlife: it also heals us.

Grow Wilder shows us a future where we can live in harmony with nature, and that’s why it’s so important that we achieve our goal of upscaling our work there by introducing a new community space that will help to engage and inspire more people and businesses to actively support nature’s recovery.

Help develop huge benefits for local wildlife and communities

Grow Wilder logoThrough demonstration, learning and events, the dream is that Grow Wilder will become a hub from which we will seek to connect people with nature, equipping them with the skills to restore and conserve natural habitats of all sizes across the Bristol area and further afield. Having declared an ecological emergency, Bristol City Council has recognised we need to do more, and many businesses are looking for ways to follow that lead, knowing that their customers, employees and reputation demand action in this area. Grow Wilder is the beating heart of Avon Wildlife Trust in the region and offers the perfect place to align goals to develop huge benefits.

It’s not surprising its activity recently caught the eye of the BBC’s Countryfile programme who were inspired to shine a light on a place that has brought hope to so many. If you are looking to make your mark, join us our mission and play your part and together we can ensure that 30% of land in our regions is managed for wildlife by 2030. It is an ambitious goal, but the ecological emergency demands it.

Nature, Blog
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Bristol Green Capital Partnership community interest company is supported by the following organisations:

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