We have had various surveys starting with the Great British Garden Bird Watch in January, then recently the Natural History Museum had a moth, bat and bee survey, and then there’s Natural England’s Wild Day Out at Your Local Wildlife Site .. where the public, especially the children, can see displays, meet the birds, small mammals, insects and reptiles and understand more of the world they inhabit – so many children believe meat, fish, fruit and vegetables come straight from the supermarket .. a pretty sad thought isn’t it?
Constable's "Dedham Vale" of 1828
The United Nations announced 2010 as the Year of Biodiversity – so around the world too we’re all being encouraged to learn more about our natural environment, urging us to protect as much as we can.
We can do so much in our gardens, our locality, when we are away on holiday .. and we need to remember that everything we do affects everything else in this life. The dust under our feet is swept to other localities or lands, across rivers and oceans; the pollution we spread will drift high into the air, or drip slowly through the earth into the waterways and seas.
We are being encouraged to provide links for wildlife, not just preserve pockets of a reserve here or there, odd meadows, splodges of woodlands, tiny copses, but to provide green corridors from one habitat to another. Rivers and canals, those trade highways of the past, can now be a ‘motorway’ wildlife haven .. river banks abounding with wild flowers, damp and boggy patches, feeder rivulets or bournes from the local catchment areas .. attracting birds, insects, amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates.
Tributaries (light blue) and major settlements on and near the River Severn (bold blue). (The country boundary in black, with the estuary and coastline marked out in bolder black)
Invertebrates - did you know this group includes 95% of all animal species – the other 5% include us, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and other mammals? This surprised me. We all know of this particular invertebrate that has been the subject of much research - the Drosophila Melanogaster – the common fruit fly.
This fly has an amazing name apart from being a model organism used in many scientific evolutionary studies because they are easy to take care of, breed quickly and lay many eggs ... in Greek its Linnaean name means .. “Dark-Bellied Dew Lover” – well I had to let you know?! I’m sure you, like me, will look upon the common fruit fly somewhat differently now?!
The Dark-Bellied Dew Lover .. the common fruit fly
Back to nature in balance .. we need to save not just nature reserves, but vast areas of the world in which a wild future is still possible ... conservation works – but only if we want it to. We humans are the dominant force – we can kill or we can cure.
Dedham Vale painted by John Constable in 1828 is a good example .. the landscape looks much as it did then .. the river is the key focus for the valley, its course defined by bank side trees and wet meadows. It supports a variety of riparian (river) habitats.
The valley and Stour River provide a functioning floodplain, good water quality with its water meadows and recreational use, whilst retaining an unspoilt character and healthy ecosystem for the native flora and fauna.
A common toad - bufo bufo - in its boggy habitat
The United Nation’s International Year of Biodiversity asks that through a global alliance, which has to be ratified by all countries, binding their citizens to join together, to protect life on earth – as biodiversity is life ... it is our life.
The global benefits are enormous .. we save species, that saves or creates jobs, people are protected and local economies are boosted alleviating poverty. Scientific studies are understanding the ways nature has adapted – bringing benefits to bear for us .. better insulation, better water repelling properties, medical advances; we are being reminded of the spiritual and cultural value of biodiversity at the heart of so many human societies.
We know so little of this wonderful world, this earth of ours .. only about 10% of life is known – it is estimated that another 90% remains to be discovered: however more species are disappearing every day, up to 130, which in terms of the natural extinction rate is 1,000 times higher – a frightening thought.
Cup Nest of a Common Blackbird
What can we do to protect and preserve, to help and conserve this natural biodiversity within our localities and at other times of our life when we are away or travelling? Remember everything interlinks .. we are one enormous system, sustained by many ecosystems, the welfare of humankind is dependent on the welfare of every known species, two million of them.
This web of life supports us – it nurtures us spiritually .. giving us peace in its tranquillity, its greatness, its power; earth feeds us with an enormous variety of fish, meat, game and crop life; the forests provide fuel and with mountains regulate our water supplies; while the oceans provide fish and help regulate the climate; while the air allows us to breathe and remain alive.
By working together locally – in our cities, towns and countryside we can make small differences and as we know, small ripples can lead to larger influences. Battle lines between conservationists and people have been going on for centuries .. but now we have one huge advantage we can communicate more easily – we can get our word across, through our actions, through our encouragement to preserve and protect.
The hedgehog, who hates being fenced in
Some ideas for conservation and bringing biodiversity back into our lives:
· Open up your garden, don’t wall it in ... so hedgehogs (above), who love snails, and small mammals can move around
· Plant hedging plants – native to your soils & let the leaves lie
· Leave some wild areas .. let the grass grow, plant wildflowers
· Make a pond, or create a damp spot – for dragon flies (left), damsel flies, frogs, toads and grass snakes
Dragon fly to the right
Honeysuckle - that nectar filled, scented plant
· Have a mixed and seasonal garden – different plants – bees like open heads allowing access to the nectar .. honeysuckle, clover, buddleia and lavender
· Specific plants attract specific insects – encouraging pollination; moths are vital prey for many bird and mammal species, including bats – they love buddleia, heather, sallow and
Watch the video to get the bigger picture: United Nations International Year of Biodiversity: video link; then play your part in as many ways as you can .... if we’re here to stay – we all need to play our part.
UN video: International Year of Biodiversity (it's 8 mins long - but well worth it)
Three of my posts that may be of interest:
The Great Garden Stink and what the Victorians did about it
The Green Corridors of the Iron Curtain
Sara of A Sharing Connection – may have a better grasp on my posts – as she paid me a wonderful compliment.... by writing a post about me – how wonderful is that?! About A Blogger: History is my Story – thank you so much Sara .. it really is appreciated!
Sara’s blog shares photos, stories, ideas and then often poses a question asking us to connect with the world around us .. it’s a fun blog with some serious points - appropriate for this post on biodiversity.
Hi Everyone .. Janice Hunter's blog - Sharing The Journey - and her latest post included a TED video (18 mins) - but it is so worth while watching .. this post is about natural diversity - the TED talk is about human resources/diversity .. using our passions: "human communities depend on a diversity of talent, not a singular conception of our ability ...". We need to feed our spirit, our energy or our passion .. not endure this life and its work. Please pop over (after you've left a comment!) and have a listen .. enjoy - it is thought provoking ...
Dear Mr Postman .. at last the weather seems to be warming up .. the south coast quite often has a cooling wind – sometimes it’s a blessing – in the hot years! My mother has been sleeping a great deal, but when she’s awake she can at least hear .. but now she has a sore throat & I hope that is a not a precursor. I hope she’ll enjoy some of Wimbledon with me.
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