As part of its ambitious rewilding programme the council is boosting local biodiversity by allowing some areas of council-owned grassland to grow longer before being cut. The 'rewilding champions' project will enable local residents to get involved in assessing the impact these changes are having, providing them with training and valuable skills as well as encouraging them to love their local spaces.
As well as longer grasslands, volunteers are also helping to plant trees across the area to provide further habitats, while also capturing carbon and providing shelter in public spaces. So far around 20,000 of a proposed 50,000 young trees have been planted which will result in 25 hectares of new woodland.
The lottery funded project will officially launch on Friday 20 August with an ‘Action for Insects’ event at Coniston Green, next to the For All Healthy Living Centre in Weston-super-Mare. Running from 10am to 3pm, the free event will be open to everyone of all ages and will be an opportunity to learn about some of our amazing insects, why we rely on them and what we can do locally to help them.
Many insect species, including many important pollinators, have suffered severe declines in recent decades. One significant study published in 2019 reported that more than 40 per cent of insect species are on their way to extinction. With much of our food supply reliant on insects, this is cause for real concern and is why efforts to boost biodiversity are so important.
Following next Friday's launch event, there will be an opportunity to get involved with some surveys on Saturday the 21st. Looking at bees, butterflies and other bugs, this will be the first of a series of survey sessions open to everyone. Training will be provided by Avon Wildlife Trust, so don’t worry if you don’t know your woodlice from your weevils!
"We’re really excited to be working with Avon Wildlife Trust to deliver these training sessions," said Cllr Mike Solomon, the council's executive member for neighbourhoods and community services. "Building on the fantastic support we’ve already had for rewilding from our local communities, this will be another great opportunity for local people to get involved and help shape the future landscape of North Somerset and address the climate and nature emergency we are currently facing."
Survey sessions for the ‘rewilding champions’ will be advertised via the wildlife trust’s website - www.avonwildlifetrust.org.uk. To find out more about how you can get involved email NSRewilding@avonwildlifetrust.org.uk to register your interest in the upcoming training and survey sessions including the first session on the 21st, or follow Twitter (www.twitter.com/avonwt) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/Avonwt/).
More information on North Somerset Council's rewilding project can be found on its website at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/rewilding or Facebook page Nature and Climate North Somerset, where you will also find information about other opportunities to get involved.