Naturehood project encourages Swindon residents to do ‘One Thing for Wildlife’ this autumn

Earthwatch Europe’s community wildlife project Naturehood is embarking on a new campaign to encourage residents to take positive action for nature this autumn.

The ‘One Thing for Wildlife’ campaign will focus on the first Naturehood communities in Swindon and Oxford, encouraging them to make the most of the season before hibernation begins in earnest.

Many people associate acting for nature with the spring and summer months, and tend to spend less time outdoors once the autumn begins. But this is a crucial time to support wildlife.

Dr Tristan Pett, Research Manager for Naturehood, says: “The nights are drawing in, which means that now is the time to help local wildlife get ready for winter. The actions people take now can make a real difference to some of our favourite species, like sparrows and hedgehogs, and ensure they get the best possible start when spring comes.”

The Naturehood team is promoting three key actions for wildlife during the autumn:
1. Installing homes for hedgehogs.
2. Putting up nest boxes for sparrows.
3. Providing homes for insects using leaf piles, log piles and compost heaps.

Once any of the above actions are implemented, Naturehood encourages people to register them on the Naturehood website. This contributes to important research and helps monitor the effectiveness of such actions.

Joanna Morris is the Community Engagement Officers in Swindon. She is spreading the word and supporting local residents with the top recommended actions for the autumn at regular drop-in sessions in their Naturehoods until the Christmas break.

Jo has been hosting drop-ins every Tuesday afternoon at Penhill Café, John Moulton Hall, from 29 October and will be introducing similar drop-in sessions in Tadpole Garden Village in the New Year.

Other action for wildlife focused events, such as building sparrow boxes workshops are also being planned for next year. In spring the Naturehood team will focus on actions that help wildlife during the breeding season, such as providing nest boxes, planting flowers for the pollinators and even building ponds.

Background to Naturehood

The 2019 State of Nature report found that, in just 50 years, a worrying 41% of species in the UK have declined in number. Ever-increasing pressures – from climate change to pollution – threaten our wildlife, with 15% of species in Great Britain now at risk of extinction.

But there is hope. By taking small, simple actions, we can all play a part in helping UK wildlife to thrive. That’s where Naturehood comes in. Naturehood is an exciting new wildlife project that supports people in taking action for the nature on their doorstep. From instructions on how to build your own hedgehog house to top tips on gardening for wildlife, Naturehood has an activity to suit everyone and any green space, no matter the size.

Naturehood encourages people to ‘pledge’ their support for particular local species by adding nature-friendly elements to their own green spaces.

Going beyond one-off individual actions, the project empowers neighbours to work together to create ‘Naturehoods’ – thriving networks of wildlife-rich space – to have a significant impact on biodiversity.

There are currently four Naturehoods being developed: Penhill and Tadpole Garden Village in Swindon; and Florence Park and Marston in Oxford. In Swindon Naturehood is delivered in partnership with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

Taking part in Naturehood is completely free and everyone can join by registering and recording their wildlife friendly actions on the Naturehood website.