As you may know, we have worked hard over the last few years on exciting CSR projects aimed at creating a positive change for our planet, community and next generation.
Following the successes of joinmyjourney and Planet Protectors!, this year we are teaming up with a local charity to get our hands in the soil and enhance a natural space in Bristol. The home of this year’s project will be Feed Bristol, Avon Wildlife Trust’s community food-growing project in Stapleton, Bristol. This beautiful eight acre site is a hub of bio-diversity in the middle of our city.
The grand plan
The Ecosurety team will be working with Feed Bristol to create a new wildlife pond at their site. This pond will be added to a matrix of ponds across the site that provide rich habitats for plant and animal life. The pond will work as an educational tool to enable school children, volunteers, community groups and visitors to explore and learn about the varied wildlife in the pond.
In addition to the pond itself, we will be transforming the surrounding area with a living fence, a dipping platform that will also serve as vessel for rainwater catchment, an expansion of the existing medicinal herb garden, and our very own bee hotel installation. We are thrilled to partner with Avon Wildlife Trust on this exciting project and support the invaluable work they do to connect people with nature.
Watch this space for updates on our progress throughout the year, but in the meantime Julie Doherty, Partnerships and Volunteering Manager at Avon Wildlife Trust, has kindly written a piece about their work, the impact it has on our community and how you can get involved too.
Read on to learn more about this inspirational charity, our exciting new collaboration with them and the work we will be supporting.
Inspiring communities to champion the value of nature
Avon Wildlife Trust (AWT) is the largest local charity working to inspire people and protect wildlife. With 18,000 members, over 500 active volunteers and 35 years’ experience delivering environmental education programmes, we champion the value of nature – the economic value, the aesthetic value and the value it has to our health and wellbeing.
People are suffering from declining mental health as a result of stressful, fast-paced, modern life and are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature. We understand the power of nature to heal and bring people together, provide a purpose and a nurturing environment where people can thrive.
We also know that access to green spaces and rich, natural environments has a beneficial effect on our mental and physical health and that when people value nature they are more likely to protect it. Our projects and programmes give people the skills and confidence to look after their own green spaces, therefore increasing the amount of good quality habitats available for wildlife.
An increasingly fragmented environment
Pressures including development, changes in farming practice and population growth have resulted in the environment becoming increasingly fragmented: landscapes are cut up and wildlife cut off. Habitats exist like islands, trapping wildlife, affecting its health and ability to adapt. As a result, many species cannot cope with the increasing challenges of climate-change and development and the wildlife we love is now in serious decline and facing an uncertain future. The recent State of Nature report examined data on more than 8000 UK species and concluded that 56% of those species are in decline with almost 15% of those species faced with extinction from our shores altogether.
Our work helps to create ecological landscapes - we provide support and advice to landowners, businesses and communities so that habitat rich areas can be mapped, improved and joined together, allowing wildlife can flourish. We also manage 36 nature reserves across the West of England, from iron-age forts to ancient woodlands, nationally important wetlands, and wildflower meadows, providing examples of best practice land management.
Targeted conservation works, and evidence shows that some species, such as otters and red kites, are growing in number, thanks to focused conservation efforts. Our environment needs the continued support of businesses, communities and individuals, more than ever, if we are to achieve our aim of ensuring that future generations have access to more abundant and diverse wildlife than today.
So what can you do? Come and help! It’s great that Ecosurety have shown such support for our Feed Bristol project, in Stapleton, Bristol. The project has been running for five years and champions conservation and ecology in a food growing setting and we are looking forward to welcoming your teams to explore, learn about and discover the wildlife on site, while giving something back to the local community.
Schools, volunteers, businesses and community groups visit the project to help manage the land, work in the wildflower nursery and enjoy the rich, natural environment. Regular events, workshops, training programmes and opportunities to develop skills, enable the team to inspire and influence a wide audience. Feed Bristol has become an instrumental part of the local food network but also a hub for nurturing people and supporting new businesses.
With a fully inclusive approach, everyone has an opportunity to progress and help ensure this nature-rich site continues to improve. As people discover their own potential to support local conservation, they too benefit from an increased connection with nature. We give people the skills and confidence they need to make a difference for the long term and inspire people to take action that will help protect wildlife for our future generations.
An impressive impact
After the first three years of opening AWT worked with local firm, Grant Thornton, to assess the impact of the original funding for Feed Bristol received from the National Lottery. During those years, an additional £560,000 of volunteer time in kind was generated, 10 local business were created and 40 volunteers went on to get paid employment as a direct result of being involved with the project. Grant Thornton estimated that the social return on the original £264,000 was £6.7 million – a pretty impressive impact!
The Ecosurety pond project will provide a hugely beneficial resource for the project, giving opportunities for school children, volunteers, community groups and visitors to explore and learn about the pond’s varied wildlife. Corporate support, both financial and practical, really does help us to achieve our goals and enable us to continue to improve our facilities, particularly in a climate where securing funding is increasing competitive.
We hope that this project will allow you all to have some fun, reap those benefits of being outside and give you a chance to get to know your colleagues better. More importantly, we hope that you will leave with the secure knowledge that you have actively contributed to something positive, a resource that will provide a memorable, learning experiences for the next generation of Bristol children and maybe even inspire the next David Attenborough!
Avon Wildlife Trust is the largest local charity working to protect wildlife in the West of England area (formerly the County of Avon - Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire). Find out more at www.avonwildlifetrust.org.uk.
Client services manager
Abigail joined Ecosurety in 2015 and is now Client services manager, ensuring our team provide valuable support to our clients and look for additional value we can add beyond compliance. She graduated in 2014 with a BSc in Environmental Studies from Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts. Her degree is a reflection of her passion for environmental issues, which were evoked while growing up surrounded by the beautiful natural landscape of New England.
Those of you who have been following our 2017 change for good project will know that our month working with Avon Wildlife Trust at their Feed Bristol site has just come to an end.Read More >>
Earth moving equipment has moved into an area of Stapleton in Bristol this week to start work on a new educational wildlife pond for residents and children.Read More >>
‘Most innovative measure’ award presented in recognition of the CSR initiative joinmyjourney.Read More >>