#fitfornature

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Let’s get #fitfornature

Hi Everyone,

As you know, here at A planet fit for nature we try to inspire families and children to get involved and do more for our natural world, one of the biggest ways in which we do this is through competitions, giving you and your family the opportunity to win fantastic prizes in exchange for your commitment to helping our wildlife and environment. We are always looking for new ways to inspire and get you involved which has lead us to our latest campaign….#fitfornature

 

What is #fitfornature?

#fitfornature is our campaign to get you, and the planet healthy, whilst raising money for conservation charities. This can be anything from running a marathon, setting a weight loss goal, eating healthier, sponsored bike ride, anything that can get you and your family fit and raise money at the same time. How you do it is up to you.

All of us at a planet fit for nature will be pledging in one way or another and we want you and your families to join us.

Why do we need to help conservation charities?

This weekend the London Marathon took place, thousands upon thousands of people running for their chosen charities, and whilst I was watching in admiration it suddenly struck me, I wasn’t hearing any conservation charities being mentioned. Later that day one of our team did some digging he discovered that there were 1037 charities who each had at least one guaranteed place in this year’s London Marathon. Of these, JUST 15, that’s right 15! Were charities connected with animals and of those JUST 2 were focused on conservation in the UK.  Only 1.45% were connected with animals or some kind of conservation and 0.19% were UK focused, SHOCKING!

Now don’t get me wrong, all of the charities are vitally important and deserve all the funds they can get, and I applaud anyone who gets up and gets involved (whilst I’m sat typing this from my desk eating a donut),  but wouldn’t it be nice if our conservation charities got a mention? After all, they do an equally important job, and let’s be honest, without them OUR natural world would be in such a worse state than it already is…..and that’s saying something.

Let’s improve our health and the health of our planet; it’s a win win situation

 

How can you get involved?

First, you need to find a way of raising money and pick a conservation charity or organisation to donate to, local or global, your choice.

Second, print off or design a sponsor form, fill it in and get sponsored! There’s lots of free forms on the internet, simply google ‘Free sponsorship forms’ here is a link to  a free one to get you started!

http://www.wordstemplates.org/tag/free-sponsorship-form-template/

Three, get involved on social media, please share your journey with us on twitter @fitfornature, on facebook search ‘a planet fit for nature’ and of course the hashtag #fitfornature. Blog about it, shout it from the rooftops! #fitfornature.

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world” – Gandhi

Matt.IMG_5426

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#WildWorkPlaces

Wildlife, it’s all around us you may think, but stop what you’re doing now and have a look around? Unless you are lucky enough to work in the countryside or national trust parks etc the chances are what you see around you right now are man-made structures and concrete.  Yes we have national parks and yes we have farms and local parks, and if you are lucky some of you have beautiful gardens and that’s great, it’s a massive help, but it’s not enough.

Our wildlife has been in a rapid decline for some time and one of the main reasons is that there are not enough places for our wildlife to habitat, but we can change that.

How you might ask? Easy! #WildWorkPlaces! Let me explain more.

I was walking around the factory grounds where I work a few weeks back and noticed lots of the land that my workplace owns was just baron and not being used, square meters upon square meters of it. Madness!

I can almost guarantee that your workplace is the same! This is where #WildWorkPlaces comes into play, lets utilise that land!

I spoke with the MD of the company I work for and put across the idea of turning this land into a wild-flower meadow and/or a works garden. I told him how our wildlife, especially Bees, is in decline and we as the superior species of this planet should be doing something about it. I told him that with the companies funding and the donated time from some work colleagues we can make a difference.  If we can utilise all this wasted land across the 100s and 1000’s of workplaces in the UK, even the world, then we surely will have an impact on our wildlife.

Guess what….He Agreed! I could of kept quiet and not said anything, I could of just watched this land go to waste, now however I know that by next year, I, with the help of others, would have created a nice new habitat for the local wildlife, a place for my work colleagues to go and relax, but most importantly a place to give the local wildlife a helping hand, and that makes me feel very proud!

Now all workplaces are different, I understand that. Some of you may work in an office block in the town centres and may be sat reading this thinking, we don’t have any spare land! But you could however hang some baskets up or put some pots/planters at the entrance to your building, not only would you be helping the local Bee’s and Butterflies that fly past, you would also have a nice welcoming entrance to your building. I for one know that I would much prefer walking into work through a doorway with a nice floral display than a bog standard plain average one!  Every little space can be utilised in some way. You may not have access to soil or grass, that doesn’t matter, pots, tubs and wooden planters can easily turn a dull concreted area into a beautiful floral masterpiece, add some benches and hey presto, you have a nice works garden, a  #WildWorkPlace.

Still not convinced? Then imagine this, it’s your break time at work, the sun is shining, the skies are blue, but you’re stuck in the works canteen eating your lunch. Wouldn’t you much prefer to be sat in a works garden watching the local wildlife pop in and out and relaxing in the sunshine? I know I would. At night time these #WildWorkPlaces would become a haven and safe place for hedgehogs and other small mammals.  We really can make a difference.

I am in between talks with the Royal Botanical Gardens at present, I’m hoping that they can come on board and help spread the word and donate windflower seed packets to anyone who is willing to make that difference, but you can buy bulbs and seeds very cheaply, most of us have the odd plant pot knocking around the garden unused that could be donated and transformed into a passing buffet for our Bee’s.

If you have land around your workplace that is overgrown, then it may be best to leave it as it is, one man’s wasteland is another man’s treasure, what I mean is that overgrown area would already be teaming with wildlife. I talking more about the large concreted areas that lay waste doing nothing. If all the industrial sites across the country took part we could create a national wildlife corridor! How awesome would that be.

Now you have read all this, hopefully you’re fired up ready to make a difference, great stuff! Print this blog out and show it to your boss, show it to your colleagues, if your reading this on a mobile or tablet whilst on a bus or train then please turn and share it with someone who is sitting next you.

Let them know about #WildWorkPlaces

Share your pictures on facebook and twitter, and Instagram, you can use the hashtag #WildWorkPlaces. Share with the world what you are doing! Show us how you are helping!

I challenge you to make a difference! No! I ask you to make a difference.

When you arrive at your workplace please go speak to the people in charge, speak to your friends and colleagues and get them on board!

Let them know about #WildWorkPlaces

Let’s utilise this wasted land, let’s not sit back anymore and watch our wildlife dwindle, let’s take back some of this land and give our wildlife a helping hand!

It doesn’t just have to be a workplace, if you are at school, college or university, wherever you see wasted land, lets utilise it!

If you plant it they will come!

I can’t wait to see what you do!

Thank You

 Matt

#Day22 of #100DaysofNature

Hi all,

Straight back into the swing of things and today I have a species of Moth that has the most amazing modified wings. The Plume Moth.

The forewings of plume moths usually consist of two curved spars with more or less bedraggled bristles trailing behind. This resembles the closely related Alucitidae (many-plumed moths) at first glance, but the latter have a greater number of symmetrical plumes. The hindwings are similarly constructed, but have three spars. A few genera have normal lepidopteran wings.

The usual resting posture is with the wings extended laterally and narrowly rolled up. Often they resemble a piece of dried grass, and may pass unnoticed by potential predators even when resting in exposed situations in daylight. Some species have larvae which are stem- or root-borers while others are leaf-browsers.

Economically important pterophorids include the Artichoke Plume Moth (Platyptilia carduidactyla), an Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) pest in California, while the Geranium Plume Moth (Platyptilia pica) and the Snapdragon Plume Moth (Stenoptilodes antirrhina) can cause damage to the ornamental plants Garden Geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum) and Common Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), respectively. Other plume moths have been used as biological control agents against invasive plant species – Lantanophaga pusillidactyla against West Indian Lantana (Lantana camara), Oidaematophorus beneficus against Mistflower (Ageratina riparia), Hellinsia balanotes against Groundsel Bush (Baccharis halimifolia), and Wheeleria spilodactylus against Horehound (Marrubium vulgare). (Source Wikipedia)

The holy grail of this Moth for me is the White Plume Moth Pterophorus pentadactyla, I would love to photograph one of those!

But alas, today you will have to settle for this beauty instead 🙂

Enjoy

Matt

#Day8 of #100DaysofNature

Hi everyone,

So, week 2, #Day8 and another new species for my garden, one which I am finding hard to pinpoint an exact ID on. I found this yellow Caterpillar at the back of the garden climbing up a blade of thick grass, it was so vibrant that it stuck out like a sore thumb. It posed nice for a photograph. I decided as it was so generous posing like a pro that I would go in for a portrait shot haha. Such an amazing creature, but even better up close!

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The girls were not far behind me in the garden and quickly come over for a closer look, I passed them the blade of grass with the caterpillar on for them to inspect and then document in the book, It was then put safely back where it was found.

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If anybody could help with ID on this then please contact me via my facebook page (Mattsmacro) or my Flickr (link). Hopefully I will have an ID soon.

Thanks 

Matt

ID UPDATED AS SAWFLY LARVAE

#100DaysofNature – A look back through week 1

Hi everyone,

Firstly I would like to thank the BBC Springwatch team, The Natural History Museum and all my followers of this blog and my facebook page for sharing, retweeting and taking an interest in this challenge.

So week 1 is over, 7 days completed, and it’s been tough. Not finishing work until 4:30pm driving home, having tea and spending time with the family plus getting in the garden is proving to be a challenge in itself but the results are worth it.  

  • A total of 4 new species for my garden have been discovered.
  • The kids have taken a real interest
  • This blog has generated some interest and even inspired people to do one themselves
  • BBC Springwatch started following me on twitter (wow)
  • Retweets from the BWPA and Natural History Museum
  • Oh and I got to get some great photographs 🙂

A few things I have learnt…..

  • I need to do more to attract wildlife into the garden if I even dream of getting 100 different species.
  • I need to educate myself on whats in my garden and get correct ID’s before posting my blog ( 2 wrong this week, doh!)

With all of the above in mind I decided to buy some more things to help me on my challenge.

The first was to get the Butterfly Feeding Station I bought up and running 🙂

The second was more bird food, which, my wife and my 2 girls went shopping for today, again getting the whole family involved and educating the kids 🙂

The girls filling up the feeders

Some tasty treats for the birds

Fatballs, birds love them BUT please take them out of the net before using them.

The girls putting up the feeders with Mum.

The third was some new reading materials for me to cross reference and check ID’S

So, that’s the first 7 days done and dusted, day 100 seems a long way off but I’m confident I can reach my goal of 100 different species over 100 days.

Thanks for reading, sharing and taking an interest 🙂

Matt