Help us make space for nature

As people across the globe are called upon to re-examine our relationship with Mother Nature, we can be sure of one thing – “our solutions are in nature”.  Despite the vast technological advances of recent years, we remain completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our health, water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy, to name but a few.  The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly reinforced the importance of solidarity and of communities across the world working together to ‘build back better’ to support a healthier future in harmony with nature.

But how best to achieve this?  We’re sticking to the good old fashioned but heavily accurate phrase, ‘think global, act local’.  The future of the natural world depends not on a few people doing things perfectly, but on many of us making small changes which will add up to a big difference!

Here on Scilly we have a few handy hints on changes you can make to help keep Scilly special and make space for nature.

Grow Wild and Free!

Take part in #NoMowMay, plant bee-friendly plants and let your trees and hedges grow wild and free!  This will help the birds, the bees and biodiversity to flourish.  Trimming in January and February makes you a wildlife hero because:

  • It reduces disturbance to legally protected birds and bats;
  • Doing so allows the availability of berries and nuts for feeding birds and wildlife for as long as possible during the tough winter months, as most trees will have finished flowering and seeding by January and February;
  • You will be helping encourage an array of different habitat and species to thrive;
  • Well managed hedgerows, hedge banks and verges help prevent soil erosion, create shelter for livestock and protect flower farmers’ crops;
  • Maintaining verges in this manner supports their function as pollinator corridors which work to enhance biodiversity.

 Combined_Hedgerows_Leaflet_For_Website.pdf

 

Boating and Watersports

Recreational boating is now permitted once more on Scilly and it’s certainly true that being out on the open water gives a sense of freedom that is hard to beat, but please do take consideration for the wildlife that call our waters home.  We are incredibly lucky to be able to see Atlantic grey seals, Manx shearwater, puffins, dolphins and more in the waters surrounding our island home, so here’s some pointers on how to make your wildlife watching experience enjoyable for both you and the animals:

  1. Keep your distance – at least 50m is best but even more if possible. If seals look at you, or birds are craning their heads, flapping their wings and becoming incredibly vocal, you are too close.
  2. Keep a low paddle angle and avoid steering directly towards wildlife.
  3. Spend no more than 15 minutes observing wildlife, keep noise, speed and engine levels down and back away slowly and quietly when leaving.
  4. Stay low and downwind – just as you may not always appreciate the smell of our fishy friends, they too can be startled by your scent and cause injury to themselves as they try to escape.
  5. If wildlife approaches your vessel and chooses to bowride, maintain a steady speed and course.

 

 

What A Pal-over!

The lovely Ringed Plover from last year have returned once again to the hustle and bustle of inhabited island life on St Mary’s, and though they have apparently missed the memo on the quieter available beaches of the off-islands we want to try and do everything we can to assist them in being successful this year.  Last year in 2019 was the first time in 10 years Ringed Plover had nested on Scilly, so their return once again this year to Porth Hellick is brilliant news!

To protect their privacy and ensure they aren’t disturbed our lovely rangers have fenced off the nest.  Please respect the plover’s space and don’t encroach beyond this boundary.  These little shore birds lay their eggs in the sand so they can be easily trampled, but trust us – google Ringed plover chick…you’ll see why we’re so keen for these little lovelies to be successful this season!

 

These are just a few handy hints on how to help Scilly’s special species.  For more ideas on how to help wildlife in your area, head over to: wildlifetrusts.org.uk/actions