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Green Actions

Nature in the community

Redefining a nature reserve.

A wild and lush garden centered around a pond

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, we are developing a "community nature reserve" composed of many pieces of private land, but between which insects, birds and other wildlife can fly and develop sustainable biodiversity.

Most people understood that wildlife populations in Felixstowe were falling, and they wanted to help, 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 we 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 message via a Facebook Group, local magazines, community TV and radio interviews and local notice boards we soon received messages of support from 92 local people, saying they had bought and planted at least one of the plants. Today, we have over 1,300 local people actively involved in our work.

A group of children and adults pose for the camera in a woodland setting

In a few years from now, we 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.

In the Leicestershire village of Cosby, local people decided to copy our model to develop their own community nature reserves – all thanks to the internet, and Facebook in particular! So now, there is the Cosby Community Nature Reserve. We've also had several enquiries from people all over the UK and the rest of Europe, asking about the details of how we set ourselves up, and how the initiative has developed. Even window box owners are encouraged to take part! After all, they can grow herbs, crocus, snow drops and much else. So no one is excluded.

Find out more about the Felixstowe Community Nature Reserve here.

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