1 August 2012

What YOU Can Do for Wildlife: Part 8

Our list of 12 amphibian and reptile inspired action is steadily growing - we hope you’ve found it useful and tried some of them out. This time, it’s another practical idea that can be applied to patches of land large or small!

Idea Number 8. Your Part of the Local Jigsaw Puzzle
Connecting habitats is crucial for wildlife

One of the most important things for wildlife is how habitats connect, or landscape scale conservation. Great example of this in action are the Hedgehog Street project, which encourages gardeners to think about how these prickly mammals can move from one area to another, and the ambitious Great Fen Project, reconnecting ancient fen areas.

If you think about it from the point of view of an amphibian or reptile trying to find the different things they need to survive, how would they get on in your neighbourhood? Frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards need a variety of things in their habitats – areas to forage for food, breed and hide away for the winter. Fences, roads and patios can dissect habitats; hedges, long grass, and train verges can link them together.

Here’s a quick overview of things that these animals need to help them thrive:

• Ponds
• Bog gardens and marshy areas
• Log piles and fallen trees
• Rockeries
• Compost heaps
• Long grass
• Woodlands
• Sunny banks
• Quiet, undisturbed areas

Areas with longer grass can provide safe areas for wildlife to hide and move
In your garden: Can animals get in and out?  Could you chat to your neighbours to make sure there are gaps under the fencing for wildlife to get through? If you can’t have a pond, could someone else on the street have one? There are more tips on our website here.

In your local green spaces and parks: How do the green spaces connect to your and other gardens? If you don’t have a garden, perhaps you could join a Friends of Group for the local park, or think about setting a group up. You could then look at how wildlife can access and use the area, and go for funding to make improvements. We have been working on a lot of green spaces through our Living Water projects, and you can find out more here.

On your land: If you’re a farmer or landowner, there are lots of ideas that can help wildlife including hedgerows, ponds, un-mown areas, and ditches. We have some really useful guides to famland ponds here and to land management for amphibians here.

Your local nature reserve: Every reserve also benefits from looking at how it can connect with other areas, and from volunteers to help with habitat work. You could also potentially go for funding to help develop green areas around nature reserves for biodiversity, by creating hedges or meadow areas.

As a Toad Patroller: Our amazing Toads on Roads volunteers help save thousands of toads desparate to get back to their breeding ponds every year.  If you know of a toad migration hot spot that is threatened by a road you can register it with us, and help by carrying toads across roads in buckets!  Find out more on our website here.

We'd love to know how you get on with any of our 12 actions for 2012.