New partnership to champion garden wetlands

WWT and the National Garden Scheme has announced a new partnership aimed at promoting a wider understanding of the importance of wetlands in nature and in our gardens.

Wetlands are the most biodiverse habitat on earth, supporting 40% of all species while covering only 6% of the earth’s surface. Although commonly associated with large expanses of water such as lakes or marshes, wetlands can include any body of water like a river, a stream – or a simple garden pond.

WWT is campaigning to increase the number of healthy wetlands across the UK by 100,000 hectares to help fight the climate, nature and wellbeing crisis. The Wetlands Can! campaign includes asking supporters to do their bit for their neighbourhood by building ponds or mini-wetlands in their back gardens or other local spaces, as well as sign a pledge to support wetlands.

Commenting on the partnership, Chief Operating Officer of WWT, Kevin Peberdy said: “Lots of our small wetlands have disappeared; 50% of ponds were lost in the UK in the twentieth century and we continue to lose more. As urbanisation has increased, our blue space has decreased and our wetland species are in trouble.

“But mini wetlands can help tempt wildlife back and make your neighbourhood more biodiverse.

“Not only that but building even just a simple pond can help reduce flooding: in towns and cities, rain washes off buildings and straight into the drains, which can overwhelm drainage netwoarks. Diverting your water into a wetland can make a difference if everyone does it.

“This is why we are so thrilled to be working in partnership with the National Garden Scheme to help encourage garden owners and visitors to appreciate the importance of wetlands to the health and biodiversity of our gardens and the wider landscape.”

National Garden Scheme CEO, George Plumptre said: “The majority of the 3,500 gardens that open for the National Garden Scheme across England and Wales feature water as part of their design. Historically water has been a key feature in garden design from the contemplative nature of water in Japanese and Chinese gardens to the highly engineered extravagances of Renaissance palaces and great country houses.

“Whatever its form, water is vital for gardens and the wildlife they attract. It is our hope that this partnership with WWT will help highlight and promote the benefits that wetlands, wet spaces and water brings and that together we can encourage more people to create and experience wetlands.”

Among the thousands of gardens that the National Garden Scheme opens in over half, water forms a significant part of or focus of their design. From small wildlife ponds and features to water on a grander scale, view a selection.

“Great gardens, water features and wetlands – whatever their size - are key ingredients in what makes this country so special,” adds George Plumptre. “And owners of gardens – great and small – can play a significant role in protecting this important heritage and the wider environment by creating and experiencing wetlands.”

The partnership includes a dedicated hub on the National Garden Scheme website that links the two charities and shares inspiring and thought-provoking content aimed at raising awareness of the importance of water and wetlands.

Join WWT’s Head of Experience Development Simon Rose for the first online talk of the partnership on Tuesday 15th February at 7pm, looking at the practical ways that you can bring water and wildlife into your garden. Proceeds will be shared between WWT and the National Garden Scheme. Further events and webinars will be announced throughout the partnership. Find out more information about the talk.