Although we aren’t likely to be out-and-about this month, that doesn’t mean the hedgehogs, birds and bugs that might visit your garden will be staying home!
This month we are running an amazing giveaway of fruiting trees and shrubs, as well as window boxes with a pollinator-friendly flower seed mix, within our Naturehoods: Florence Park (East Oxford), Marston (New and Old, Oxford), Penhill (Swindon) and Tadpole Garden Village (Swindon).
To try and reach as many people (and gardens) as possible, we can only offer one prize per person, but please do share our message with as many people as you can! And of course make sure you get in touch before the end of April to claim your prize. If we have any Naturehood sharing superstars we will make sure you’re properly recognised and thanked too.
A great way to find a neighbour to link up with and both get a prize is by sharing Naturehood on social media with something like:
Exciting news! Together we can win trees, shrubs or flowers for our gardens through our local wildlife project Naturehood. They work to transform our area for local species by supporting people to take action for wildlife, as well as collecting information about our gardens to inform scientific research. Sign up this month and let them know that I referred you, so we can both win a prize! It explains it all here - https://naturehood.uk/about-naturehood/nature-news
We know that lots of you will be limiting your activities over the coming weeks, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We thought it was important to let you know that we are too.
Naturehood activities are, on the whole, based in your private space, be that a garden or a windowbox. They’re also a brilliant way to get active when your options are more limited. Basically there’s no reason not to do Naturehood right now.
However, a big part of our project is community events and activities in Oxford and Swindon. To ensure that everyone stays safe and well, we’ll be cancelling all our drop-in sessions and face-to-face activities until further notice.
We’re currently looking at the best ways we can support you and your community through our digital channels, and will be in touch again soon with our plans.
Naturehood is run by Earthwatch Europe – you can read our full statement on COVID-19 on the Earthwatch website.
The 2019 State of Nature report found that in just 50 years, a worrying 41% of species in the UK have declined in number. Ever increasing pressures – from climate change to pollution – threaten our wildlife, with 15% of species in Great Britain now at risk of extinction.
But there is hope. By taking small, simple actions, we can all play a part in helping UK wildlife to thrive. That’s where Naturehood comes in. From instructions on how to build your own hedgehog house to top tips on gardening for wildlife, Naturehood has an activity to suit you and your green space, no matter the size.
We know that making small changes to your garden, balcony or window box can make a difference to your local wildlife, but think of what could be achieved if hundreds of people across the community each took action – the positive impact would be so much bigger. That’s why we’re asking all our participants to do #OneThingForWildlife.
Join in with Naturehood and help showcase your local community. Plus discover how easy and fun it is to meaningfully support your local wildlife, from raking up piles of leaves to building bird boxes or digging a pond.
Naturehood is gathering momentum in the Florence Park area of Cowley. We have been to the Oxford City Farm, who are going to track the changes in the wildlife garden and pond area using our Naturehood surveys with volunteers.
We had a busy time at the super-sunny Flo Fest, where we spoke to lots of locals who were enthusiastic about bringing more wildlife into their gardens. We also made lots of apple bird feeders and seed bombs, and we hope that these flowers are growing well and providing more habitat for pollinators.
The fantastic Emma Eatough came along to lead our Naturehood Bee Walk in Florence Park, and we had about 18 people attend. We learnt how to catch bees, identify them, and tell the differences between bees, hoverflies and wasps. Not only that, but Emma dispelled a lot of myths about bees and wasps, and everyone went away feeling more confident about increasing pollinator numbers in gardens!
Naturehood went along to run a session with the 43rd Oxford beaver scouts in July. We visited the Marston Community Orchard, exploring the area and recording all the wildlife we found. All the beavers went home with a packet of wildflower seed which can be planted in autumn to go towards achieving their gardening activity badge.
Emma Eatough joined us at the beautiful Milham Ford Nature Park for our Naturehood Bee Walk. The sunny weather meant we found lots of bees, and the younger children even had a go at catching them in pots and releasing them safely. It was a fantastic event and we hope to encourage more people in Marston to explore their local green spaces in the future, you never know what creatures you might find!
In April Earthwatch and our partners, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust hosted launch events in our two Swindon Naturehoods - Penhill and Tadpole Garden Village. On 6th of April Penhill residents were invited to take part in a family friendly community event hosted in John Moulton Community Hall and the adjacent green space - Penhill Haven. The day was filled with wildlife-themed activities such as wildlife walks, DIY workshops such as bird box and flower planters building and storytelling. Children could get their faces painted as one of five Naturehood species; early bumblebees, small tortoiseshell butterflies, hedgehogs, house sparrows and common frogs, and there was a free BBQ.
Tadpole Garden Village residents enjoyed similar activities in their Naturehood on 27th April. Both days were very busy, with over a hundred residents attending each event, and received excellent feedback. We are now in the process of planning more Naturehood events in Swindon.