As spring bursts into life, we’re spending time in our parks and gardens, are listening to birdsong and are watching the butterflies and bumblebees around us. But they’re not returning in the numbers they once did.
More than 70% of our butterflies have disappeared over the last ten years and some bee species are near extinction. In fact, the rate of extinction for insects is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles.
These figures are linked with the use of pesticides and increasing temperatures, but much of the loss is due to the loss of habitat; more than 97% of wildflower meadows across the UK have disappeared.
The Parks Foundation, a small, Bournemouth-based environmental charity, is trying to address this in 11 parks across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (Dorset), and is asking for your help.
Cathi Farrer, The Parks Foundation’s Chief Executive, said: “Insects, such as bees, hoverflies, moths and butterflies, are essential for pollinating our food crops and providing food for other birds and mammals, so this decrease in insects impacts the entire food chain.
“To help, we are transforming 11 local urban parks so that wildlife has a place to thrive. We’re sowing wildflowers, planting bulbs and trees and are creating ponds and hedges. We are also delivering inspiring activities for residents so they can learn more about the nature on their doorstep.
“We know that spending time in our parks, whether that be walking, exercising, reading or playing, reduces our anxiety and depression; that time has been calculated to save the NHS £111M per year in reduced GP visits alone. By donating to our Wildflower Planting Project, you’ll help us transform these parks which will help both us and wildlife flourish.”
Donations made between midday on 22 April and midday on the 29th will be matched by the Big Give ‘Green Match Fund’, meaning donations will be doubled.
People can donate via the charity’s website: https://parksfoundation.org.uk/nature-recovery/
 Published in the journal Biological Conservation April 2019