One month ago 25 wildlife organisations, including the RSPB, released the first State of Nature report, revealing that 60% of the UK’s wildlife species studied have declined over recent decades.
In response to this critical situation, RSPB has today launched a campaign to help tackle the housing crisis facing the UK’s threatened wildlife.
Giving Nature a Home will urge the nation to provide a place for wildlife in their own gardens and outside spaces.
The charity hopes to inspire people across the UK to create a million new homes for nature.
Amongst the reatures shown by the report to be in serious trouble were many garden favourites like starlings, hedgehogs, bumblebees, toads and ladybirds. All are in danger of further declines unless more is done to provide better habitats for them.
Getting people to act for nature in their own gardens is the first part of a package of actions that the RSPB is launching in response to the State of Nature report. Over the course of the next few months, the charity will be outlining what businesses, communities and politicians can do, as well as detailing the RSPB’s own plans for saving nature.
Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, says: ‘Nature across Scotland is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines. Gardens and local green spaces provide a valuable lifeline for species like starlings, toads, hedgehogs and bumblebees, which are struggling to find homes in the wider countryside.
‘Although the overall problem is huge, the solution can start on a small scale, right on our doorsteps. It doesn’t matter what sort of garden you have, what size it is, or even if you have no garden at all, we need everyone to help by turning their outside space into a wildlife haven.
‘The more people that get involved in our Giving Nature a Home campaign the better. Our aim is to provide one million homes for nature across the UK, because if there’s no home for nature, then there’s no nature – it really is that serious.’
TV homes expert, Linda Barker, is one of the famous faces supporting the campaign. She says: ‘I’m getting behind the RSPB’s campaign because, to me, having wildlife in your garden is the perfect finishing touch to any home.
‘Planting wild flowers, digging a pond or creating a log pile for bugs is not just a good way of getting creative and making your garden more attractive, but it will also benefit threatened garden wildlife at the same time. Individual actions will make a difference and start to help tackle the lack of habitats for some of our wild creatures.
‘In my garden I’ve put up a nest box for birds and planted nectar-rich flowers to attract bees. If everyone can do just one thing and gave nature a home in their outside space it would be amazing – together we can make a big difference.’
In a novel move to help spread the word, the RSPB has joined up with Rightmove, the UK’s number one property website, to help promote the campaign to homeowners, renters and those looking to get onto the property ladder.
Matt James from Rightmove says: “Though we’re more used to helping people find a home than helping them build one, when the RSPB told us about the parlous position of some of the UK’s favourite species we felt compelled to throw our support behind the campaign. More than a million people visit Rightmove every single day looking for a new place to call home and we’ll be doing our bit to spread the word about just how easy it can be to make a difference.’
To spread the word and inspire individuals from a across the country to build homes for nature in their own gardens and balconies, the RSPB is embarking on its first-ever primetime TV advertising campaign, which will begin on 5th July.
The Giving Nature a Home website will give everyone access to expert advice about helping nature in any outside space– whether it’s a huge garden, an allotment or a small planting tub on a balcony.
By visiting this website you can get a free Giving Nature a Home 24 page colour guide – and can help to populate a map by telling the charity when and where you’ve given nature a home, sharing pictures, tips and ideas with others. You can also find out more about what the RSPB is doing to give nature a home in the wider countryside.
This campaign is based on the principle that a single action by one household can be part of a major nationwide protection of habitats for so many endangered species – and it can be done ‘just like that’ – with little or no cost other than thought and a small effort.
The image of a hedgehog above is cropped from a photograph by Eleanor Bentall for rspb-images.com.