Thank you for taking the time to read this and to consider our proposal to create a nature reserve where the emphasis will be on restoring and enhancing habitats whilst sequestering carbon into the soil. If you are able to help us, together we can take steps to improve our environment through areas of protected habitat that link together to create something special.
The industrialisation of farming and land management during the 20th century has been devastating for the wildlife which used to live alongside humans and, in many cases, benefited from our activities. Species-rich grassland, previously managed as permanent hay meadows and by seasonal grazing was drained, ploughed up and replanted with vigorous strains of grass which out-compete the wildflowers. Hedges were grubbed out and chemicals applied to the land to increase yields at the cost of biodiversity. Draining and ploughing causes carbon to be lost from the soil and causes loss of the soil itself; soil which had taken thousands of years to accumulate. Species of plants and animals which relied on the habitats provided by wet land, tussocky grasses, hedges and long vegetation have been reduced to tiny and fragmented populations - a shadow of their former selves. Invertebrates that were an integral part of the food-chain and vital components of the ecosystem have been lost through the destruction of their habitats and the widespread use of pesticides.
We can never fully recover all of the habitats that we used to have. Some species are lost forever and others will never return to the numbers that were once in existence. We can, however, act to preserve areas of sensitive habitat and in doing so, protect some endangered species and return their numbers to a healthy and sustainable population. The world is waking up to the fact that preserving and restoring the ecosystems in which we live is not just sentimentalism, it is a matter of survival for the human race. People are recognising that the complex interactions between species of flora, fauna and fungi are essential in maintaining an environment in which humans can thrive. Approaches to farming and land management are starting to take sustainability into account. If we act now to preserve habitats and save species where we can, there is hope that species which are currently struggling to survive will be able to spread out into a recovering landscape of healthy habitats and thrive again.
We are taking a leap of faith by establishing a charity to acquire land to create a nature reserve, so that with your help we can take some steps to assist in the recovery of the environment. We realise that it’s going to be a lot of hard work to get this off the ground and to maintain, but we think that the overall result will be well worth while.
We’ve spent the last 15 years preserving habitats at Bulworthy Project and hold a gold award from Devon Wildlife Trust for preserving and enhancing Devon’s wildlife and natural environment. When we bought the land in 2006, it was a neglected piece of land where the environment had never been of interest to the previous owners, now it is an array of flourishing habitats. There are 5 trustees on the board of the charity including ourselves. Two are experienced ecologists: Tom Parsons worked on Culm grassland-related projects with Devon Wildlife Trust for four years; Pete Etheridge runs his own business carrying out the practical land management and providing advice for landowners. The remaining trustee, Nicola Channon, has had a varied career at senior levels as a manager in the services, education and local government. She has also worked with a number of charities in different sectors. Combined with our experience setting up and running Bulworthy Project and restoring and preserving habitats on our land, we are in a great position to make a success of creating a nature reserve which is an exemplar of biodiversity and abundance.
Anyone who donates to the charity will become a friend of Bulworthy Trust, which means that they will receive updates on our progress and be invited to a guided tour of the land that the trust acquires to see our plans and progress in person.
The official object of the charity is to promote the conservation of the physical and natural environment by promoting biological diversity and carbon sequestration. This will be undertaken in particular but not exclusively by acquiring land in the parish of Rackenford and the surrounding area, managing this land in such a way as to create, restore and protect habitats and increase carbon sequestration, and by raising awareness of the importance of this work.
All funds raised will be used for this work.
We’re putting in £10,000 of our own money, which we’d originally saved up to put towards some land for ourselves. We’re also going to leave our land including the house and cabin that we built to the charity in our wills to ensure the preservation of habitats here and provide a long term income for the charity. The more money that we can raise, the more good we can do in preserving and enhancing habitats. Your donation to this crowdfunder really will make a difference. A £25 donation would buy at least 10 square meters of land. That 10 square meters could contain the burrow that water voles live in or be the nesting site for an endangered bird like the willow tit. Importantly, by combining our efforts and resources, we can assist the recovery of the natural environment and create a space where wildlife can thrive. Please donate as much as you can and let others know about this crowdfunder so that the can have the opportunity to be part of this effort to restore the environment for future generations of humans, other animals, plants and fungi.
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