NBN Trust member, Felixstowe’s Community Nature Reserve, has been used by DEFRA as a case study as part of the Year of Green Action.
Felixstowe’s Community Nature Reserve encourages gardeners and allotment owners to allocate at least three square yards of their land for wildlife-friendly plants, ponds and insect lodges. As a consequence, it is developing a “community nature reserve”. This is composed of many pieces of private land, but between which insects, birds and other wildlife can fly and develop sustainable biodiversity.
Wildlife populations in Felixstowe were falling, and people wanted to help prevent this, but they simply didn’t know how. It also became clear that getting hold of a single plot of land for any kind of nature reserve project in the Felixstowe area would take too long and would be too complicated.
To make participation as simple as possible the team redefined what a nature reserve could be. Instead of it being one area of land, it was suggested to local people that each of them only had to allocate at least three square yards of their gardens and/or allotments for wildlife-friendly plants, ponds and insect lodges.
Spreading the word
Spreading the message via a Facebook Group, local magazines, community TV and radio interviews and local notice boards they soon received messages of support from 92 local people, saying they had bought and planted at least one of the plants. Today, over 1,300 local people are actively involved in this work.
In a few years from now, they hope to have 1,666 people involved, each having allocated at least three square yards of their gardens and/or allotments. The result will be a community nature reserve of 5,000 square yards – the size of a football pitch.
Find out more about the Felixstowe Community Nature Reserve.
In the Leicestershire village of Cosby, local people decided to copy this model to develop their own community nature reserves. This all really came about thanks to the internet, and Facebook in particular! So now, there is the Cosby Community Nature Reserve. The team at Felixstowe has also had several enquiries from people all over the UK and the rest of Europe, asking for the details of how they set themselves up, and how the initiative developed. Even window box owners are encouraged to take part, so no one is excluded from this real, community project.