Saturday, 16 February 2013

10 ways to be a wildlife warrior

My latest article published on Focusing on Wildlife...

Here is 10 ways to contribute to your native wildlife...

- Enthuse others - Make an effort to encourage other people to take an interest or increase their interest in the natural world. Whether you are watching Peregrines in the lake district with fell walkers passing by or you are watching a Kingfisher on a river tributary in an urban area with a passage of dog walkers, let them know what is on show and give them the choice to take an interest.

One wildlife encounter or an interesting fact can inspire someone for a lifetime...I am very fortunate to work with wildlife and people on the isle of Mull and enthusing passengers about wildlife is the most rewarding thing I have ever done

- Volunteer at a nature reserve - Helping out at your local nature reserve or conservation organization can be very rewarding in a number of ways. As well as contributing to the improvement of the habitat for your native wildlife you are in the great outdoors working with like minded people surrounded by wilderness. Meeting new people and learning new skills and knowledge.

Talking Plankton...Andy Tait has voluntry helped Sea Life Surveys on Mull for over 20 years working with the people and through his video media work...a true wildlife

 - Wildlife Tourism - Simply going to a location to see species is promoting wildlife through the value of tourism. Whether you are staying in accommodation, buying fuel or popping into an internet cafe to check the latest GWW updates you are contributing to an economy and when wildlife is related it is normally a rural area which is more greatly appreciated. Just remember to tell anyone that asks that your here for the wildlife!

- Join a conservation organization - Conservation organisations are reliant on the 'people power' factor with all their work made possible through generous donations by wildlife lovers. The organization RSPB was formed in 1889 through some passionate women who were disgusted by the trade in wild bird plumes as a fashion accessory in the late Victorian era. Those great ladies did so much for wildlife with the RSPB now with over a million members, continuing their vital work with such recent success stories like the re-introduction of Red Kites and WT eagle which were so heavily shot to national extinction in those dark days of the Victorian times. Join organizations like RSPB, Wildlife Trust, WWT and World Owl Trust

- Campaign Petitions - Sadly with the increasing  threat of wildlife and habitat in the 21st century means there is always conservation related petitions to sign. It has been proven in the past when large numbers come together and fight for the cause it makes a difference. The insanely proposed Buzzard cull in 2012 was quickly scrapped because of public outrage. Also the proposed ludicrous sale of public woodland in England was stopped in 2010 because of public voices of concern. So don't just shy away from them, get involved and make a difference.

- Write to your local MP - Similar to petition campaigns this is an opportunity to make your voice heard and let leaders know how you feel about the current state of wildlife affairs. You will feel great once you have done it and when you see a wildlife species you admire or a natural landscape that takes your breath away, you will be reminded about what you are fighting for.

- Photography - Seeing images of wildlife and their natural environment can be incredibly powerful. If you do wildlife photography and are wondering how to promote your images then how about starting by creating prints and offering to display them voluntarily in public places like doctors / dental surgery, public library, outdoor recreational stores, pubs and bars. Areas where a large number of people will be present meaning a greater audience appreciating your work and also increasing the chance to inspire people through the images. Giving them as gifts to people is another way to publicize your work and also promote wildlife. mounted and framed prints are cheap and affordable with canvas prints more expensive but can be more appealing. It is hugely rewarding to know other people take pleasure out of your work and a bonus to encourage other people to take an interest. You will feel great either way! 

Fulmar in flight - Wildlife images can drive a love for wildlife

- Social Media and Blogging - The internet is a very powerful tool, if used correctly you can get your message to a very large audience. One way is blogging all your wildlife encounters, stories and photography. The old fashioned way was to write it all in a diary and keep it to yourself but now you can share it with the world! Social media sites are an excellent way to promote your writing and blogging and also a great way to share your photography and target potential wildlife enthusiasts to your hundreds and if your very popular thousands of followers. 

- Eyes of the countryside - Whenever you are out in the field watching wildlife you are naturally helping to protect them by monitoring their safety and and if there is any possible intrusion of species. In terms of wildlife crime it does not stop day or night so being out in wild areas at any time can help save wildlife. If you encounter any suspicious human behavior don't approach them just contact the police and your local wildlife crime officer.

eyes of the wilderness...Andy Mcgreevy and Danny Naisbitt scanning for Eagles in Moidart

- Create a Wild Garden - A large percentage of the population are privileged to have their very own nature reserve to manage it in any way they want. Unfortunately a vast majority like to have a short tight pristine croquet lawn. A bit of length too the grass can promote wild flowers, invertebrates and small rodents so you can have Crickets instead of Croquet! Creating a pond can provide a whole new ecosystem that can support frogs, newts, toads, dragonfly nymphs and a whole host of aquatic invertebrates and plants. Added features like leaf litter and a log piles provide extra habitat, food and shelter for a huge array of animals. A self-made nest box taking up residence will give you a heart warming feeling. Of course providing habitat to species lower down in the chain encourages predators into the Frey as well so you might be lucky enough to get a species like a Sparrowhawk or a Tawny Owl hunting in your rich wild reserve. Now that's a garden to be proud of!

Ten ways you can start helping wildlife or improve your contribution...I know I will be striving to get better all the time.



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