A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to be asked to do a presentation at the Launch Event of The State of Nature in Oxfordshire 2017.
We decided that rather than doing a presentation on the day that I would make a film in advance, that way I could put in some film clips of wildlife that I had taken on my local patch to show people how wonderful Oxfordshire’s wildlife is and also I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to take the afternoon off school.
The launch took place on 21st March at Blenheim Palace, with the first speaker being Professor David MacDonald, Director of WildCRU. Professor MacDonald spoke about how research in to wildlife is only the beginning, it is the partnerships between the researchers, landowners, farmers, volunteers and conservation management that will make a positive outcome for nature.
It was interesting to hear that a lot of Oxfordshire’s countryside is farmland and we have little actual ‘wild’ spaces.
The next speaker was Graham Scholey, technical adviser for the Environment agency.
Then followed the film I had made for the event. Big thanks to my sister for filming me.
The next two speakers were Martin Layer, the Planning and Estates Manager for Smiths Bletchington and Dr Judy Webb. Both spoke about nature reserves that I knew little or nothing about. Which made me think that if someone like me who regularly visits local nature reserves and seeks out wildlife hadn’t heard of these reserves then how do we promote nature reserves to the general public.
Perhaps that is an idea for future blogs – to visit all the nature reserves in Oxfordshire and blog about them.
Emma Marsh, regional directer for the RSPB, spoke last and summed up the general gist of the report.
The report not only outlines the loses and the gains in Oxfordshire’s biodiversity but also a call to action plan that involves the following key points
- Urgently create larger and more connected high quality habitats
- Find financially viable ways to help farmers manage land to benefit nature.
- Improve practical support for communities
- Ensure better planning for blue and green infrastructure
- Put sustainable development that invests in nature at the heart of local decision-making
- Increase access to green space and volunteering
- Develop more collaborations within our strong and diverse sector
- Continue to improve the methodology for monitoring the state of nature.
The few points that I picked up on during the event was that Nature, Politics and Money are all interlinked, fragmentation is a huge problem and sadly, like other conferences I have been to, the under 25’s are under represented.
It was a real privilege to be involved in the launch and my final words from the film are:
I would like to see much more education on nature in schools. How can we care about something we know nothing about and therefore have no connection to?
I would like to see all MP’s of every party pledge for the Environment and overall no matter whether you are an individual or head of a multi million pound company, an MP or a planning officer I would like to ask you to have a little more consideration for nature.
We only get one chance at this; hopefully it is not too late to change the State of Nature to a positive.
You can read the full report at http://www.wildoxfordshire.org.uk/stateofnature/