Wildlife Trust launches fund to meet £2,000 a day costs

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SOMERSET Wildlife Trust are appealing for the public’s support to raise funds, as the organisation revealed that it costs around £2,000 a day to maintain the county’s reserves.

The wildlife trust has relaunched the Somerset Nature Reserves Fund, which was established last year to raise money to safeguard the county’s landscapes and wildlife.

Last year the fund was able to record enormous gains for wildlife across the county. The trust says it hopes that this year it will be able to do the same with the help and support of the wildlife lovers across South Somerset, who will donate this year.

Tim Youngs, director of land management, said: “In Somerset we are incredibly lucky to have some amazing habitats from internationally renowned wetlands, ancient woodland, species-rich grassland, and magnificent meadows, each requiring specific conservation programmes in order for the unique biodiversity to not only survive, but thrive.

“Our nature reserves within these special places are the bedrock upon which we are able to deliver critical conservation work and, to ensure these special places are kept healthy, an incredible amount of planning and resource is involved – our reserves cost nearly £2,000 a day to maintain, which is a significant outlay.

“And, as the seasons and weather change we have to continually adjust and fine-tune our work and habitat programmes, such as grazing management – with the failure to provide the necessary feeding and breeding grounds at certain times potentially having detrimental consequences for species the following year.

“Having extra funds not only means that we can continue with our practical conservation work on our reserves, but helps us to be prepared for what the future may hold. We will be able to respond faster and provide on the ground solutions when we are faced with unforeseen challenges – such as Ash dieback.”

South Somerset nature reserves that would benefit from extra help include Bickham Wood, Bishops Wood Meadows, Jan Hobbs Nature Reserve and Dommet Wood which surround Chard and Ilminster and West Coker Fen Nature Reserve between Crewkerne and Yeovil.

The fund last year supported some amazing results for wildlife and was critical in conserving habitats for populations of some of Somerset’s most charismatic wildlife, from Otters to Dormice.

Katie Arber, Somerset Wildlife Trust’s director of fundraising and marketing, added: “It is very clear from the response we received last year that Somerset Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves are held dear by many people. Somerset’s wildlife is part of what makes living, working and visiting the county so special.

“Our members and supporters have always been generous and we hope that they will give what they can again for what is a very important fundraising initiative for the trust.

“We also hope the wider public and local businesses who value their green spaces, and understand and appreciate their value in their lives, will support the fund and help us ensure Somerset remains a wildlife rich county.”

To donate to the cause visit https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/4645#/DonationDetails

Honiton, Ottery St Mary, Chard & Ilminster Reporter | After studying for his NCTJ in Bournemouth, Peter started with the paper in June 2015 on a freelance basis, now permanently based in East Devon covering community and council news.

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