An introductory blog from our new Conservation Manager, Simon Tonkin, on secondment to Conservation Grade from the RSPB….

Simon TonkinWhen I was just nine years old I found a beautiful bird, not tumbling over some idyllic rural scene, but in the centre of Plymouth on a roundabout surrounded by passing cars and thundering trucks. Utilising the ‘Book of the Countryside’ might not have seemed the most logical choice for me to identify this electric green, black and white stunner but it was clear from the tiny illustrations this was a Lapwing. It was marvellous….no… it was wondrous! A splash of amazing colour in an otherwise monochrome landscape.

Since then I have had a life long love affair with the natural world and its marvels such as tumbling Lapwings, Skylarks in full belting song-flight, bee and butterfly filled meadows and gazing in utter reverence at a Bee-orchid.

What are your memories of the natural world around us? Are they similar?

Here is the reality though; our memories won’t be the same for our children, they’ll be less enhanced… almost like going from full colour HD television back to simply black and white sets. Just imagine if all you had to do to turn your now black and white television back to full colour HD was to nip down the supermarket and buy some smart gizmo that sorts it all out – you’d be there buying it this very evening! Wouldn’t you?

I’m sorry to have to say this, but things are getting worse, a lot worse for our wildlife at home and abroad. It’s changing quickly, and you and I together need to do something about that before its too late. I suppose by reading this you might not even care about this issue? Do you really? Enough to take direct action?

Lapwing at the nest - June 2006So what if you don’t see any more of those tumbling Lapwings, hear the buzzing of insects and the thrilling song of the Skylark – who really cares? You really should, here is a little insight why you should; if we don’t do anything our world will become poorer, it’ll get ever more sterilised and baron and the functions of eco-systems that we currently benefit from but take for granted will be gone forever and we will struggle to replace them. Liken that to being stuck on the same boring TV station, on the same boring programme, in poor quality black and white forever!

Although it’s more than that, much more, an importance you can’t really quantify, like that sunny summers day isn’t going to be full of bird song and buzzing insects, it’s going to be quieter and quieter….so your TV has now lost its sound too! Yet all it needs is that gizmo and you haven’t bought it yet.

If you do care (and I’m guessing you do because you got this far!) Nature desperately needs you to do something. All you need to fix that metaphorical TV is buy that little gizmo, but your little gizmo on its own won’t fix it forever, the whole street needs to get one, the whole town, county, country…

Combine and wildflower habitatThe dominance of agriculture across the world and its effects on natural habitats as well as the wildlife that inhabits farmland makes it a sector of pivotal importance for wildlife. If you, like myself, love wildlife and are serious about making a difference for it, then you’ll need to come with me on a journey. Please follow me! I, we, Nature needs you!

Where are we going?… Down to a farm, perhaps to the woods, or even to a rainforest?

I’m afraid nowhere nearly as exciting, we are going to the supermarket! But we could influence all of those habitats, protect, restore and enhance them by what we buy. How do you do that ? You need to buy that gizmo, buy Fair to Nature Conservation Grade, because it’s the gizmo that make a real difference. Targeted wildlife measures using biodiversity farming based on peer-reviewed research tend to do that, those memories I’m having now are filled with Conservation Grade habitats and their benefits.

So fix your television! Buy a (Fair to Nature Conservation Grade) gizmo to fix it!

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