Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is a charity based in Devizes, England which owns and manages 40 nature reserves in Wiltshire and Swindon. It is one of 46 Wildlife Trusts across the United Kingdom.
Involving local communities[edit | edit source]
The trust now owns and manages 40 nature reserves, including three farming operations. It also works to encourage Wiltshire's communities to live sustainable lifestyles that protect the environment, engaging the public on issues such as recycling. It is active in schools and community projects and it works with people experiencing mental health issues, using the environment as a tool to mental and physical well-being.
It issues a variety of publications including a members magazine, Wiltshire Wildlife. Its digital presence includes social networking, such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Working with Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council, it produces an annual State of Nature report. The report, first published in 2012 with the title State of the Environment, tracks the changing environment, highlights future issues and provides recommendations on a variety of topics affecting the county.
The trust undertakes a wide variety of projects to engage local residents with its work, and to develop an understanding and love for the natural environment. As of 2020, these activities include:
- Wild Landscapes – the team works to create green spaces for wildlife and people.
- Well-being focuses on helping people experiencing mental health issues such as stress and depression by using nature to promote well-being.
- Wild Connections enabling people of all ages to connect with nature
- Milestones connecting vulnerable and marginalised young people to their local environment by participating in practical conservation activities.
- Building Bridges supporting people across Swindon and Wiltshire by helping them develop skills, access education and move back into work.
- Lakeside Care Farm offering children, young people and adults with individual needs with meaningful education and work-based experiences.
- Waste Minimisation raises awareness of the issues of waste, and encourages people to reduce their rubbish.
- Through its Forest Schools workshops it gets local schoolchildren to engage with the environment.
- Protecting Wiltshire's Rivers: Wiltshire is home to a number of nationally and internationally important chalk streams, such as the Salisbury Avon. This programme operates the Wessex Chalk Streams Project which restores sections of the River Avon and its tributaries that have been affected by dredging and straightening. It recreates the natural course of the river, putting back meanders and riffles and creating habitats for threatened species such as European otter and European water vole. The Source to Sea and Wiltshire Invasive Species projects proactively seek out areas affected by invasive species, such as Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed, removing and disposing of these damaging non-native plants.
Wiltshire has a large military population and the trust runs community-based programmes that encourage military families to get outside and connect with nature and local residents. It is also working with the charity Help for Heroes, aiding injured service personnel to recover through carrying out conservation tasks at Tedworth House.