Help look after nature at your workplace

Cowslips at Cambourne - Ian Scaife

Nature needs us now more than ever - and that can mean companies getting involved in helping wildlife as well as individuals...

As a child growing up in the West Country, I have wonderful memories of playing in wildflower meadows with the heady scent of cowslips and the loud buzz of insects. This may be nostalgia creeping in, my mind playing tricks with me. However, meadows brimming with wildflowers and insects are certainly much scarcer in the UK than they once were. Moreover, we’ve seen many recent headlines about how insects and pollinators are now in steep decline across the globe. 

Throughout my career, I have been very fortunate to spend considerable amounts of time in some amazing places in tropical landscapes. The fauna and flora there was incredible. However, it was the insects that really blew me away. The sheer variation and diversity was astounding; flies with eyes on stalks, moths the size of my hand, not to mention the sheer beauty of the butterflies, flies, wasps and beetles.  

There are still thousands of insect species that are being discovered that are new to science. During my work at Kibale Forest in Uganda, I was deeply honoured to have a new species of wasp named after me. Ok, so I know that wasps aren’t everyone’s favourite, but to me this brought home just how much we’re still learning and finding out about our natural environment. There is so much that we still don’t know about these tropical ecosystems and the complex ecological interactions which are now under increasing pressure due to the drivers of land use and climate change.

Elephant hawkmoth

Elephant hawkmoth by Margaret Holland

Working to protect our local wildlife

I’m now working for the Wildlife Trust BCN and continue to be amazed by the diversity of species, particularly insects, as well as the wonderful landscapes, locally. Whilst tropical forests and wetlands gain a lot of attention in the press, we shouldn’t forget the vital role that habitats across the UK play in play in providing essential habitats for wildlife.

We’re blessed in our counties with an incredible diversity of nature reserves which are being managed and restored for biodiversity and for the benefit of people. With your help, we're creating a wilder Bedfordshire, Cambirdgeshire and Northamptonshire for a Wilder Future for all of us.

Local companies can help make a difference

But these reserves on their own are not enough. We work with many other partners to ensure that wildlife is considered across our whole landscape, working together to create Living Landscapes and a nature recovery network. There are many ways that all of us can help, and one big way is by encouraging companies to do what they can for nature on their own sites and/or in partnership with our Trust, helping us to create those vital connections between habitats to aid nature's recovery.

"We’ve seen how companies and universities across our region can make a big difference for wildlife."

We work with a diverse range of organisations such as The Jordans Ryvita Company Ltd  who work with farmers to enhance biodiversity on their farms; Vine House Farm who help farmland and garden birds; local companies, Opticron and Scudamore’s Punting Company who help us raise awareness about bat conservation; and a number of multinationals including ARM and Prologis UK Ltd.

We’ve seen how companies and universities across our region can make a big difference for wildlife. Action taken can be as simple as putting up bird boxes or window boxes, all the way through to establishing a wildlife pond or wildflower meadows, or maintaining a large chunk of land with wildlife in mind. Initiatives such as these are vital for wildlife, particularly in urban settings, and help to create a nature recovery network of suitable habitat for our UK and migratory species.

Could your company join us and help make a difference, too?

Wildflowers in bloom at Cranfield University

Cranfield University, Winner of the Best Wildlife Garden category 2018

Wildlife Gardening at Work Awards

One of the ways in which we help companies do as much as they can for wildlife is through our annual Wildlife Gardening at Work Awards scheme. These Awards encourage and recognise companies and their employees who make a difference for wildlife.

Last year, Cranfield University, Downing College, University of Cambridge and Kier scooped the Awards and we’re excited to see who will be the winners this year. We even have a special category for 2019, kindly sponsored by Granta Park, for the staff on their site to engage and inspire them with wildlife photography.  

Engaging with nature in the workplace doesn't need to mean a huge expanse of habitat creation. Wildflower window boxes, bird feeders and bug hotels are all small-scale things that your company can do that can have a big impact on wildlife - and on the health and wellbeing of your workforce.

Nature needs us now more than ever

This brings me back to those wildflower meadows of my childhood….  Nature really needs your help now more than ever. So do get in touch with me if you want to find out more about how you could benefit from a relationship with the Wildlife Trust to make a difference.

Email me Sue.Barnard@wildlifebcn.org or call 01954 713500

Nature Recovery Network

Wildlife Gardening at Work Awards

Our 2019 Awards are open for entries - and you don't have to be a member to take part

How to enter

WildNet - Adam Cormack

Other ways to help

Wild Work Days

An unusual and cost-effective alternative for a team away day, giving employees the opportunity to make a real difference to wild places in the local community.

Find out more

Matthew Roberts

Join us

Corporate Membership

Find out how to join

Stonechat on heather - Ben Hall/2020VISION