Walk for wildlife this autumn!

Sign-up for the Big Wild Walk and raise funds for The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 by 30 appeal

Get your boots on for beavers! It’s time to walk for wildlife and show you care about the extinction crisis with The Wildlife Trusts’ Big Wild Walk, 26 October to 1 November.

The Wildlife Trusts are asking nature-lovers to fundraise to help raise vital money for their 30 by 30 projects that will restore 30% of land and sea for nature by 2030. 

Get fit, have fun and raise money for wildlife! Invite the family to join in, set up a remote relay with friends or take the challenge yourself. Indoors or outdoors, front room, park or wood, treadmill or track – the choice is yours.

Big Wild Walk

Choose your challenge!

The hedgehog: for little legs. Try 3km a day; the distance that this much-loved mammal can travel around the neighbourhood in just one night, on the prowl for food and a mate.

The arctic tern: for high-fliers. Attempt to cover 96,000 steps over the week. That’s the number of kilometres an arctic tern travels on migration between the UK and Antarctica each year.

The nature nut: for the dedicated. Walk a new nature reserve every single day of the challenge. The Wildlife Trusts have more nature reserves than there are branches of McDonalds and the majority of us live under three miles from our closest one. Check out your local Wildlife Trust’s website to find your closest reserves.

The level of difficulty is completely up to you: aim for 10,000 steps a day or push yourself to do 150,000 in seven days. All you need to take part is a way to count your steps or record your walks. Join us for more information and details on how to fundraise for us at www.wildlifetrusts.org/big-wild-walk

The next ten years must be a time of renewal, of rewilding our lives, of green recovery

The Wildlife Trusts has just launched 30 by 30, a public appeal to raise £30 million to start putting nature into recovery across at least 30% of land and sea by 2030. The kinds of local charity projects that will receive donations include:
•    Restoring degraded peatlands to help them lock-in carbon to tackle climate change
•    Bringing back beavers, to help create healthier habitats for wildlife, improve water quality and to reduce flooding
•    Creating new wild places near to where people live, to help nature recover and to improve people’s lives.

Dr Amir Khan, GP and ambassador for The Wildlife Trusts, says:

“Do join in the Big Wild Walk from The Wildlife Trusts, perfect just as the leaves are turning from green to red and gold. Autumn is a magical time when you get to experience the full majesty of the natural world. You may even be lucky enough to see some wildlife making final preparations before winter.

“I know that at this time of year we can put off going for a walk, jog or run. The excuses come quick and fast, ‘the clouds look menacing’, ‘it’s raining’ or ‘it will be dark soon’. We have all used these excuses, myself included! Why don’t you challenge yourself to get outside and in the process raise some much-needed funds for The Wildlife Trusts? Funds from the Big Wild Walk will go towards their 30 by 30 campaign that aims to put nature into recovery and protect 30% of land and sea by 2030. If we all work together and put our best foot forwards, we can do so much to support the natural world around us. 

“If you are going for a walk outdoors, why don’t you make it a brisk walk? This way you get the benefits of being out in nature as well as the cardiovascular benefits of getting your heart rate up  – good for you, and good for nature!” 

Sophie Pavelle, zoologist and ambassador for The Wildlife Trusts, says:

“Last year, Hannah Stitfall and I set off on our Hike for Nature, walking 300 miles of the South West Coastal Path. So many of you wanted to join us, that's why I am so excited about the Big Wild Walk from The Wildlife Trusts. It doesn’t matter where you are in the country you can still take part. Sign up, choose your challenge, get some sponsorship and off you go! Keep your eyes peeled whilst you are out and about as you never know what you might see! If you need them, there are also some fantastic spotter guides available so you can identify what you see! Good luck. I'm going to get prepared to scurry like a hedgehog!” 

Editor's notes

The Big Wild Walk
How to get involved and fundraise via www.wildlifetrusts.org/big-wild-walk
Find out more about the 30 by 30 campaign www.wildlifetrusts.org/30-30-30 

Around the country, some 30 by 30 projects:
Here are some examples of the kinds of Wildlife Trust projects that donations to the Big Wild Walk will go towards. The 30 by 30 projects range from land acquisition, to peatland repair and species reintroduction. Examples include:

  • Lost fenland to be restored – Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust aims to restore 50 hectares of the county’s lost peat-fenland at Bourne North Fen to become a home for a wide variety of wildlife, linking up important nature reserves, creating a multi-purpose wetland which will store water for agriculture, improve water quality for consumers, and underpin a local eco-tourism economy.
  • Repairing peatland to lock-up carbon and help wildlife – Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s pioneering carbon farm at Winmarleigh is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK. Drained for agriculture in the 1970s the carbon farm is part of a project across five European countries to see how peatlands capture carbon. Work has started to rewet fields and plant over 100,000 plugs of sphagnum moss.
  • Beaver reintroduction and farmland bird recovery – Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust have plans to reintroduce beavers to the Island. A complex of wetland nature reserves in the Eastern Yar Valley offers an exciting opportunity for this wonderful ecosystem engineer work its magic. The Trust is also working on returning missing farmland birds such as cirl bunting and chough to the Island.
  • Converting low-grade agricultural land into nature areas near homes – Warwickshire Wildlife Trust is changing the way nature reserves are acquired giving highest priority to land with low existing wildlife value where the potential for biodiversity gain is greatest. These areas will be transformed into new species-rich wild areas that will be freely accessible to people and will help capture carbon and prevent flooding.

Species at risk State of Nature report 2019.

Why putting 30% into recovery is our target
Our campaign takes its lead from The UN  Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This is an agreement between countries based on natural and biological resources, with 3 main goals: to protect biodiversity; to use biodiversity without destroying it; and, to share any benefits from genetic diversity equally. The CBD has proposed that at least 30% of the world’s land and seas should be protected in the next decade to prevent the destruction of the planet’s biodiversity, as part of a global framework to protect the Earth’s plant and wildlife.

The 30% threshold of wildlife habitat in a landscape has been worked out by looking at a range of different species and their requirements. At less than 30% cover, habitat patches are too small and isolated, and species richness (the number of species in any one area), abundance and survival rates decline. This is what has led to the UK becoming one of the most nature depleted countries on Earth.  Where habitat cover is greater than 30% habitat patches will, on average, be larger and the distance between patches will typically be less, resulting in greater connectivity.  This means that if local extinctions do occur, other populations of the same species can move into the area easily.

UK Context
The UK has a human-dominated landscape with a large degree of habitat loss and fragmented natural ecosystems. It is one of the most nature-depleted countries on the planet – see the 2019 State of Nature report. In areas where there is little semi-natural habitat left, research shows that ecological sustainability can be achieved through the creation of ecological networks.

The principle is well established and was politically accepted in the 2011 Natural Environment White Paper. This was informed by the Lawton Review – Making Space for Nature – which was set up to look at our wildlife sites and whether they are capable of responding and adapting to the growing challenges of climate change and other demands on our land. The Lawton review said England’s collection of wildlife sites are generally too small and too isolated to provide a healthy natural environment; we need more space for nature. It concluded that in order to create a coherent and resilient ecological network, we need more, bigger, better and joined space for nature.

Many Wildlife Trusts have thought about what this might look like and have mapped ecological networks – mostly on land, but some also at sea. This thinking has now developed into a call for a Nature Recovery Network. This spatially-planned approach to working out where best to restore nature requires high quality, proactively-managed data detailing our most precious habitats and species. Funding is needed to implement a new era of ecological data gathering and management. 
The Wildlife Trusts published ‘Let nature help – how nature’s recovery is essential for tackling the climate crisis’ earlier in 2020. It outlined key habitats that will store carbon if restored. We need to identify, map and protect these ecosystems, and restore them locally as part of a national Nature Recovery Network. We also need to incentivise farmers and other land managers to improve their land for nature and contribute to this network. At sea, we need effective marine planning, and an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas.
 

The Wildlife Trusts
The Wildlife Trusts believe that people need nature and it needs us. We are here to make the world wilder and to make nature part of everyone’s lives. We are a grassroots movement of 46 charities with more than 850,000 members and 38,000 volunteers. No matter where you are in Britain, there is a Wildlife Trust inspiring people and saving, protecting and standing up for the natural world. With the support of our members, we care for and restore special places for nature on land and run marine conservation projects and collect vital data on the state of our seas. Every Wildlife Trust works within its local community to inspire people to create a wilder future – from advising thousands of landowners on how to manage their land to benefit wildlife, to connecting hundreds of thousands of school children with nature every year.  wildlifetrusts.org