Our plan to save nature

Friday 18th November 2016

CEO Georgia Stokes launches the Trust's 5 year strategyCEO Georgia Stokes launches the Trust's 5 year strategy

On Tuesday we launched our five year strategy, outlining how we will achieve our vision for Birmingham and the Black Country to have more wildlife, more wild places and more people with a strong connection to the natural world every year.

The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country has an ambitious plan to tackle the alarming news that one in ten UK species is threatened with extinction.

The Trust, which led the way in urban nature conservation by establishing the UK’s first urban Wildlife Trust in 1980, launched its 25-year vision and five-year strategy at Sandwell Valley Farm Park on Tuesday November 15th at 3pm to an enthusiastic audience including representatives from all sectors across Birmingham and the Black Country.

Naturalist, environmental advisor, writer and broadcaster, Chris Baines was instrumental in the establishment of the Trust in the 80’s and has remained involved as a Vice President. Chris, giving the key note speech, outlined the history of the Trust and the vital role it has played over the last 36 years to bring focus to the importance of urban nature conservation. The Trust was the first organisation to conduct a full survey of sites in the area. Chris thanked key people in the Trust’s history including fellow founders Peter Shirley MBE, and Alison Millward. An unlikely and posthumous thank you went to Margaret Thatcher for her work programme which enabled the Trust to take on new staff bringing in essential ecological expertise. Chris ended with a challenge to the Trust to continue being innovative and leading the way with a particular focus on the need to link to the health and wellbeing crisis happening in the UK.

Wildlife Trust staff highlighted the essential work of the Trust today including the achievements of the Birmingham and Black Country Nature Improvement Area which has improved 240 sites for wildlife and for people over the past four years; and the Trust’s work on connecting people with nature - particularly essential for children in urban areas. People and Wildlife Manager Gareth Morgan introduced a film showing the Trust’s work at EcoPark.

Chair of Trustees, Peter Shirley MBE introduced the five year strategy with a reminder that urgent action is needed on a local level after the State of Nature 2016 report recently revealed that 56% of UK species studied have declined since 1970.

Peter talked through the four main goals of the Trust over the next five years emphasising the partnership approach of the Trust.
1. Space for nature is protected, restored, created and valued.
2. Everyone is connected to nature.
3. The natural environment is at the heart of planning, policy- and decision-making.
4. We are an effective organisation.

Chief Executive Georgia Stokes says: “It’s not too late to save nature in Birmingham and the Black Country, but we must act now. Our precious green spaces and the wildlife that depend upon them are particularly at risk because of our rapidly rising population and need for more housing.

“We need everyone across the region to support our strategy for nature’s recovery. Individuals, communities, voluntary organisations, businesses, local authorities and government agencies will all have a vital role to play.”

The Trust is already supported by more than 7,500 members and 2,000 volunteers, but will need many more people to get involved to help achieve our 25-year vision:

Our vision for Birmingham and the Black Country to have more wildlife, more wild places and more people with a strong connection to the natural world every year.

You can read and download the full strategy here

A one page summary of the strategy is also available.

To lead this ambitious plan, the Trust also needs to recruit a new Chair of Trustees. The outgoing Chair Peter Shirley MBE was one of the charity’s founders in 1980.

Peter says: “This Trust leads nature conservation in Birmingham and the Black Country and it is a pleasure and a privilege to be the Chair. Astute and enthusiastic leadership is needed now more than ever to ensure that the Trust extends its reach in a world increasingly hostile to wildlife.”

You can find out how you support The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country here
To apply for the post of Chair of Trustees visit here.