The Isles of Scilly are a unique and beautiful wildlife haven. The climate, the isolation and simple island ways of life have allowed a remarkably rich natural mix of wildlife to develop. Scilly looks and feels like nowhere else and has enchanted visitors for centuries.
The marvellous natural balance we witness today has taken thousands of years to evolve and is both complex and fragile. The value of Scilly is recognised through a host of official designations - almost half the land areas are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the islands have been recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and coastline a heritage coast.
Despite these titles the wildlife of the islands is under threat - from pollution, overuse and neglect. It is not enough to set wild places aside - Scilly's wildlife actively conserved and the landscape managed if these pockets of paradise are to be protected from irreparable damage and preserved for future generations of residents and visitors.
The islands are changing - the wildlife and wild places of Scilly are under severe pressure and action needs to be taken now.
We have a fantastic opportunity to act on this. The Duchy of Cornwall has leased the coastal headlands, marginal farmland and uninhabited islands to the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust - 60% of the land in total (including intertidal areas) Our job is to mange all this land, to preserve and protect the wildlife of the islands and the sea and conserve or restore the landscape for the benefit and enjoyment of the public.
This is both a wonderful challenge and a heavy responsibility for a small charity. We have achieved a great deal through a dedicated group of staff and volunteers, and have established a solid base of local and visitor members, but have now reached a stage where we need more funding to stand a chance of delivering the sort of stewardship these magical island deserve.
Only 2,000 people live in Scilly - the local population can't provide the all the funds we need to support the work we are doing. If we are not able to carry on, and do more, Scilly will soon look and feel very different, and much of what makes the islands so rich and special will be lost forever. In a short space of time, footpaths would disappear and bracken and gorse would take over the landscape, destroying smaller plants plants and obliterating archaeological remains. Without active management and protection, habitats would be destroyed and the rarer birds and insects would be under threat of decline or extinction.
You can support the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust in many ways: become a member, give a donation, leave a legacy, if you are a business you can join our business supporters scheme, shop through our links and volunteer.