Rewilding our personal greenspaces

If Ann Chapman could do one thing to protect North East nature, it would be to encourage everyone to provide space for nature at home.

I often feel helpless when I see the loss of green space in the North East region, years of constant house building, roadworks and other concrete developments. In recent years the rate of such change in my local area has been vast and there’s no going back. Petitions, objections and letters to my MP to influence all of this hasn’t made much difference but yes I’ve done them all. 

What helps me though is to focus on what I can do. Even rewilding my own garden makes me feel I am giving something back to nature. I’ve stopped mowing my lawn so I get lots of wildflowers which has increased the number of moths, butterflies and bees that visit. I didn’t need to plant any of these wildflowers because they were already there. Even frogs and hedgehogs seem to prefer the long grass. I have bird feeders, a hedgehog house and a pond which is the thing that attracts the most wildlife. Shrubs with berries as well as the neighbours’ apple tree mean I get lots of Winter migrant birds feeding in my garden. I have a compost bin so my vegetable and garden waste doesn’t go to landfill and it makes free compost for my garden. 

If others just did one of those things: stopped being so tidy in the garden, didn’t dig up grass and replace it with a plastic lawn and didn’t use chemicals it would be a huge benefit to wildlife. Growing flowers and planting shrubs and trees is so rewarding. Even a few pots can make a difference. 

When I talk to people when out on a walk everyone seems to enjoy being in the open air with access to nature. Having this outlet helps humans as well as wildlife and we need it now more than ever. We must preserve the green spaces we have but we need more. More trees, letting the grass grow, growing wildflowers in verges, creating more hedgerows. All of these things can be done in a semi-urban environment. 

Rewilding is beneficial in so many ways but the most important reason to do it is to help the climate and the environment. We will certainly all gain from that. 

Ann Chapman
Local naturalist

Ann lives in Wallsend. She retired from work after an illness and likes to spend her time in the garden, photographing gardens and wildlife, and travelling in the UK.

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