· 20,000 children are spending more time with nature in Cardiff
· 60% of Cardiff primary schools are engaging with wildlife in their schools grounds
· Over 1,000 Cardiff residents now want to see more nature in their city
Throughout January and February there will be opportunities for broadcast media to film, record, and interview people about Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff, including:
· Cardiff primary schools who have received our free nature outreach sessions - as well as RSPB Cymru Education, Families & Youth Officer, Sarah Mitchell, who leads the sessions.
· Families and project volunteers who work with Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff.
· Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Bob Derbyshire.
· Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff Project Manager, Carolyn Robertson.
· The City of Cardiff Council Community Park Rangers who look after Cardiff's green spaces.
To arrange any TV or radio interviews please contact RSPB Cymru Communications Officer, Eleri Wynne on 02920 353007 / Eleri.Wynne@rspb.org.uk
Since 2014 RSPB Cymru's1 Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff project3, in partnership with the City of Cardiff Council2, has been busy engaging children and families with nature across the city - from the wildflower meadows of Forest Farm right down to the wilderness of Flat Holm Island. Thanks to funding from Tesco customers through the Welsh carrier bag levy, the project has provided free outreach sessions to 60% of Cardiff primary schools, engaging over 13,600 children with nature. It's helped communities in 90% of Cardiff wards to spend more time with wildlife on their doorstep through free family events and worked with local volunteers who've donated a fantastic 3,600 hours of their time to help wildlife in the city. Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff Project Manager, Carolyn Robertson, said: "Since the project was launched in 2014 we've truly enjoyed bringing thousands of young people and their families closer to nature in Cardiff. "We've been popping up in parks, community hubs and green spaces across Cardiff providing fun outdoor activities for young people - from juicy worm hunts to wildlife gardening workshops. We've delivered free outreach sessions to 60% of Cardiff primary schools to help them discover all the plants and animals that live in their school grounds, in turn igniting a new found curiosity for nature. However we still have plenty of work to do and we now want to encourage even more families across the city to spend time outdoors discovering and enjoying the wildlife in their community."
Families are going wild for nature...
By inviting children to splash around in their wellies, get together for some pond dipping or get muddy on a minibeast hunt, the project established the most exciting wildlife club in Cardiff in April 2016. Run by the City of Cardiff Council Community Park Rangers and RSPB Cymru staff and volunteers, Cardiff Wildlife Detectives encourages families to spend some quality time together exploring in the wild. Nicola Hutchinson, Conservation Officer for the City of Cardiff Council, said: "Over 30 families currently make up the Cardiff Wildlife Detectives group and so far we've been rock pooling at Sully beach, coppicing trees at Forest Farm and discovering wildlife along Bute Park's Explorer Trail. Children as young as two have found sheer delight pulling up giant invasive plants taller than them, whilst 15 year olds have been fascinated by the creatures they've caught in the pond at Forest Farm. We want people to get out and enjoy everything the great outdoors has to offer, as once you start looking you will find all sorts of wildlife right under your nose."
From a giant spider web to virtual reality in the park...Even more people enjoyed the wonders of Cardiff's wildlife in 2015 as Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff brought creativity and innovation to Cardiff's Bute Park in the form of TAPE. Delivered in partnership with arts organisation, Migrations4, TAPE allowed 74,000 people to discover and crawl around inside a giant spider's web in the trees and provided them with a completely different perspective about the natural world around them. The creativity didn't stop there as the project teamed up again with Migrations in summer 2016 with the arrival of In the Eyes of the Animal - a 360 degree virtual reality experience in the heart of Bute Pak. Families were transported on a multi-sensory journey all through the eyes of a midge, a dragonfly, a frog and an owl native to the park. And last but not least, the project's latest venture with Migrations, Boombox Caerdydd, will film 100 Cardiff residents as they dance in their favourite green spaces in the city, celebrating their connection with nature and the places they feel it most.
Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Bob Derbyshire, said: "We have some fantastic parks and green spaces in Cardiff but sometimes it can be all too easy to live in a city without giving any real thought to the natural world around us. This partnership has been a way of encouraging children and parents to visit and enjoy our parks and open spaces. TAPE and In the Eyes of the Animal were incredibly successful, attracting a total of 77,000 visitors to Bute Park and helping people to identify with wildlife and enjoy the sense of wonder that nature evokes in new and unique ways."
"Fantastic experience. Loved seeing it so public. Makes me love the city even more." Visitor to TAPE
"The most family friendly summer activity Cardiff has done in years." Visitor to TAPE
"Loved the way it crosses all barriers between art, science and nature which so often stay separate." Visitor to In the Eyes of the Animal
"Beautifully immersive. I couldn't have predicted what I experienced. Can't wait for more." Visitor to In the Eyes of the Animal
Looking to the future...Sadly, we now know that only 1 child in every 8 in Wales is reasonably connected with the natural environment5 and 1 in every 14 species in Wales is facing extinction6. This, without question, is cause to continue the vital work achieved through Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff. In doing so we will hopefully enable even more children and families to spend time with wildlife in their city, inspiring them to take action to not only support nature but to treasure it.
Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff is currently funded by Tesco customers through the Welsh carrier bag levy until 31 March 2017 and the project is now sourcing funding to continue with its work. However we're delighted to confirm that thanks to Aldi, through the UK carrier bag levy, the project's schools outreach work can continue until 2019.
1. The RSPB is the UK's largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations. www.rspb.org.uk
2. The City of Cardiff Council is responsible for providing over 700 services to the 352,000 residents of the capital of Wales every year. Our Corporate Plan sets out what the Council will do, and how we will work with partners from the public, private and third sector to deliver our vision of becoming Europe's most liveable capital city.
3. Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff is RSPB Cymru's flagship project delivered in partnership with the City of Cardiff Council and funded by Tesco customers through the Welsh Government's carrier bag levy until 31 March 2017. The project has engaged over 20,000 children and their families across Cardiff with wildlife; encouraging them to connect with the nature on their doorstep and take action to support it. The project is currently sourcing funding to continue with it's vital work as of 1 April 2017 onwards, however the project's schools outreach work will contunie thanks to funding from Aldi through the UK's carrier bag levy.
4. Founded in 2004, Migrations brings international contemporary performance to Wales while developing innovative collaborations, commissions and partnerships in Wales and further afield. Projects have included performances, exhibitions, screenings and workshops. The Artistic Director is Karine Décorne. Migrations is supported by Arts Council of Wales and Paul Hamlyn Foundation. www.migrations.uk
5. According to RSPB's Connecting with Nature report only 1 chid in every 8 in Wales is connected to nature. The RSPB believes that connecting with nature should be a part of every child's life - to develop deeply-held feelings and attitudes towards wildlife and the world we all live in. The kind support of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the University of Essex made this research possible. https://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/connecting-with-nature_tcm9-354603.pdf.
6. According to the State of Nature 2016: Wales report, over the last 50 years, 57% of vascular plants, 60% of butterflies and 40% of birds have declined in Wales. Since 1970, across the UK 56% of species declined, with 40% showing strong or moderate declines, 31% showed little change and 29% showed strong or moderate increases. Over the last decade, 53% of species declined and 47% increased. These measures were based on quantitative trends for nearly 4,000 terrestrial and freshwater species in the UK. National measures of the Biodiversity Intactness Index (BII) provide us with one way to assess the extent of the loss of nature due to human activities going back centuries. It has been suggested that BII values below 90% indicate that ecosystems may have fallen below the point at which they can reliably meet society's needs. Therefore the value for Wales - 82.8% - gives great cause for concern; of the 218 countries for which BII values have been calculated, Wales is ranked 49th from the bottom. This puts Wales in the lowest fifth/bottom quarter of all the countries analysed.