New Year resolutions for wildlife
New Year is the time to make resolutions to improve our lives so why not make 2013 a better year for wildlife as well? By making and keeping to resolutions that will help wildlife and the environment you will be making a long lasting contribution. Helping wildlife can be easy and fun, too, just by making a few simple changes in your everyday routines:
• Save Water
On the average, every person in England uses around 150 litres of water a day, most of which is used in everyday routines like showers, flushing the toilet and washing up. There are several ways you can save water in everyday activities; for instance by cutting down on shower time just by one minute, and turning the water off whilst cleaning your teeth.
Charities and non-profit organisations rely on volunteers to great extent, and giving your time is hugely appreciated by them. By volunteering for a cause close to your heart, at the times convenient for you, you will meet new people, learn how to promote your cause and even build up your CV.
• Make your back garden a wildlife haven
Helping wildlife doesn’t necessarily have to mean going out of your way, all you’ve got to do is go out into the back garden. Your garden is likely to host a number of species that can use a helping hand in the winter and all year round. Feeding birds in the winter (be careful though if you’ve got cats in the neighbourhood) and installing nest boxes helps many birds get through the cold months when food is scarce. Bees are of huge importance to the environment and us, but their natural habitats are on the decline. By planting nectar rich flowers in your garden you will be helping the ailing bee population and other insects as well. A simple pile of dead wood or leaves will provide a winter home for hedgehogs, insects and amphibians.
• Be mindful of rubbish
Wildlife suffers greatly from the rubbish thoughtlessly thrown out by humans, and we all need to be mindful of how we dispose it. Hedgehogs can die a painful death with beer rings around their necks, and it is estimated that 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and one million seabirds are killed every year by marine litter. Having a beach cleaning day with family or friends is a rewarding experience and can be an eye opener as to how much rubbish we burden our beaches with.
• Eat well
The food we eat also impacts our environment. Overfishing and unsustainable fishing methods have contributed to the deterioration of our oceans. On a more local level, the Great Dorset Seafood campaign was launched to encourage people to make the right seafood choices for dinner at home and when dining out, thus helping to recover a healthy and productive marine environment. For more information on how, why and where to source seafood responsibly, please check the Great Dorset Seafood website
So have fun and help wildlife in 2013, and your efforts are certain not to go to waste. By involving the kids you’ll help them learn to appreciate the environment from an early age, a skill that will serve them well for a lifetime.
A big thanks to Niina Silvennoinen for these fantastic tips!
Bird Bath - Dorset Wildlife Trust
Volunteering for Wildlife - Dorset Wildlife Trust
Brimstone butterfly - Steve Davis