A recent letter from Oliver Letwin praising the work of the Wildlife Trusts has been published in the Western Gazette - Wildlife Trust's work sows a worthy legacy. The letter is copied below, or can be viewed on the thisisdorset website.
Wildlife Trust's work sows a worthy legacy
I WAS absolutely delighted to see a report in last week's Western Gazette that the Dorset Wildlife Trust is to designate a new wildlife meadow at the Terrace in Sherborne.
The wildlife trusts are wonderful institutions which do an enormous amount of good work all over the country, creating and enhancing natural habitats of various kinds.The Dorset Wildlife Trust is no exception. Indeed, it is one of the most vibrant and active of all the trusts in England.
One of the wonderful things about these organisations is that they are very much part of the Big Society.
They don't take the form of big, unwieldy bureaucracies. Instead, they are voluntary organisations thinly staffed, agile, highly sensitive to local concerns and heavily assisted by volunteers.
With the emergence a whole range of new opportunities for nature conservation and the improvement of natural landscapes through the recent Natural Environment White Paper, the wildlife trusts have now become even more important than they were already. They are the obvious way of putting together the local projects that can gradually repair our ecosystems in places where they have been damaged.
As the National Ecosystem Assessment, a massive work of science and scholarship, has now authoritatively shown, this work of re-establishing habitats and supporting bio-diversity can have huge effects not only for the environment but also for our economy.
Nature, properly respected and properly used, cannot only give us beauty, clean water, clear air and a wealth of leisure activity but also lower costs, reduced flooding, more tourism, cheaper, better food and much else that matters to our economy.
So it was very good to see Sherborne Town Council so imaginatively applying for the land at the Terrace to be designated as a Site of Nature Conservation Interest and to see the trust responding so positively.
What makes this all the more remarkable is that I understand the site in question has been carefully studied over the past nine years by a group of local people who, for no personal gain, have put their time and effort into establishing the importance of this particular patch of earth for the species whose habitat it is.
This has been a fine tradition in England over many centuries.
Some of the greatest naturalists of all were Victorian vicars, patiently accumulating a treasure-house of detail in the spare time between sermons and ministrations.
And the tradition of what is in the best sense of the word amateur naturalism is clearly still alive and well in Sherborne today.
Hats off to the locals who acquired the records, to the town council for taking them seriously and to the Wildlife Trust for bringing this site under its wing.
For more information please contact Andy Fale at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01202 692033.
Notes to Editor
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About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.