Get an exclusive insight into our work in the south east region and meet some of the people who make it possible.
The clock is ticking! There are just a few days left to vote in this year's Telegraph Nature of Farming Award voting closes on 5 of September.Encouraging wildlife This important award recognises the hard work and tireless effort of many farmers in the UK who encourage wildlife onto their land.From over 300 entrants, four farmers have been chosen to face the public vote, in the hope of being named the UK’s Most Wildlife Friendly Farmer 2012.One of those farmers to make it through to the final four is Peter Knight. Peter has managed the Norfolk Estate in Arundel, West Sussex for the last 24 years, and in that time the estate has blossomed into a haven for local wildlife. Butterflies, including the rare Duke of Burgundy and Pearl-bordered Fritillary, feed on the pollen rich crops, while brown hares have flourished in the spring crops, reaching a total of 520 last winter!Here Peter shares his motivations for farming for wildlife.
The Nature of Farming Award is the UK's largest wildlife farming award, and is immensely valuable for spreading the word about the benefits of farming for nature as well as commercial success.Over the past five years the award has helped strengthened the link between the RSPB and farmers, by spreading positive messages about wildlife-friendly farming.The award also has the added benefit of raising public awareness about the importance of wildlife-friendly farming.It is particularly important this year, as funding for wildlife-friendly farming is being reviewed as part of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.The only finalist from the South East, Peter also explains why funding from Agri-environment schemes is so important to him, and all farmers.
All farming = wildlife friendly!Peter, the other UK finalists, regional and country winners and highly commended farmers in this year's Nature of Farming Award all demonstrate a wide variety of farming systems, showing that all farming can be wildlife-friendly.So, if you think Peter has encouraged wildlife to flourish on his farm and deserves to be crowned this year’s Most Wildlife Friendly Farmer, take a couple of minutes vote for him online before 5 September.
Vote, vote, vote!Encourage as many people as possible to visit the website and vote for Peter too.By voting, you could also be in with the chance to win a luxury spa break for two!The Nature of Farming award is supported by Butterfly Conservation, Plantlife and The Telegraph. It is funded by the EU Life+ programme which aims to safeguard the future of farmland birds under the EU Birds Directive.
There’s no denying it. Sometimes fundraising can seem like an uphill struggle – a constant stream of budgets and applications. But it’s the outcome of this process that more than makes up for the effort. There is nothing like the feeling you get when you realise you are responsible for bringing in a pot of money that is essential for RSPB to carry out it’s vital work. You feel a real part of the change needed to save nature for us all.So, a bit about the role I play as a Project Fundraising Officer...Project Fundraising is all about raising money from sources such as the lottery, landfill trusts, charitable trusts and the business world. As a team, we usually raise ‘restricted income’, which means that we apply for money to fund a specific project. When we receive the money, it must be spent on what we have detailed in the application – it is ‘restricted’ to that project - and we have to provide reports to prove this to the funders.As with most of the jobs within such a large nature conservation charity, no two days are the same. I can be based in the office one day, putting together an application for a European funding stream, or out on one of our reserves another day, showing a funder exactly what their money has been spent on. The variety is invigorating and ensures that I always have plenty to keep me busy. One of the most exciting projects I have been working on since I started at RSPB in 2011 is a large multi-partner funding application that was submitted to a European funding source in March. RSPB is one of 14 organisations (from both the UK and France) that are working together on this project to protect marine and shoreline areas across the English Channel. The application took months to put together – each organisation having to detail what work they would carry out and provide detailed budgets of the money they needed. It was hard work and there were lots of challenges along the way but the outcome was fantastic.We found out in June that the application had been successful.For RSPB that means that we have vital money to help the populations of little terns (pictured below) at RSPB’s Langstone Harbour Reserve. It also means we can work together with a wide range of organisations to protect the channel region and ensure future generations have a world richer in nature and wildlife.As well as working alongside such fantastic colleagues, celebrating success is definitely a high point of being a Project Fundraising Officer and I’m lucky to work in a team where we have lots of opportunities to celebrate!
Little tern, by Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)
There’s either not enough of it or too much, but then it’s the wrong kind or in the wrong place.
WATER! It seems it’s barely out of the news with a constant stream (pardon the pun) of advice about what you should do.
One minute there’s a drought and hosepipe bans and the next the heavens open and we’re dealing with severe floods.
So what’s it all about?
Temperatures are rising and even with strong action, under a ‘best case’ scenario, the global temperature will still rise by 2°C.
In the UK, this means longer dry spells in summer and warmer, wetter winters.
But despite what’s happening in the wider environment, it’s easy to take water for granted with a constant supply on tap direct to our homes.
However by using water more wisely in our homes, gardens and workplaces, we can do our bit to help to ease the pressure on our wetlands and rivers.
Saving water will ensure more stable, resilient habitats for the birds and other wildlife that depend on wet places for their survival.
We’re often told about the more obvious savings: collecting rainwater to use in your garden, turning off the tap when you brush your teeth and using washing machine cycles that use less water.
But what about the hidden connections?
It’s not just about the water coming out of our pipes. Water is used in the production of all sorts of products too.
Known as ‘embedded’ water, this makes up about 70% of our usage and comes from other nations whose goods we import.
Most of it is in our food - a tomato has about 13 litres of water embedded in it, a hamburger has about 2400 litres!
Some food production in arid countries relies on unsustainable sources of water, which in turn shrinks wetlands and the wildlife that depends on them.
By asking questions and choosing carefully when you shop you’ll be helping tackle water stress overseas as well as at home.
Find out more about how you can Step up For Nature by saving water.