Looking for ideas of how you can help Nature thrive? See how these individuals in Northern Ireland are tackling this at their homes and in their communities in small and big ways, that are all benefitting Nature.
The following 10 individuals are doing a heroic job to help nature thrive. We hope their stories will inspire you.
I used the forest expansion scheme to plant 24,000 native trees. I also created 2 new ponds to encourage wildlife and sowed a new wildflower meadow.
I have used old kids paddling pools to create 2 wildlife ponds. I dug a hole, fitted the punctured paddling pools, and let them fill naturally with rainwater. The pond supports frogs, dragonflies, and ferns. All of this in the middle of a housing estate!
Aine and her son John have been participating in the I Can Grow Project at Acorn Farm. They have embraced growing together; reusing old wiring and containers to nurture their very own fruit and vegetables and taking great care of the seeds in the raised bed. John really loves checking on the veg and watering the plants and I’ve enjoyed getting some tips from the horticulturalist which I’ve passed onto friends. It’s lovely being able to lift something from your back garden and bring it into the kitchen to cook for dinner.
During the first lockdown I took on an allotment with my mother and my 2 boys aged 3 and 5 as we did not have a garden. Along with fruit and vegetables we decided as a family to make a wild flower garden due to the reduction of Bees and Butterflies to the Larne Area with the bad weather in May.
I’ve taught my 4 year old the importance of nature’s creatures. We give them safe warm places to live in the garden undisturbed. We have a bat colony and we also have hedgehogs, pheasants etc. We had two injured animals this year. We rescued a bat from a cat and took it to the NI bat association. It will be returned in spring to its colony, The hedgehog had been a victim of a dog attack so we took it to the rehabilitation centre. Both survived, the hedgehog will have to remain in the rehab centre.
I grew this sunflower to over 10ft high. I have others that are around the 9ft. I also do litter picking in my home town of Castlerock which has been very busy this summer.
I grow flowers every year to encourage bees and butterflies. This year I grew my first wild flowers. As a result, the bees and butterflies that visit my garden have multiplied this year. I also grow lavender, fragranced roses and sweet pea.
For my daughter Katie’s technology class – during remote learning – the class were given the task of making bird feeders. The feeder was made up of old plastic screw top jars, wire coat hanger and old paintbrushes. So simple to make and we loved watching the birds visit it for feeding.
My boys have been making bird boxes and making their own bird feeders to attract different species into the garden. We hope to have a pair of doves nesting next year.
I created 2 wildlife ponds (a shallower one and a deeper one) all planted with native plants.
I also started an apiary with 3 hives and 2 nucs of native Irish black bees. To help the bees, I planted 40 pollinator friendly native trees and 10 fruit trees. I created an area with lots of different native wildflowers, which I’m currently harvesting the seed from and sharing with other people.
Four years ago we moved to our forever home in the country. The house we bought came with three acres of unused land and, ever since moving in, we have been taking steps to allow nature to thrive in our area. We understand the importance of teaching the next generation to care for and love their planet and have loved every minute of getting our two toddlers involved in as much outdoor life as possible. One of the first steps we took was planting native hedging around our three acre boundary to allow wildlife to flourish. We then developed this theme further by planting a heritage apple orchard, as well as pear and plum trees within the garden area. This year we have finally been rewarded with the fruits of our labours! Having definitely caught the grow-your-own bug, we bought a greenhouse, and also cultivated our own allotment, growing strawberries, raspberries, courgette, beans, peas, carrot, beets, brassicas and onions (to name just a few!) This year we also added a few raised beds for cut flowers, to attract insects, encourage pollination and harvest for family and friends to enjoy too. Last year we welcomed three chickens to the family (great for eggs and manure for the veg beds!!) and this spring we added to that again by gaining two bee hives! We spent last winter taking the bee keeping course and have risen to the challenge of planting as many bee friendly plants as possible. It has been such fun to see our own bees enjoying the flowers we have grown from seed. This year we planted a woodland of 500 native species of tree, including Oak, hazel and Scotts pine – the trees were planted around the same time as our son was born so it will be fun to watch them grow with him. We dug a small pond in the middle of the woodland area to encourage even more wildlife to take up residence there. Our plans for next year include extending the allotment and purchasing a polytunnel. Our daughter (almost three) has decided we also need to build a bug hotel.
© MyNI 2021