The unsung heroes of conservation are being celebrated by a new website, Working for Wildlife, launched by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT). The website profiles what the GWCT calls ‘Working Conservationists’: farmers and land managers across the UK who have made a long-term commitment to manage their land for the benefit of wildlife. The website also invites supporters to sign a pledge supporting the GWCT’s demand for a more positive approach to conservation, which empowers those working on the land and embraces the views of local communities.
Since its beginning in 1932 the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust has championed the idea of ‘Working Conservation’. The Trust’s scientific research was inspired by wanting to find practical solutions to reversing the decline of farmland biodiversity. It recognised early on that success depended on developing measures that fitted into farming regimes.
“It’s common to think of nature reserves when thinking of wildlife but, in fact, the majority of our wildlife lives on farmland, moorland, in woodland and in rivers outside nature reserves,” says Dr Roger Draycott, who advises farmers and land managers on behalf of the GWCT. “While the growing demand for food production has impacted on wildlife”, continues Roger, “there are lots of examples across the UK of local wildlife recovery where nature is thriving thanks to the efforts of the farmers and land managers who work in the countryside – but these successes often go unrecognised. The aim of the Working for Wildlife website is to highlight and build upon the efforts of these Working Conservationists.”