Nationwide wildlife garden competition launched
The greenest of green-fingered gardeners now have the opportunity to help create the UK’s largest nature reserve, with the launch of the ‘Big Wildlife Garden’ (BWG) competition.
The competition is being run across the UK by The Wildlife Trusts and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and follows a commitment in the Government’s recently published Natural Environment White Paper, or ‘White Paper for Nature’.
The Big Wildlife Garden competition encourages everyone to get stuck in to wildlife gardening on their doorstep. Anyone is eligible to take part – including individuals, communities, businesses and schools – and no space is too small to be transformed; be it a window box, school playing field or retail park in a town, city or in the countryside. There are six categories and entry is free via the BWG website.
It is hoped that, through celebrating some of the best wildlife gardens in the UK, the competition will inspire everyone to take action and turn their gardens into wildlife havens.
The Cheshire Wildlife Trust has been running its own Wildlife Friendly Gardening Scheme since 2009, and last year gave out more than 70 awards across the region to families, schools and local community organisations such as Girl Guiding groups.
The local charity has also showcased wildlife-friendly gardening methods at the annual RHS Tatton Park Flower Show including its popular ‘bug hotel’, which became one of the most photographed exhibits in 2010.
Launching the competition, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, said:
“No matter how big or small, every garden is a home for wildlife, and this competition gives gardeners the chance to be recognised for what their hard work has achieved, inspiring others to do what they can to make their gardens more wildlife-friendly. Ultimately, gardening for nature can create not just a local home for wildlife, it can help to connect habitats together from our neighbourhoods to our national parks.”
Sue Tatman, gardening expert from the Cheshire Wildlife Trust said:
“With more than 200 of our own Wildlife Friendly Garden Awards given out since we launched the project in Cheshire, it’s clear that local people value taking the rights steps to bring wildlife into their back yard. To now have a national competition with the support of the RHS to recognise the very best in gardening for wildlife is an additional boost to those schools, families and community groups that are already making a difference.
“We hope that everyone who has a Cheshire Wildlife Trust award will now go on to aim for a Big Wildlife Garden award too.”
You can find more than a dozen factsheets of wildlife gardening top-tips on Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s website at www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk
The Big Wildlife Garden competition is open until Sunday 20 May 2012. Prizes include a wildlife gardening masterclass at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, where the prize-giving ceremony will take place, along with membership of The Wildlife Trusts and the Royal Horticultural Society.
To find out more and to register visit the BWG website www.bigwildlifegarden.org.uk
The competition is supported with funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Photo left – Wildlife Gardening – (C)Adam Cormack
Photo Right – Robin on a spade – (C)Jon Hawkins
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