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Life's most persistent and urgent question is:  what are you doing for others?
Martin Luther King Jr 

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Category: Conservation - Get involved and join in

  1. African Parks reporting from 2017

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    African Parks is responsible for the rehabilitation and long term management of national parks and protected areas.

    They do this in partnership with governments and local communities, and the goal is to make teach park ecologically, socially and financially sustainable in the long term.

    And at the end of 2017, they were responsible for managing 14 protected areas in 9 countries (it’s now 15).   The areas spanned 40,540 square miles covering 7 of the 11 ecological biomes on the continent.  They have a large counter-poaching force with 1,000 rangers and over 5,000 staff across the parks.

    They are undertaking various active management interventions:

    • Extreme species translocations and reintroductions
    • Providing security to create safer spaces for humans and wildlife
    • Ensuring that local people benefit

    Where security has been restored and governance established, they’ve seen the rise of civility and a better way of life has returned. 

    There is tremendous momentum to make this rehabilitation happen and to continue to build on successes that African Parks has so far achieved.  

    Founded in 2000, it’s a non-profit conservation organisation.

    Their Annual Report for 2017 Restoration:  Nature’s Return highlights:

    • The Chinko team achieved success on the ground keeping 10,000km2 free of cattle and giving wildlife a chance to return
    • 39 elephants were collared in one of the largest elephant collaring exercises in Africa, giving them better protection from armed poachers
    • The successful reintroduction of 18 black rhinos from South Africa to the Akagera Park in Rwanda, 10 years after they had locally become extinct.   7 years were spent making the park safe and reducing poaching to an all time low.  Singing children lined the route between Kigali and Akagera to celebrate their return.
    • The park received 37,000 tourists for the year, making it 75% self-sustaining
    • In August, 520 elephants were translocated from the Liwonde National Park and the Majete Wildlife Reserve to the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.  Tourism is on the rise here, and back in Liwonde the human-wildlife conflict has dropped dramatically as a result
    • A long term agreement was signed with the Government of Benin for the Penjari National Park, the largest remaining intact ecosystem in all of West Africa, and a stronghold for the critically endangered West African lion and African elephant
    • In December, African Parks signed a 25 management agreement with the Government of Mozambique to manage the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, the first marine reserve in its portfolio
    • And HRH Prince Harry joined African Parks as their President.

    African Parks’ model for its protected area management

    1. Law enforcement for the long term sustainability of the parks
    2. Biodiversity conservation, with active management of the wildlife and their habitats
    3. Community development – the process of building constituencies for conservation through economic development
    4. Tourism and enterprise – well managed parks contribute directly to the local and national economy
    5. Management and infrastructure – essential for governance and effective park management

    African Parks goal is to manage 20 African parks by 2020.    You can be a part of this journey and give your support.   

    Sign up for African Parks’ newsletter

    Donate to African Parks 

  2. Snow Leopard Trust says thank you

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    The Snow Leopard Trust works to protect this endangered cat through community-based conservation projects

    The Snow Leopard Trust works to protect this endangered cat through community-based conservation projects.

    The Snow Leopard Trust have dedicated 1 May 2018 as a Spot-tacular!   It’s an online day to thanking its supporters and recognising them as an integral part of their team.

    To celebrate, they are sharing their annual Impact Report

    The support the Trust’s supporters have provided have meant that…..

    There’s more information here but it’s great to hear from a charity of the impact support has. 

    Visit the Snow Leopard Trust’s website to see how you can make a difference to these magnificent animals here.

    Spring into Action

    The Snow Leopard Trust  is currently working to raise $60,000 to expand their programmes and they are running appeals for a couple of projects:

    One to support wildlife rangers - Help equip and pay two rangers who patrol the Shamshy Wildlife Sanctuary in Kyrgyzstan to prevent illegal hunting and monitor wildlife populations

    Counting the cats – they are looking to come up with a solid estimate of the snow leopard population in Himachal Pradesh, one of five Indian states which have snow leopards

    Adopt a Snow LeopardAdopt a Snow Leopard



  3. National Gardening Week - I love my garden!

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    It’s National Gardening Week this week (April 30th to May 6th 2018).

    This year, the theme of this annual event is to encourage gardeners to share their love of gardening, so I thought I’d share with you why I love it.

    There’s an awful lot that’s been written about the physical and mental benefits of gardening, so I thought I would tell you why I find it beneficial and why I love it.   I know gardening does me good.  I love being out there, digging, weeding, planting, planning, watering – it gives me a peace and it’s doing nature good at the same time.

    So here are the benefits I’ve enjoyed from my love of gardens and gardening…

    1. Gardening and a love of gardens helps you connect to people.   Give me a garden centre over a shopping centre any day.  At a garden centre, you can swiftly get chatting and comparing notes over the cucumber plants or the rose bushes.   You can compare failures, successes, things that have worked for you, things that haven’t worked for you. 
    2. You don’t have to travel anywhere to get what you need for your garden.  You can just do everything from home.  There’s an enormous number of online retailers who will happily deliver to you - though of course there are delivery costs.  

    3. You can get lost in a new world with gardening magazines which give me great joy – there’s nothing like leafing through pages of a magazine and jotting down ideas of things to try.   You don’t need acres and acres of garden, either.  A few square feet will do. 

    4. You can enjoy the pleasure of watching things you’ve planted grow.  I’ve stuck in a blueberry bush – it’s a dwarf one and it’s gone into a pot.  It’s started to flower and I’m looking forward to tucking into the blueberries. (To be honest, I’m amazed when anything I plant grows…. I’m a “plant and hope they come up” gardener.)

    5. Grow your own fruit and veg and salads, and you’ll have food you can enjoy from home – and there’s nothing like it!   My grandfather in Wales used to do this and I loved the mint from his garden, the peas, the potatoes etc.   My little sister and I spent many a happy hour with him outside, “helping”, and it was a great way to do something together

    6. You can enjoy the winter months planning for next year – looking through pictures of beautiful gardens can lift the spirits.  Even in the depths of winter, you know spring is on the way and you can look out for signs – the first primrose, a bluebell, a daffodil, a snowdrop…(not necessarily in that order).  You can plan to try out different things and move plants, pots, and so on around.  If it doesn’t work in one spot, it may work in another.
    7. Bring your garden indoors with house plants!  Plus you can enjoy lots of things with a garden theme to cheer up a home – pictures, mugs, household items – check out Emma Bridgewater who has an amazing range of mugs with a garden theme for the home.

      Emma Bridgewater has a wonderful range of mugs etc for the home
      Emma Bridgewater has a wonderful range of mugs etc for the home
      This is Purple Pansy

    8. It’s a great way to work off frustration and stress.   Plants and flowers are gentle – they don’t argue back (unless you’re trying to pull them out of the ground and they’ve been there a long time)…..
    9. You can create your own wildlife haven – and then sit back and enjoy watching the birds, butterflies, bees, and more visit and tuck in!  You could end up with your own nature show!

    10. You can really get into it as an interest, going on courses, reading books and magazines, attending gardening shows and events.   You can get as involved as you want. 
    11. I feel refreshed from being in the garden – tired, yes, of course sometimes.   But I feel refreshed and as though I’ve had a real break from the digital world, the TV etc.

    12. I love to take a mug of hot coffee out, and indulge in it while I’m gardening;  and because I’m burning calories (more than I would be if I were sitting down watching TV), that slice of cake tastes all the better afterwards – it’s well deserved!
    13. Gardening can bring people together as can be seen through campaigns such as Britain in Bloom, run by the RHS; who are also running a campaign Greening Grey Britain in the RHS is trying to turn Britain from being in grey concrete to green grass and flowers, plants and trees.

    14. You can enliven your senses with the result – every sense can enjoy the garden, from the sights of birds enjoying a bird bath, the sound of buzzing bees, the taste of the food you’ve grown, the feel of different sorts of leaves, the scent of flowers.   It makes you feel alive. 
    15. Garden gift vouchers.  They are fantastic gifts for anyone who loves their gardens.  It’s another excuse to trot off to the garden centre and have a pleasant few hours browsing, contemplating, chatting (see no 1 above), enjoying the café if there is one, and shopping. 
    16. My garden makes me feel happy.  Gardening makes me feel happy.  I love listening to and watching the wildlife because it’s their home too. 
    17. You don’t need a large space to help wildlife.  In fact, you don’t need a garden at all.  You can get window feeders for the birds. 

      Garden Wildlife Direct have a range of window feeders
      Garden Wildlife Direct have a range of window feeders

    18. You can take part in surveys and really feel you’re doing something to make a difference.  The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, the Great British Bee Count, the Big Butterfly Count, surveys of amphibians and reptiles – they all make a difference.  
    19. You can indulge in bird watching and identifying – there are lots of resources available and online to help you.  Get the children involved – they love wildlife and it gives them a great feel good factor to know which bird is which. 

      You can buy the RSPB's Children's Guide to Birdwatching from Foyles
      You can buy the RSPB's Children's Guide to Birdwatching from Foyles

    20. Last year, I made it my goal to turn my garden into a wildlife friendly one.  Now, if it isn’t wildlife friendly, it doesn’t go in.   And the results are starting to show.  And that makes me feel very happy as well.  And the feel good factor I have really lasts.  I feel joy in my heart every time I think of it! 

    So there you are.  My 20 reasons why I love gardening and being in the garden.  I haven’t even touched on the physical and mental benefits of it yet!   


  4. 2,000 aluminium cans enable 40 trees to be planted!

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    There’s been a great effort in the Channel Island of Jersey by students at one of the schools there, Victoria College.

    The boys there have been collecting aluminium cans – 2,000 in all – for the Durrell Cans for Corridors initiative.   The 2,000 aluminium cans have provided enough for 40 trees to be planted!

    The scheme was set up in Jersey in 2002 and was supposed to run for a year but it's been so successful, it was continued. 

    The Cans for Corrridors project was founded back in 2002.  The aim was to help restore the natural habitat of endangered animals, as it had been destroyed by deforestation. 

    The money raised from recycling 50 cans means that the project can plant one tree in a tree corridor in Brazil!

    Durrell aims to restore, expand and link previously destroyed habitats. 

    Since the collection point at Durrell’s wildlife park was installed, islanders in Jersey have put over 1 million cans into it. 

    Aluminium is used over other materials because it is the most cost-effective reclaimable metal.   Recycling it is 90% more efficient than mining the raw material, according to Durrell.   And a recycled can will be back on supermarket shelves in approximately 2 months

    Even if you don’t live in Jersey, you can collect cans and other recyclable aluminium products.  There are a number of aluminium recycling centres around the UK and you can find your nearest and whether they can collect your cans. even have a can crusher you can buy to make recycling easier.  The funds raised can then be sent to Durrell, marked ‘Cans for Corridors’. 

    There’s a poster you can download to raise awareness of the scheme for Durrell.

    If you’re a charity, find out how you can recycle and raise funds