Looking at the bigger picture
reserve in the 1940s in remembrance of Sir Charles and is now a tranquil haven with a rich variety of wildlife.
The Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves ultimately became what we know today as “The Wildlife Trusts”. BBOWT was founded in 1959 and is one of 47 Wildlife Trusts around the UK, all working to protect local wildlife.
In the early 1960s, Rachel Carson’s seminal book, Silent Spring, was first published in the UK opening the general public’s eyes to the concept of ecology (the understanding that everything in nature is related to everything else and cannot survive in isolation). The book described how wildlife was slowly disappearing from the American countryside due to human activity.
Not so long ago, apart from several enlightened conservationists, the various interest groups (for instance gardening, beekeeping, butterfly conservation, the protection of birds and farming) still focussed their efforts on a single species or cause.
Gradually though there was a coming together, a realisation…I noticed, as a beekeeper, that beekeeping journals started printing articles on the benefits of wild flowers for bees. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) followed with its now regular wildlife page for gardeners.
Caring for the wider environment is now totally mainstream for most conservation organisations.
Thanks to the vision of Sir Charles Rothschild, The Wildlife Trusts were ahead of the game; we’ve been protecting large areas of the countryside and the associated habitats for years!
But, wildlife is still threatened with pressures such as habitat loss and over-development. Nature needs our help more than ever before to protect it and preserve it for future generations.
Today, hundreds of volunteers help BBOWT to manage a wide range of habitats, from ancient woodland to chalk grassland and wetlands. Management of the general habitat allows wild flowers to bring colour and joy into our lives, gives sanctuary and food to native and migratory birds and places for our native wild animals to flourish.
Take a trip to your local nature reserves this weekend, including College Lake near Tring, and Aston Clinton Ragpits and Bacombe Hill both near Wendover, to see and learn how BBOWT still follows those conservation ideals set out by Sir Charles Rothschild just over 100 years ago.
Find out more about BBOWT’s Chilterns Group of volunteers at www.bbowt.org.uk/ chilterns-group