Looking out for wildlife

Waltham Forest Echo

August 2019

Looking out for wildlife, Helen Bigham looks forward to a new wildlife festival in Walthamstow

*Unfortunately the Festival was cancelled due to poor weather conditions but will be running in July 2020*

We all have a collective responsibility towards our community and, if you think you’re too small to make a difference, you’ve never slept in a room with a mosquito! One way to do your bit is to support local environmental sustainability which can be linked to all aspects of our lives.

To meet our basic needs for water, food and shelter, as well as engaging in activities that make our lives enjoyable, we need to ensure that we don’t cause damage to our environment or deplete resources that we can’t renew. To learn more about this, I recommend visiting Walthamstow Wetlands over the weekend of 9th to 11th August. The nature reserve is playing host to the first-ever London Wildlife Festival, which is being co-curated by 'urban birder' David Lindo. The ambassador for London Wildlife Trust was voted the seventh most influential person in wildlife by BBC Wildlife Magazine among his roles is acting as president of The Friends of Suntrap Forest Education Centre, which is based in Epping Forest.

Suntrap will be running a workshop to encourage families to respect all nature and develop conservation practices. Invertebrates are animals that lack a backbone, such as insects or gastropods such as snails, and make up 95% of all animal species.

Looking ahead to London Wildlife Festival, Kerry Rolison, head of Suntrap, said: “We’re looking forward to being part of this event. Our ethos is to bring nature nearer, in all it’s weird and wonderful shapes or forms. Some invertebrates can get a bad press and we’re keen to dispel misconceptions.” Suntrap encourages children and young people to take ownership of Epping Forest and become ‘nature guardians’.

There are many small ways in which we can take on this role. Ideas as simple as picking up rubbish or keeping to hand a reusable shopping bag. Alternatively, you can plant local wildflowers and threatened floral species in your garden or window box. Or why not ask your local takeaway restaurants to replace plastic straws and cutlery with biodegradable wooden ones and plastic bags with paper ones?

If you need more inspiration, visit digital directory useless.london which showcases the capital’s zero-waste establishments and a handy guide to those household items you can swap for a more sustainable alternative. Locate your nearest such shop and submit the location of any new places that might be popping up in your area – in Waltham Forest there's already The Pantry & Co in Highams Park and The Veg Hut and Eat17 in Walthamstow.