I am very fortunate to be the CEO of an amazing charity called Froglife. The reason why I say that I am fortunate and that this is an amazing charity is that I work with a bunch of incredibly enthusiastic, intelligent and fun people who are passionate about conserving the UKs amphibian and reptile species and the habitats that they rely on. Froglife is distinctive within the wildlife conservation sector in that it uses unique techniques for engaging people into wildlife conservation. We are particularly keen to reach out to those communities who for a wide range of reasons are often missing out on enjoying the natural world.
Through providing engaging activities we can get lots of people out appreciating nature whilst also doing something positive to help conserve it. Our work is very much ‘on the ground’ creating and restoring vital wildlife sites. Over the past four years Froglife has the astonishing record of improving 713 wildlife sites, this has been achieved with the help of 2,844 volunteers.
However we appreciate that not everyone wants to or can get involved in such physical activities and we therefore also draw heavily on the creative arts to engage and involve people. Our community engagement programme includes creating murals in unattractive under-passes or on drab buildings; Swimming with Dragons converts pools into ponds; Life under the Surface exhibitions created by school children provide people with the opportunity to explore the inside of a pond whilst Mapestry is a collection of community created tapestries depicting heritage items in a specific area. Schools can become a Froglife Leapfrog School this provides the children with the opportunity to explore wild areas and wildlife without leaving their school grounds.
The importance to people’s health and mental wellbeing of being outdoors and working with nature is well documented and as a charity we want to ensure that we create more high quality green spaces for all of society to enjoy. To do that it is important for us to have tangible evidence of the value that the natural world can bring. Through working with Professor Graham Scott and colleagues from the Faculty of Education and The Faculty of Science and Engineering at Hull University we will be in a much stronger position to provide the evidence that is needed of the value of the natural world to wildlife and people.
For more information about our work and impact visit http://www.froglife.org/learning-zone/