Team Wilder: One year on

This week, Team Wilder released a video to celebrate the fact that it’s been a year since we launched our Wilder Strategy with ambitious plans to get 1 in 4 people on nature’s side. In that time we’ve interacted with over 1,000 local residents and here we take a look back at what some of them have been up to!

It’s been a year since we launched our Wilder Strategy at our annual group meeting with plans to get more people on nature’s side, make more space for nature, and reduce our pressure on the environment. In order to achieve these goals, we created Team Wilder, an initiative focused on making space for nature in our homes, in communities, and schools. A year on, and Team Wilder is stronger than ever, despite the struggles and tragedies brought on by Covid-19. This week, we launched a Team Wilder video in celebration of how far we’ve come and all of our achievements.

Team Wilder Animation ©  HIWWT/Al Boardman

What's new with Team Wilder?

In September, we launched our gardening consultation service run by Wilder Gardens Champions. Our champions will phone people up, free of charge, and help them with their wilder projects in their gardens. We’ve helped eight people so far in making their homes a little wilder and have recruited 5 new Wilder Gardens champions since!

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As Team Wilder has been growing, we have realised that there's space for people to volunteer with us and bring their own unique skills to the table. We’re inviting anyone who has a particular passion or skill that they think would complement our work to join Team Wilder as an Inspiring People Champion.

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We’re so excited to welcome our first two Inspiring People Champions to Team Wilder this month; Georgina and Kate.

Georgina is a recent Zoology with Conservation graduate and wildlife enthusiast and is going to support our Wilder Schools. “I joined the Team Wilder initiative with the hope to create and be a part of a wildlife friendly community. My vision particularly focuses on helping local children feel connected to wildlife by providing them with information, skills and tasks they can do at home with their parents."

Kate lives with her family in Northern Hampshire and is going to help us tell and share Wilder stories. "I joined Team Wilder as I really wanted to do something positive to help my local wildlife and promote biodiversity.  I work in PR and Communications and hopefully I can use my skills to raise awareness of all the wilding activities that are taking part in our region and inspire others to take part.  It's only by more people taking an active interest in the natural world around them that we can create a better environment for everyone to live in - both humans and wildlife!"

In Portsmouth...

My Dog Sighs and Andy Ames standing in front of wall mural depicting a stick man carrying balloons that are actually functional bird boxes.

© Andy Ames

In Portsmouth this month, internationally renowned artist, My Dog Sighs painted a mural on the side of a building belonging to one of our Wilder Streets. The mural, titled ‘Wild Thing’ has five functional bird boxes and is such an innovative way of getting people to notice nature. 

In Southampton...

Friends of Peartree Green have continued to run small group events, in line with government guidelines. They’ve hosted two guided walks, looking at summer flowers and trees, and are running monthly litter picks. They’ll soon start their winter conservation tasks, cutting back scrub to keep paths clear and enhance wildlife habitats.  If you live in the area and would like regular updates, check out their Facebook page.

Recently Eco Eling met in person (all Covid secure and socially distanced) at the churchyard and planted spring bulbs to bring early colour and cheer but most importantly to provide that early nectar source for ours bees and pollinators. They've constructed a bug hotel (mansion) which is in situ for members of the public to help fill with sticks and cones etc that they find on their walks nearby. 

They have continued to meet regularly on Zoom and we’re working closely with our local councillors. They're looking to install sea bins in the quay and are encouraging ethical crabbing. In the new year, Eco Eling will be working with local schools and the wider community.

Friends of Peartree community groups

In Eastleigh...

A couple months ago, Nat told us all about a wildflower meadow he had planted at his college in Eastleigh. Now, the weather has turned and Nat says, "The wildflowers are pretty much coming to an end, but there is some remaining forage and it is still being visited by a few bumblebees, honey bees, and a beautiful carder bee. What is lovely to see is all the other wildlife that seems to have made it their home. When I conducted my last survey in September it was teeming with shield beetles, crickets, grasshoppers (both juvenile and adult), and many varieties of spiders, including the most stunning wasp spider.  My EPQ report is now finished and in addition, I  now have a scrapbook filled with amazing photos. I need to now research how best to tend the bank over the winter to ensure that it is as successful (if not more) next year."

Bare wildflower bank

© Nat Sergi

In the Test Valley...

Back in March, before lockdown a Wilder Group based in the Test Valley, A Greener Future for our Villages launched a “Grow Wilder” initiative to encourage local residents to participate in creating a local nature recovery network. It’s been seven months since the campaign was launched and the team are now in the midst of writing a report on its success. We look forward to hearing from them soon!

In Winchester...

In Alresford, members of New Leaf have been busy working with local and county level councillors to make permanent changes to the town. They’ve submitted a proposal to their local council to make Alresford a pesticide-free town, to open the recycling centre to pedestrians in order to limit vehicle congestion, and have selected three public sites in the area to plant trees.

In the height of lockdown, they delivered over 740 surplus plants when the garden centres were closed. They also distributed a few hundred bare root trees which were due to be discarded and were also instrumental in securing the Tetrapak recycling bins now in place at the Cattle Market car park in Winchester. They’ve also received the Mayor’s award for the creation of their website! Congratulations to New Leaf!

New Leaf Alresford Logo

© New Leaf Alresford

On a more personal note, I started working at The Wildlife Trust just over nine months ago now, and time has flown by so fast. I've been at the frontline of Team Wilder developments and to look back at where Team Wilder was in January and compare that with what individuals and groups are doing now is truly amazing. During lockdown, and even now, as I'm working from home, I sometimes feel demotivated. All I have to do is read my emails or scroll through the Team Wilder Facebook page and I know I'll see and be inspired by all of the fantastic work that our members are up to. It's such a joy to work with Team Wilder and I cannot wait for what the next year brings our way!

Wilder Future team walking into sunset

Inspired by the story you've read today?

Help us create a Wilder Future.

We’ve reached a point where our natural world is in critical condition and needs our help to put it into recovery.It’s not too late to bring our wildlife back, but we must act now.

Join #TeamWilder to create a #WilderFuture and take action for nature’s recovery today.

Act now.