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Fareham lad takes a gold step for nature

18 October 2012

Samantha Stokes
Media Officer
E-mail: sam.stokes@rspb.org.uk

An eight year old lad from Fareham has become the latest, of over 10,000 youngsters, to receive a Wildlife Action Award from the RSPB.

Jacob Stokes received his Gold Wildlife Action award from the conservation charity after he created a pond in his new garden by submerging a vegetable trough into the soil and surrounding it with stones to create a rockery.

This was Jacob’s idea, to encourage newts to hibernate, and he included a sunken ceramic flower pot as a refuge for frogs, with lots of rockery plants for cover.  Jacob had read how to ramp up stones in the pond to stop frogs from drowning.

He also wrote to 10 Downing Street expressing his thoughts about proposals to cull buzzards. He received a reply saying his letter had been passed onto DEFRA, but has not received a response as yet.

Jacob, who is a member of his local RSPB Wildlife Explorers group, has been stepping up for nature through the Wildlife Action Awards since October 2011, and has already been awarded his bronze and silver awards from the RSPB.

Jacob said: “I've really enjoyed encouraging wildlife and helping them.”

Richenda Stokes, Jacob’s mum, added: “We're really proud of Jacob. He has loved working towards this award and is already planning his next wildlife project.”

The RSPB Wildlife Action Awards were introduced in 1995, and over 10,000 youngsters have taken part in the scheme. 

In total, more than 100 ponds and more than 200 wildlife gardens have been created as part of the Wildlife Action Awards.  4,500 nestboxes have been built and almost 2,000 children have written to their MPs on issues from protecting the marine environment to recycling waste.

Don Fuller, Youth Officer for the RSPB in the South East, said: “It’s great to know that so many children have a real passion for the natural world around them, and that they enjoy protecting it. They are all stepping up to do something positive for nature and are real-life inspirations.”

The UK-wide awards were set up to help connect children with nature and involve them in practical activities to help their environment. 

The growing disconnection between children and nature is one of the biggest threats facing the natural World and wildlife.  The RSPB is urging families to get outdoors and explore so that our children can get to know, value and enjoy nature, and go on to look after it as adults www.rspb.org.uk/getoutdoors

Don Fuller continued: “There has been increasing talk in recent years of children becoming detached from nature, with fewer opportunities than ever for outdoor exploration.

“But Jacob, and the thousands of other children who have done these awards, demonstrate that children are still incredibly interested in nature, they want to find insects, dig ponds, get dirty and explore. They just need to be given the green light to do it.”

Children involved in the Wildlife Action Awards scheme choose from 33 activities and send the RSPB evidence that they have completed 6, 12 and 18 of these to achieve their bronze, silver and gold awards respectively. 

For more information about getting involved in Wildlife Action Awards, please visit www.rspb.org.uk/waa or contact Lesley Nundy on 01767 693266.