Ulster Wildlife’s ‘Let Nature In’ campaign, in partnership with Hughes Insurance, has reached an important milestone with 2217 households in Northern Ireland embracing wildlife-friendly activities in their outdoor spaces thus far. However, with a target of 5,000 households to reach, Ulster Wildlife is calling on more people across the province to open their hearts and homes to wildlife this winter.
Dawn Miskelly, Director of Development at Ulster Wildlife, says making a pledge to the ‘Let Nature In’ campaign can make a huge difference to declining species.
She explains, “According to the most recent State of Nature Report, published just a few weeks ago, one in nine species in Northern Ireland is now at risk of extinction including once common garden visitors. It’s a critical time for the province to recognise the protection that their gardens, terraces and other outdoor spaces can offer wildlife. As the summer season ends and the weather becomes a little cooler, many of us can provide hedgehogs with suitable spaces to hibernate and ensure garden birds have easy access to food.
“It’s really encouraging to see the level of support Northern Ireland has given our Let Nature In campaign so far this year, and we’re grateful to Hughes Insurance for its support. However, there’s more to be done so we hope more households will consider the positive impact they could have on wildlife and sign up to get us closer to our 5000 target. After all, every action counts, and we all have our part to play in protecting and restoring nature.”
Let Nature In
Households can pledge to ‘Let Nature In’ on the Ulster Wildlife website and receive ideas on easy and accessible ways to create wildlife-friendly environments in return. Of the 2217 households who have signed up thus far, County Down, County Antrim and Belfast are responsible for the most pledges made. Although, the campaign is now in its second year, Hughes Insurance came on board to boost Ulster Wildlife’s efforts in 2023 as part of their Action for Impact initiative – a £100,000 commitment to various charities and organisations that work to improve our communities and the local environment. More than 250 Hughes Insurance employees have also committed to delivering over 3,000 hours of volunteering across the province.
Bernie McHugh Sonner, Director of Operations and Customer Services at Hughes Insurance, said the financial and volunteering commitments are rooted in the business’s beliefs.
She explained, “At Hughes Insurance our partnerships with Ulster Wildlife, The Conservation Volunteers, Mary Peters Trust, and many more wonderful organisations, reflect our core values as a business. We take great care to act responsibly, put people first, and give our every effort to make things better. Action for Impact allows us to strengthen our commitment to our staff, the communities where our customers live, and support the environment on which we all depend.”
Katy Bell, Senior Conservation Officer at Ulster Wildlife, concluded with some ideas on how to protect wildlife over the coming weeks and months. She said: “Birds find it more challenging to find food during the colder months so replenishing a feeder every couple of days can be really helpful to their strength ahead of nesting season in the spring. Birds love to eat apples, pears, seeds and grains. They’ll also enjoy common household food scraps and leftovers like cooked pasta, cooked rice and boiled potatoes. Similarly fresh, clean water is essential so refilling a water bowl every day or two is important – remember that it can easily freeze if the temperatures drop.
“Of course, it’s not all about the birds. Hedgehogs, newts and frogs often find shelter in our gardens so it’s important to check for them before you rake up any leaves or twigs. By leaving any healthy hollow-stemmed plants unpruned until early spring you can provide winter homes for insects too. Even if you don’t have a garden, adopting a more sustainable approach in your day-to-day life can make a real difference to nature. For example, avoiding plastic packaging and unrecyclable wrapping paper can help reduce unnecessary waste which in turn reduces your impact on wildlife.”
To pledge to ‘Let Nature In’ visit www.ulsterwildlife.org/let-nature-in. For more information on Action for Impact visit hughesinsurance.co.uk.