Nature is under pressure. Towns and roads are taking over many habitats, while hedgerows and meadows are disappearing from the countryside. This leaves broken food chains and dwindling wildlife. But there are many ways for you to help
Make your own mini nature reserve
Your school or garden can be a mini nature reserve. You don’t need much space. Just put some of it aside for wildlife. Make sure you get permission from adults first. Here are some ideas:
- Make a log pile. Rotting logs are perfect for burrowing animals, such as beetle larvae, and decomposers such as woodlice. They also make a home for ground creatures such as toads and centipedes.
- Leave a wild patch. Don’t get rid of all your garden weeds. Wild plants provide food for loads of animals – from goldfinches (which eat thistle seeds) to peacock butterflies (whose caterpillars eat nettles).
- Feed the birds. This helps replace natural food lost from the countryside. Try high-energy foods, such as sunflower seed or fat cakes. You don’t even need a garden; some feeders attach to windows. Wherever you put them, birds will find them! And think about how many different types of birds and animals you can attract if you feed into different levels in your food chains.
- Dig a pond. Ponds (if you have space) introduce a whole underwater food web to your garden ecosystem. They also provide drinking water for birds, and attract newcomers such as frogs, dragonflies and herons.
- Cat control. Cats are not a natural part of the food chain. We introduced them, and now our wildlife can’t cope. Try to limit your cat’s hunting instincts: keep bird feeders out of its reach; keep it indoors during spring (baby bird time); and try not to let it out at dusk.
There are lots of ideas for ways you can help wildlife in the RSPB’s Wildlife Action Awards scheme. Use the link on this page to find out more.
Conservation organisations work to restore the balance of nature. They do things such as clearing away alien plants, digging ponds and planting native trees. Find about one near you. Then join up and get dirty!