Great Garden Give makes link between wildlife gardening at home and conservation overseas SEARCH NEWS

Miranda Stevenson in her garden.

Miranda Stevenson, Trustee of World Land Trust (WLT) is happy to support Great Garden Give because it makes the link between what we can all do for wildlife in our gardens with the Trust’s overseas conservation work.

Great Garden Give is WLT’s summer fundraising campaign and the idea behind it is simple. It involves making a donation to save an area of threatened habitat that’s the same size as your garden.

“Great Garden Give is a wonderful idea because it links back garden nature reserves with the conservation work that World Land Trust carries out overseas,” said Miranda, who has measured her own garden and donated £15 for her 570 square metres.

She said: “We can all do our bit for wildlife at home but, by supporting World Land Trust, we can also do our bit for wildlife overseas. By donating to World Land Trust, you know that you are helping to protect the world’s remaining wilderness areas and thus doing your little bit for conserving the planet’s wild places and species for the future.”

Back garden conservation

A former chief executive of the British & Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums, Miranda has created a miniature wildlife reserve in her garden in rural Hampshire.

She has cameras inside two of her next boxes which have given her an insight into the private lives of sparrows. Some years ago a pair of House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) evicted the resident pair, killed the chicks and proceeded to rear two broods of their own.

“Wildlife adventures in the garden are better than a TV soap opera, any day,” she jokes.

“We can all do our bit for wildlife at home but, by supporting World Land Trust, we can also do our bit for wildlife overseas.”
Miranda Stevenson, WLT Trustee

A garden pond enhances the wildlife value of our private reserves and Miranda’s pond is no exception.

“We’ve had frogs and Palmate Newts (Lissotriton helveticus) in the pond for years, but this year toads spawned there for the first time – great excitement! Now that it’s sunny, dragonflies are emerging and establishing their territories,” she told us.

WLT’s website often reports on discoveries of rare species in overseas reserves supported by WLT, but Great Garden Give encourages us to celebrate the exciting invertebrates and plants in our own gardens.

In recent months we’ve reported on exciting magnolia discoveries in Mexico’s Sierra Gorda and a beautiful blue spreadwing damselfly – Lestes pictus – recorded for the first time at Reserva Ecológica de Guapi Assu (REGUA) in Brazil

Miranda told us: “My husband, Chris, has moth records going back for 12 years now but still makes new finds; last week it was a Large Tabby (Aglossa pinguinalis), which is rare in this part of England.”

Her garden is full of herbs which attract many insects and she has a ‘tropical patch’ with exotics that need careful tending through the winters.

For Miranda the work that it takes to maintain her garden is more than rewarded by the plant and animal life it supports. Likewise, the conservation success of World Land Trust is underpinned by hard work both in this country and overseas where WLT’s conservation partners manage reserves created with support from WLT.

She explains: “Putting the case for conservation, raising funds and managing projects, this all takes hard work. But when we see World Land Trust’s success – species saved from extinction, millions of acres of habitats protected and a global network of nature reserves and conservation partners – then we know it has been worth every ounce of effort.”

How does your garden measure up?

You can measure your garden in metres or strides – even just an estimate will do. At just 2.5p per square metre, most people in the UK can afford to become a Great Garden Giver.

Check out our online calculator to help you work out the donation you’d need to make to save an area of tropical forest that’s the same size as your garden.

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