The BLUE campaign is a community organisation that aims to bring rewilding initiatives to people in urban areas. We encourage individuals, councils, schools and businesses to set aside part of or all their green space to let nature thrive and the results can be surprising and beautiful! We started as a pilot study in the town of Chipping Sodbury in 2014 after our founder Fergus Beeley read the State of Nature report and realised the pressing need for habitat creation in our towns and cities. By setting aside just a little of our own space we can contribute a vast array of opportunities for wildlife to thrive, be it more flowers for pollinators, longer grass for beetles and foraging birds, or decaying wood for fungi and wood boring insects. It’s easy to join in, just pick a part of your green space, and step back! It’s all about mimicking natural processes in your garden, so think like a grazing animal, mow less often and even turf up clumps of dirt to aerate the soil. This creates great conditions for different plants to establish. You can even have a log pile or scrub section to create even more habitat opportunities.
If one garden does this that’s great, but imagine if a whole town of people put aside a bit for nature? You’d have a whole network of habitats that animals can use to traverse through our human dominated landscape.
With BLUE we realised that we’d need a sign to show what was being done was deliberate, as although wildlife will be grateful for the space, people may not know that the long grass in your garden was not a result of being lazy! This is where the blue heart came in, with this staked in your site, it would get a conversation going and get even more people involved.
Since BLUE’s creation, we’ve partnered up with some great groups, including EcoSchools England who do amazing work in getting schools involved in wildlife initiatives. We’ve even created our own butterfly and bee ID guides which can be used to identify the species in your wild site.
On top of this the fantastic partnership with local wildflower, U3A groups and councils has helped BLUE take off the way it has. Places like Ringmer in Sussex and Leicester County Council have shown what a driven community can accomplish. There are now over 50 road verge sites in Leicestershire County set aside for wildlife and we’re excited to see where they go next!
The need for this kind of initiative is still strong, with habitat loss and climate change continuing to have negative impacts on our native flora and fauna. There are increasing numbers of rewilding campaigns aiming to tackle these losses, from species introductions to setting land aside. With the BLUE campaign it opens the chance for anyone to do their bit. Even if it’s starting small everyone can make a difference.
Start local! With BLUE it’s all about instilling a sense of pride and love in your community to the benefit of wildlife and people. The BLUE campaign started when our founder was inspired by the RSPB State of Nature report and began a pilot study in Chipping Sodbury in 2014. Since then, BLUE now has over 150 sites and an online presence followed by over 6500 people.
See what local groups are interested in your campaign and consult the people around you about how they see the project going, their concerns, and what makes them excited about the initiative. The more people feel involved, the more your initiative is likely to succeed, especially if it involves local communities.
As such, for something like the BLUE campaign to work, you want and need local people to be involved, which involves talking not only to people who want to rewild their site, but local schools, councils and neighbours who can increase the size of the wildlife network. This means giving talks, listening to people, and creating content that is based on solid research so the advice you’re giving is not only useful but accessible to more people.
Showing people the benefits of your work and inviting them to lend their own spin based on where they are is also important. This is especially the case with rewilding where every site is different.