Somerset Wildlife Trust is delighted to be one of a number of southern Wildlife Trusts joining forces with the Southern Co-operative to deliver a new joint campaign – ‘My Wild Neighbourhood’ – which aims to help families get outdoors to explore nature in their neighbourhood and local natural spaces, and to raise awareness of why engaging with nature is good for children’s health and wellbeing. The campaign is supported by proceeds from the carrier bag charge, distributed by the Southern Co-operative to local community causes.
Funds from the partnership will be supporting Somerset Wildlife Trust’s ‘Brilliant Coast’ initiative in the first instance (see our previous blog on this), which aims to inspire people and communities along the coast about the wonderful habitats, wildlife, history and heritage that can be found there, so that collectively we are able to protect the coast in light of growing development pressures. Running a programme of community engagement, citizen science and education in coastal schools to get people out there and engaging with the coast plays an important part in achieving this.
The My Wild Neighbourhood campaign falls within the Southern Co-operative’s overall Love Your Neighbourhood initiative which, following a survey, aims to address four key issues in our society and will focus on supporting; More Inclusive, Greener, Safer and Healthier Neighbourhoods. The campaign complements Somerset Wildlife Trust’s ‘Every Child Wild’, ‘My Wild Life’ and ’30 Days Wild’ campaigns.
Jolyon Chesworth, Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Nature and Wellbeing Manager, explains why exploring our coastline is good for us: “Just as people are dusting off their buckets and spades and preparing to spend time at the seaside, this is the perfect time to launch the new campaign, which will help people see beyond the sandcastles and surfboards to the incredible wildlife that occupies the space between the tides.
“The vast expanses of mud and sand on Somerset’s coast are home to millions of little worms and snails that make the perfect all-you-can-eat buffet for some of this country’s most important populations of birds. As the tide goes out in other areas, rocky reefs and pools are exposed which shelter sunstars, anemones and crabs. Somerset’s coastal wildlife is hugely overlooked and, as a result, under-valued. So to help us survey and record it so that we can protect it better, we will be working with schools, training volunteers and organising seashore safaris. Research by the Wildlife Trusts has found that just 20 minutes in nature is enough to boost energy levels and improve physical and mental wellbeing, so those families and kids that get involved in the My Wild Neighbourhood campaign will benefit hugely as a result – it’s a win for everyone.”
Jessica Hughes, Communications and Community Engagement Manager for The Southern Co-operative, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Wildlife Trusts’ work to help families get in touch with nature, because we believe in putting funds back in the communities that helped to raise them.”
PHOTO: Common sunstar by Nigel Phillips.