Guest blog by Ruby Free, Campaigning Communications Officer
June and July has some of the longest and warmest days of the year and with climate change accelerating global temperatures, your local wildlife may need a helping hand.
Over the last few months, RSPB NI Youth Campaigners have been taking small but impactful actions in their outdoor spaces to help local wildlife. We’ve pulled these together along with some top tips to inspire you to support nature in your area this summer because everyone’s small actions, collectively, make a huge difference! James McConnell and Niamh Oddy have been feeding and watering the wildlife in their garden, they even have a regular pine martin visitor called ‘Marty'
Niamh: “James and I feed and water the wildlife in our garden regularly. We spent ages last weekend cleaning and filling all our various bird feeders with a variety of foods to see if we can diversify our visitors. It’s a small thing to do that helps, and we’ve definitely seen more wildlife in the area since we started doing it This includes all sorts of songbirds, buzzards and a pine martin which we’ve named Marty!”
If you feel inspired by James and Niamh, why not follow in their footsteps and provide water for wildlife.
Climate change is causing longer periods of dry weather. These longer stints of heat are becoming more frequent and can make life harder for wildlife. However, you can help by creating a small pond or by providing a shallow dish of water with pebbles; these can be a life saver for bumblebees, birds and mammals. Alternatively, why not create a small log, leaf and rock pile. Damp environments like these attract invertebrates, which in turn, provide snacks for birds and small mammals. or Turn your garden into a wildlife B&B
It doesn't matter if you have a small garden or even a window ledge, you can give birds a home and provide them with some food too! Why not build or put up a bird box to encourage birds to nest, rest and shelter from the elements. You can also leave different types of food out for different species. Birds' diets vary and some birds heavily rely on bugs and berries while for others it will be nuts and seeds. Check out some of our advice of what to feed birds and when here : Bird Food for Wild Garden Birds - RSPB Shop
Craig Holmes has been nature friendly gardening
Craig: “I’ve been planting wildlife-friendly flower species in the space that I have available and so can you - whether that is your garden, an allotment or even just a windowsill, you can always grow something! I try to plant native, pollen-rich and perennial flowers such as poppies, dahlias or cornflowers.
I also try to grow a range of fruits, vegetables and beans at staggered times to enable me to harvest for a long period throughout the year. I grow with an organic, no-dig approach so I avoid any chemicals that are harmful to wildlife and myself, whilst building organic matter into the soil and establish better soil structure through continually building dense root networks.
I now enjoy seeing all kinds of birds, insects and invertebrates for longer throughout the year. As perennials stay in the ground all year, I'm also seeing more soil biodiversity such as beetles and worms.”
If you’ve been inspired by Craig, why not add some colour to your local patch!
If you’re a keen gardener and like to grow food, selecting fruit and vegetables that support wildlife can improve biodiversity in your area massively. Growing fruit and vegetables that flower such as strawberries and sweet peas not only benefit you but wildlife.
Let areas of your grass grow and see what wildflowers appear like red and white clover and self-heal. Grow plants with long taproots like knapweed so they don’t wilt quickly in dry spells, providing ongoing support for wildlife. Planting herbs like thyme and lavender are really easy ways to help pollinators, they also look and smell beautiful too. Dakota Reid has also been making her garden nature friendly and records and shares her finds!
Dakota: “I think that providing habitat is the most important thing! Native tree and hedge planting and letting native wildflowers grow rather than mowing a lawn are some of the easiest ways that you can do this. Building a pond and providing other water sources will also attract a range of wildlife to your garden.
Seeing how I am making a difference for nature on my own doorstep helps me feel less hopeless in the face of the climate and biodiversity crises. It also just brings me so much joy to watch, photograph and learn about the amazing diversity of species I've found in my garden.”
If you are inspired by Dakota, why not get others to take action for nature!
Sharing the species you see in your space can encourage others to create space for wildlife in their gardens. Help us and encourage those around you fall in love with nature so we can better protect it because individually we are drops but together, we are an ocean! Why not share pictures of your local nature finds on social media and tag RSPB NI.
Recording what you see can help conservation organisations understand what is found where, what is in decline and what is changing where it lives and how it behaves because of the climate crisis. Let us know on social media what you’re doing to protect wildlife in your area, and what species your seeing as a result.
If you would like some more tips on how you can help give nature a home in your garden, visit - Nature On Your Doorstep - The RSPB Community
If you would like to find out more about the Youth Campaigners and their work and to apply, visit - Campaigner (Youth Campaigner, Northern Ireland) | RSPB Volunteering
If you have questions about what you can do to help the nature in your area we are here to help, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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