Stonechat cpt Jon Hawkins
During October, we are asking people to help wildlife by remembering their local Wildlife Trust in their will.
Gifts in wills enable Wildlife Trusts to protect endangered species, buy and manage nature reserves and to inspire everyone to care about wildlife
Wildlife Trusts often need to raise funds at short notice to save vitally important land for wildlife, such as ancient woodlands, wildflower meadows or rare fenland – land which could otherwise be lost.
This is where a gift in someone’s will can be vital - it can mean the difference between saving a haven for wildlife or losing it forever.
Smaller gifts are important too as they can help us to manage land for wildlife in years to come.
Your local Wildlife Trust may be holding a Will for Wildlife Week (20-26 October) or even a Will for Wildlife Month throughout October, when local solicitors may offer discounts on will writing.
If you are considering writing or updating your will and you would like to help wildlife, find out more about how to do this here.
Thank you for considering helping wildlife in your will.
Philippa Lyons, former Chief Executive of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) explains why a few words in your will can make a big difference for local wildlife.
When I lean on a five-bar gate and look across a field of quaking grass, dotted with the dark-red pompoms of greater burnet and yellow rattle, I feel proud to be associated with such an enduring and uplifting cause.
Anyone who has caught a glimpse of a vivid blue kingfisher flashing across the water’s edge, watched marbled white butterflies dancing through a spectacular display of native wild orchids in an old quarry, or strolled through a meadow filled with an array of wild flowers and grasses knows that protecting wildlife is too important to be left to chance.
These true havens for wildlife are often made possible by the foresight of people who were inspired to make a gift to BBOWT in their wills and, thanks to their generosity, BBOWT nature reserves are now safeguarding wildlife for everyone to enjoy for ever.
Legacies and gifts make a huge difference to our work. I know from experience that trying to buy a new nature reserve is not for the faint-hearted. Here in South-East England the many competing demands on ‘undeveloped’ land pushes the price so high it is often out of reach of a charity like BBOWT. When we enter negotiations with sellers we need to convince them that while we are serious bidders, we still need time to raise the money. This is why legacies can play an invaluable role; they are often our deposit when we buy land and become the catalyst that inspires others to support an appeal.
I have had the privilege of meeting a number of people who have told me they are leaving a bequest to BBOWT. It is humbling and inspiring to listen to their passion and concern about keeping the places they know so well safe for wildlife. They value the unique beauty of the floodplain meadows of the Thames and its tributaries across Oxfordshire, and the steep-banked chalk grassland filled with the scent of wild herbs in summer, humming with insects. They also know these nature reserves are here today because of the kind thoughts and deeds of people who, decades ago, pledged legacies to BBOWT.
During Remember A Charity Week in 2012, BBOWT was delighted to unveil a Yellow Plaque at Warburg Nature Reserve, near Henley, to celebrate the many people who over the years have dedicated a gift to their local Wildlife Trust. And, although I hope BBOWT does not receive my gift for some years yet, I am proud to count myself among those who value our natural heritage enough to include a bequest to BBOWT in my will.
I have seen the impact a bequest can make. Legacies enable us to care for our nature reserves, to extend them and save wildlife habitats under threat. They can be used to inspire the next generation and show them the wonders of wildlife in their own neighbourhood. At BBOWT visitor centres, with help from our volunteer guides, people of all ages and abilities can track bats and badgers, uncover grass snakes, go on fungi forays and watch flocks of wildfowl from bird hides and boardwalks built with legacy funding. In our education centres, children excitedly examine mini-beasts and wild flowers for the first time, using nets and microscopes bought with gifts from supporters who knew that BBOWT would spend their money wisely.
When I lean on a five-bar gate and look across a field of quaking grass, dotted with the dark-red pompoms of greater burnet and yellow rattle, I feel proud to be associated with such an enduring and uplifting cause. I am enormously grateful to those individuals who have enabled BBOWT to save 80 very special places for nature, for ever, across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Working together we have helped to give nature a fighting chance long into the future.