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Do One Thing for wildlife

How to help wildlife in Gateshead and beyond

Be inspired ... by Gateshead's wildlife sites
Gateshead Council cares for over 20 country parks, nature reserves and wildlife sites. These woodlands, wetlands and wildflower meadows are packed with wildlife. 
Take your children, friends and family to explore these places for free - get away from the stresses and strains of modern life, look out for wildlife and enjoy your visit!

Visit our countryside and wildlife events page for more information.

Become a Gateshead Volunteer Countryside Ranger
If you are 18 or over and would like to get stuck into really making a difference for wildlife in Gateshead while learning new skills, meeting new people and hopefully having a worthwhile and enjoyable time join our volunteers

Become a Friend of the Red Kites 
Visit the the Friends of Red Kites (FoRK) website.

Support a wildlife charity
In Gateshead this could include Durham Wildlife Trust which is our local wildlife trust and which manages several wildlife reserves in the area.

Depending on your interest you could also join one of the UK's many specialist conservation charities such as Plantlife UK  Butterfly Conservation  Bat Conservation Trust... the list is endless.

Survey your patch
Choose a favourite spot in your local area and try to identify all the plants and animals you see there. Record your findings at the Great North Museum's Environmental Records Information Centre Great North Museum's Environmental Records Information Centre. 

You can get help with identifying anything in nature on the Open University's  iSpot website.

More information on getting involved in wildlife surveys visit the BBC Springwatch website

Spot the first signs of Spring ... and Autumn
And send your records to the Woodland Trust's Nature Calendar.

When people first started recording the signs of 'nature's calendar' or phenology, no one knew just how useful this information was going to be, but this information is proving invaluable in monitoring the possible effects of climate change.

Join a community nature conservation group
Join your local conservation group like The Friends of Watergate Forest Park, the Clara Vale Conservation Group or the Friends of Windy Nook Nature Park

We love our pets but they can have significant effects on wildlife. To reduce these impacts it would be helpful for cats to be fitted with a bell and kept indoors at night if possible. When visiting nature reserves with dogs if possible they should be kept on a lead during bird nesting between 1 March and 31 July.

Learn more about wildlife - and pass it the next generation
Learn all you can about wildlife and inspire a life long appreciation in your children and grandchildren in wildlife by

  • joining national schemes like Wildlife Watch or the Woodland Trust's Nature Detectives.
  • lobbying your school, playgroup, youth club, Scouts for example, to get involved in and learning about wildlife and nature conservation both inside and outside the classroom

Being an ethical consumer

In May 2019 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity reported that across the world one million species were at risk of extinction due to the activities of humans. Biodiversity loss across the world is related to many factors but in particular species over-exploitation and habitat damage and loss arising from industrialisation, development and agricultural intensification.

We can make a contribution to preventing global biodiversity losses but this may require significant lifestyle choices on our part for example by reducing our carbon footprint, being considerate about where we holiday, thinking about how our food is grown and not wasting it, reducing the chance of plastics entering the seas and avoiding other products associated with wholesale rainforest destruction including the use of Palm Oil.

When buying anything sourced from the natural world, think if it is from a sustainable source. This is particularly the case with anything sourced from the marine environment. For sustainable caught fish visit the Marine Stewardship Council website.

Avoid tropical hardwoods and look out instead for salvaged wood were possible. For any furniture and timber used in the home at least insure that it is sourced from managed forests by looking for the Forest Stewardship Council  logo.

The back-yard nature reserve - wildlife gardening at home

There are 15 million gardens in the UK these make up an area greater then all the nature reserves put together so together can have a positive impact on wildlife conservation.

Plant a tree.... or a shrub, or a climber in a tub
Trees in gardens help wildlife by providing food and shelter. But anything you can do in your back yard or local area, to increase the number of different habitats found (for example longer grass, compost heaps, boggy areas, wetlands) or to improve the different heights or structures of plants in your garden (such as mature trees, shrubs, climbers, tall and shorter plants) will help wildlife.

Bare rooted native trees, as small whips, can be bought very inexpensively from a north east wholesale tree nursery for winter planting. Good suitable smaller native trees include species like hawthorn, rowan, crab apple and hazel. The Woodland Trust provides free trees to schools and community groups. For more information visit their website.

Feed (and water) the birds
Grow trees, shrubs and flowers which provide seeds and berries for birds to feed on. In winter dig over an area of bare ground to help birds like robins look for insects.

When it comes to putting food out for the birds - this is now encouraged all year around. Birds certainly need a lot of energy when they are caring for their young. Once you start feeding the birds, don't stop as they will come to depend on you.

Birds also need water for drinking and bathing, especially in winter if ponds are frozen - something similar to an old bin lid makes an ideal bird bath.

Butterflies and Bugs
Help insects by providing food - nectar and pollen (flowers) for as long as possible in the year. This means growing flowers like crocus and aubrieta in early spring right through to plants like sedums flowering in late autumn. Simple, old cottage garden plants which are easy for insect to get into are better sources of nectar then more complex highly bred flowers.

Leave a pile of rotting logs for insects to live on. Put piles of leaves and stones under your hedge and leave an area of grass a little longer. This does not just help insects to live and survive winter but other animals like voles and possibly hedgehogs and amphibians.

Build a nestbox
Visit the RSPB website for advice about nestboxes.

Ban peat
Commercial peat extraction has damaged fragile, wild habitats and releases large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere so buy peat-free compost, or make your own.

Go organic in the garden
Pesticides or biocides do what they say on the tin, they kill things so try to consider other methods of control like hand weeding.
A garden with more varied habitats and native plants is perhaps less likely to suffer from pests.

Building a pond
One of the most significant things you can do to encourage wildlife into your garden (if it is safe to do so) is to build a small pond. Make sure you have a shallow end where amphibians can easily exit and leave an area of long grass. And don't add ornamental fish (or ducks) or they will eat your mini-beasts!

Contact us

Natural Environment Projects
Communities and Environment

Built and Natural Environment
Development, Transport and Public Protection,
Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, NE8 1HH.

0191 433 3443







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