WWT Castle Espie calls on NI nature lovers to make a big splash for wildlife

From drainpipe wetlands to bogs in backyards, WWT Castle Espie is encouraging everyone in Northern Ireland to make a big splash for nature by building nature-rich mini-wetlands where they live, no matter how small or how built up the area. The charity is also calling for Northern Ireland residents to sign WWT’s Wetlands Can! pledge calling for more wetlands across the UK.

Wetlands protect us from drought, boost wellbeing, clean our water, and protect communities from flooding. However, 75% have been lost in the UK and precious wetland wildlife like common frog and swifts are in serious trouble – this needs to change.

By building mini-wetlands, like ponds, rain gardens and drainpipe wetlands, in gardens, backyards and communities, we will give nature the biggest boost possible because freshwater wetlands support more life per square kilometre than any other type of habitat.

Recent YouGov* research conducted by WWT revealed people are keen to help, with over half (52%) of the UK population currently gardening to attract more wildlife. However, in Northern Ireland 30% of the general population are missing out on one of the single most effective ways to help nature because they feel they don’t have enough space to create a small wetland like a pond, whilst 38% said they were discouraged by potential costs.

With a creative approach, even the smallest spaces can be used to provide a haven for wildlife. To help as many people as possible create mini-wetlands, WWT has created a series of guides and how-to videos showing how anyone, for less than £20, can upcycle an old washing up bowl or pot, add pond plants, and have a mini-wetland with the potential to attract frogs, dragonflies and even bats to a garden or balcony.

Encourage friends and neighbours to get involved too. Wildlife doesn’t just need healthy habitats to live. They also have to be able to move between habitats to feed, breed or find new territories. Together we can create vital mini-wetland wildlife corridors in your communities to help nature where it struggles most.

For more inspiration, Castle Espie is holding pond dipping sessions every other Wednesday. Hourly sessions run from 11am, 12pm, 2pm and 3pm, across the summer holidays (spaces are limited and booking is advised) to encourage people find out more about the insects, animals and birds that benefit from having a water source nearby, while also providing visitors with expert advice on how to make their own mini wetland at home.

Paul Stewart, Centre Manager at WWT Castle Espie, said:
“Nature needs all the help we can provide at the moment and one of the best ways of helping at home is by creating a mini-wetland. Wetlands support more life than any other habitat on earth and it’s something we can all get involved in. People automatically think that means they need a big space to create a pond but there are so many options for small areas, like buckets and balcony ponds, that can be so beneficial for countless species, from beetles through to birds. And not only is it great for the species you help, having your own wetland also provides a fascinating insight into a world we don’t often see. At WWT Castle Espie we have lots of experts, advice and events to support visitors to make their own mini wetlands. Make sure you plan a visit to find out more!”

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