Give a gift for nature this Christmas

Wednesday 14th December 2011

Image credit: Harry HoggImage credit: Harry Hogg

Last minute shoppers stuck for Christmas gift ideas need look no further than The Wildlife Trusts for inspiration.

With more than 20 species from seals to squirrels, hares to hedgehogs and even stag beetles and swallowtails up for adoption, these thoughtful presents protect the natural environment for the future and support local wildlife too. Here we highlight a handful of the adoption and sponsorship schemes on offer with The Wildlife Trusts. For a more detailed list visit

Christmas trees with a difference

The conifer is king at Christmas, and juniper is one of only three native conifers in the UK. Cumbria Wildlife Trust is working to protect juniper, which provides habitat for over 40 species of bugs and fungus. Juniper berries are still used as the main flavour for gin and were once used to treat stomach ailments. This scheme to ‘sponsor a juniper’ starts at £10, and will help ensure the future survival of this rare species in the county.

More traditional Christmas species can also benefit from protection. The Stiperstones hollies form the oldest grove of holly trees in Europe. Cracked and gnarled, twisted and windswept, they have grown into marvellous characters. Shropshire Wildlife Trust is working to protect them for the future. Adopting a holly, for £20, will help it continue this work.

For calling birds

Help Worcestershire Wildlife Trust care for woodland birds by renting a nest box. Recipients have a lease on their own box and get the chance to visit the box at special events with the local warden, and receive an annual report charting what species has used the box. Past residents have included blue tits, great tits, nuthatches, redstarts and even pied flycatchers. Leases are £5 per year for children, and £10 for adults.

T’is the season to sponsor sea life

The Wildlife Trusts work to protect marine life, and wildlife adoption schemes are one way to support this. Devon Wildlife Trust offers a dolphin adoption scheme for £20, and for between £15 and £25 there’s also the chance to sponsor a seal with Cornwall, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, or South and West Wales Wildlife Trusts.

From restoring river corridors for otters, to helping keep wildflower meadows in bloom, The Wildlife Trust’s adoption schemes are run by individual Trusts so you know that you’re sponsoring wildlife in your local area. Some offer a unique range of conservation grazing sponsorships. It’s possible to sponsor herds or individual ponies, cattle, sheep and even water buffalo. There are 47 Wildlife Trusts in the UK which look after around 2,300 nature reserves, and offer hundreds of opportunities to get closer to wildlife.

Membership of a local Wildlife Trust is an ideal gift for those who want to get support, and get to know, the wildlife in their patch. To find out more about membership visit: