Green Britain: John Ingham and Dale Vince discuss campaign
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With the chaos and confusion of lockdown life mostly behind us, Britons are being reminded just how valuable nature is. At the height of the pandemic, when movement was restricted and people were encouraged to stay home, leisurely strolls across the countryside felt like a well-earned respite for many. The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust is now encouraging people to carry on the tradition of countryside walks this September, with the added goal of raising funds for vital conservation work and research.
Towards this goal, the GWCT has launched the Walking for Wildlife campaign, which you and all of your loved ones can participate in.
According to Andrew Gilruth of the GWCT, there is nothing quite like the British countryside anywhere else in the world.
Not only is the land itself unique but it is a treasured habitat to many animals like deer, minks, owls and voles.
Mr Gilruth told Express.co.uk: “The difference between the UK’s countryside and any other beautiful place you see around the world, is our landscape is a worked landscape.
“Anywhere you go in the UK – it doesn’t matter if you go the most rural parts of Wales, or the Cotswolds, or the Lake District, or the Yorkshire Moors – every single time you stand there and look out it is a worked landscape.
“It is an intricate network of fields, hedges, walls, ditches.
“For thousands of years we have managed that landscape and it is incredible that we have harnessed being able to look after that landscape and having all the wildlife, and have houses to live in, and have jobs.
“I mean it’s just amazing. Otherwise, you just cover the whole thing in tarmac.”
The GWCT works closely with British farmers to help protect and restore animals on land that is cohabited with humans.
And you can play part in helping the GWCT by signing up for the Walking for Wildlife campaign.
The campaign is free to join and you can get everyone involved, from the oldest to youngest members of your family.
To sign up, simply click on this link.
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Pick any day in September and figure out a route and distance you would like to walk.
You could, for example, go on a pleasant two-mile trek with your dog or a longer journey into the wilderness with your friends.
You then set a fundraising target you want to accomplish and encourage friends and family to donate.
Whatever you chose to do, Mr Gilruth said any donation of any size will make a big difference.
Donations as small as £7, for example, will help the GWCT place a temperature logger in a Lapwing’s nest.
A £25 donation will help the conservation trust buy a red squirrel feeder at the GWCT’s demonstration farm in Scotland.
And a donation up to the tune of £176 will help purchase a trail camera that will serve the GWCT for years in tracking Lapwing, Curlew and other threatened species of bird.
The British countryside and its diverse wildlife are unique and deserve to be protected, campaigners believe.
Particularly in the wake of the Covid pandemic when many people were driven away from the bustling city life to the quaint appeal of the countryside.
Mr Gilruth added: “That’s a very British thing to do, isn’t it? That we’ve actually got landscapes where we’ve got people with jobs, communities living in them, and people creating livelihood in our landscape.
“And that’s why I don’t know of any other countries where we’ve got national parks where that happens.
“Other nations have national parks where people are basically kept out.
“But our landscapes are true working landscapes with people in them doing things, making money, growing crops, growing timber, looking after the rivers.
“In every single field, every place, someone’s looking after it.”
The campaign to protect the countryside is particularly important now as the world wakes up to the dangers posed by climate change.
The Government has pledged to invest in a greener, cleaner future by 2050 and everyone up and down the country can do their bit to help.
From the phasing out of gas boilers to the transition to renewable energy, the UK is on track to lead the global green revolution.
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