World Environment Day on the 5th of June 2020 recognises that during these exceptional times nature is sending us a message: to care for ourselves we must care for nature. Find out what the Dorset AONB Team is doing for nature …
“The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature. Yet, these are exceptional times in which nature is sending us a message:
To care for ourselves we must care for nature.”
With World Environment Day this year finding many of us in lockdown, we’re sorry not to be celebrating with the hands-on activities that we had in mind. I asked the Dorset AONB Team if they are still managing to Make Time for Nature and I was immediately bombarded with answers – YES, The Dorset AONB has still got nature very much in mind! So although we are all working from home and we are restricted in what we can do, there’s plenty still going on to safeguard and celebrate our outstanding wildlife …
Working with older people and those living with dementia and their carers, the Stepping into Nature Team have nature at the very heart of their work. Activities to connect – and reconnect – people with nature to boost health and well-being is their focus, and during the lockdown they’ve had plenty of ideas of how to do this from the sofa, or close to home.
Ian Rees, our Conservation Officer, has been supporting a community-led project to improve the condition of the River Asker in West Dorset. He has been amazed by the huge interest in the project from local communities, land owners and wildlife specialists, with over 200 people involved in talks and conservation work over the past 6 months. Lots more to do after lockdown!
Jill Hearing has been working throughout the year with a hardy bunch of volunteers to connect special places for wildlife. Developing skills in hedgelaying, dry stone walling and scrub clearance, they have been developing safe ‘corridors’ for wildlife and great places for them to thrive. Lots more volunteer sessions are planned when access restrictions ease – sign up to our newsletter if you are interested.
Team Manager Tom Munro likes to think big when it comes to nature! Currently linking up with the National Association for AONBs, he is helping bring the Colchester Declaration to life, making plans to redress declines in species and habitats due to climate change. Closer to home, he is pleased the Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve has been recognised, now the largest area of lowland heath managed as a single nature reserve in England.
Sally King works to improve visitor management along the Jurassic Coast and supports Litter Free Dorset to help keep our beaches and countryside litter free. The current phase of lockdown has brought additional problems of littering and wildfires caused by barbecues – all a real danger to wildlife. Litter Free Dorset feel there’s lots that visitors can do to help take the pressure off nature during their days out.
I’m looking forward to getting our 60th anniversary celebrations up and running again when the dangers of coronavirus are over, with our Council of All Beings primary school project, 60th anniversary community fund and Talking Tent all looking to make proper Time for Nature!
Kate Townsend, our Project Support Officer, has come up with some great ideas what you can do from home:
Join in the Great British Wildflower Hunt to get to know the wild flowers that surround you every day, whether in town or the countryside.
If you have children, the National Trust have 50 fantastic things to do in your back garden or park
If you would like to keep in touch and get involved in any of our projects when we get back to ‘normal’, do contact the team for more information or sign up for our e-newsletter below.
Meantime, take care and stay safe
Sue Dampney, Culture Community & Learning, Dorset AONB Team