Our vision and mission

Our Vision and Mission

Sunrise in Dorset © Ross Hoddinott/2020VISION

What we believe

Our Vision is Dorset rich in wildlife for everyone. 

Our Mission is to champion wildlife and natural places and to inspire people to value and take action for nature. 

Dorset Wildlife Trust is the leading charity dedicated to nature conservation in Dorset.  From small beginnings in 1961 based entirely on voluntary effort, we now have over 25,000 members, 42 nature reserves, 5 visitor centres and a thriving programme of outreach with communities and land and sea managers.  As a business we have grown but we have never lost our volunteer ethos and rely on the support of thousands of people.  

Dorset has an amazing natural diversity

Dorset’s world renowned geology is reflected in its varied range of terrestrial and marine habitats, including heathlands, chalk downland, flower-rich hay meadows, chalk streams, tide-swept offshore reefs and sheltered saline lagoons.  Despite losses, it is still one of the richest counties for wildlife in England.  

But wildlife is under threat

Many of England’s wildlife species and habitats have declined catastrophically since the Second World War.  Agricultural, forestry, fishing and development policies which were designed to put the UK back on its feet after the war, at the same time created a situation where nature was decimated.  In Dorset heathlands were lost under tarmac and conifer plantations, hedgerows were ripped out, pesticides accumulated up the food chain so otters and birds of prey were virtually wiped out, seas were over-fished, rivers polluted and people became more and more disconnected with the natural world.  Through changes in legislation and policy, and the work of charities like Dorset Wildlife Trust, that decline has slowed and some species have begun to recover, but overall the decline still continues and there is much more to do.   

Find out more with the State of Nature Report, find out how we are protecting wildlife and wild places, connecting everyone with nature and find out more about the Dorset Natural Value report.

Creating a Living Landscape

We are continuing to lose wildlife and the places where wildlife lives at an alarming rate.  A broad-scale approach to conservation where wildlife habitats are not just found in nature reserves but are bigger, better managed and more joined-up lies at the heart of our efforts to stop this loss. We call this Living Landscapes. Find out about our work near you

A return to Living Seas

Around half of all our wildlife lives in the sea, but decades of over-exploitation have left our seas damaged and degraded; however, it's not too late to save them.  Our vision is for Living Seas, where wildlife thrives and species driven to the brink become common once more. 

The Wildlife Trusts’ report, The Way Back to Living Seas, outlines a new approach to the way we manage our seas that will create a UK surrounded by inspiring, life-filled and sustainable Living Seas. This means thriving fish stocks and healthy marine habitats on the seabed, creating a marine ecosystem that will benefit wildlife and people for generations. 

Find out more about Living Seas here

A society where nature matters

We inspire and empower people to take action in their lives to help wildlife.  We believe that everyone deserves to live in a healthy, wildlife-rich natural world, and that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the joy of wildlife in their daily lives.  We're working hard to make these beliefs a reality. Find out what you can do here

How we work

Everyone at DWT, our staff and volunteers, share common values.  We: 

  • Respect and value each other’s skills, energy and commitment. 
  • Are open and transparent in the way we work. 
  • Act honestly, fairly and with integrity. 
  • Use resources efficiently, wisely and safely. 
  • Work in partnership - to increase our effectiveness. 
  • Are inclusive - working with people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. 
  • Value volunteers - without whom much of our work could not be done. 
  • Build sustainability - into all our activities. 
  • Are responsive - to the views of our members, and the wider community. 
  • Are objective, scientific and professional. 

We also have to adapt to changes in the way government operates locally, regionally and nationally.  This reflects changes in national and local government and their policies.  We will work with our partners in Dorset and beyond to influence local and national decisions and to work with local partnerships, such as Dorset’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Local Nature Partnership (LNP), to deliver sustainable solutions to local problems.

Our Strategic Plan

Our strategic plan for 2017-20 faces up to a time of great uncertainly and turbulence in the outside world, with the impacts of Brexit on the natural environment very much uncertain, presenting both great risks and significant opportunities.  DWT, whilst Dorset-based, must play its part in influencing to benefit nature, through our local experience and evidence, and as part of the network of Wildlife Trusts nationally.  

Our plan focusses on building our support base, demonstrating our impact and increasing our influence on decisions that affect Dorset’s natural environment, whilst never losing touch with nature and the special places which inspire us all to take action for wildlife.