NATURE lovers in Northumberland have been urged to do their bit for wildlife.
Northumberland Wildlife Trust, which manages more than 60 reserves in the region, is calling on people to give as little as an hour a week to help protect their local patch.
This year marks the centenary of Charles Rothschild scouring the country looking for places worthy of protection that would lead to the founding of The Wildlife Trusts and shape conservation throughout the UK.
Now some 2,300 sites are protected and some in Northumberland are home to the rare butterflies, wildflowers, trees and streams originally surveyed and protected.
The local trust says they are vital as the building blocks to restore nature more widely, in both rural and urban areas, and as well as caring for wildlife on its own reserves, it works with landowners and farmers to create, restore and maintain habitats.
It also has a vision for Living Seas and carries out research to help protect dolphins, seals, corals and a range of fragile marine habitats.
However, the trust is eager for local people to also play their part and understand and protect their area.
Chief Executive Mike Pratt said: “In this region we work with business, schools, community groups and other environmental organisations to manage land for wildlife. With natural habitats shrinking, gardens and gardeners have an ever-increasing role to play in helping wildlife so please do your bit to protect your own little area.
“The weather is getting warmer, the nights are getting lighter so why not do your bit for the wildlife in your local area?
“One hour a week for each individual is all it takes to ensure that your neighbourhood will be a thriving haven for wildlife well into the future.”
Mr Pratt has also called for more support from the Government to re-establish habitats and help nature’s recovery.
Twelve Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) have recently been announced as pilots to create networks of habitats in rural and urban areas and help re-establish wildlife populations, but there is a gap in Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside and Mr Pratt is seeking a national extension of the scheme.
“Twelve Nature Improvement Areas are not enough,” he said. “English wildlife has suffered so much that the whole country should be an NIA.
“NIAs provide a real opportunity to begin the recovery of our natural environment, but the Government needs to fully commit to the concept and ensure that it reaches its full potential. I shall be working within the conservation movement to encourage the Government to include NIAs in the National Planning Policy Framework and to roll out the concept across the country.”
For more information about how to get involved, visit www.nwt.org.uk