Last September we were told by the State of Nature 2023 report that one in six species is now at risk of being lost from Great Britain and that since monitoring began in 1970 that the wildlife studied has, on average, declined by 19 per cent. Scary huh? So, what can we do to change the fortunes of our natural world and the ecosystem that underpins our existence. Far from being a task too far, by making a commitment to stand up for nature in 2024 we can make a vital difference.

Hertfordshire, our precious county, is full of contrasts, from the urban centres of Watford and Stevenage to the rolling arable farmland around Royston and Bishop’s Stortford, and from the chalky grasslands of the Chiltern Hills to the woods of Broxbourne. We are truly blessed to have some stunning wild places on our doorsteps, which is home to some wonderful local wildlife. That though is not a given…

Great British Life: Bluebells at Astonbury Wood near Stevenage (c) Alice BradleyBluebells at Astonbury Wood near Stevenage (c) Alice Bradley

…Surely, we can all remember a time when nature has blown our minds or made us smile – seeing a hedgehog snuffling around a garden at night, the sight of a carpet of bluebells on a woodland floor, the company of a robin when no one else is around, a butterfly fluttering on purple-headed verbena in the summer sun…

But sadly over the years, we’ve seen a disconnect with nature and that’s not only been detrimental to our wildlife, but to us too. Isn’t it now time to appreciate what we have and to recreate some of those memories by making physical and emotional space for wildlife in our lives? Can we make sure the next generation will enjoy those simple pleasures too?

Whether you stand up for nature in 2024 by being more mindful of the nature around you, become more sympathetic to the needs of hungry garden birds in winter, pick up the litter on the grass verge, call your MP to account on their environmental voting record, rally your community into creating a shared green space, become a member of a conservation charity, take part in a citizen science project, or volunteer to help manage a local habitat, there is something that each and everyone of us can do to improve the bigger picture.

Great British Life: Common Blue Butterfly (c) Adam CormackCommon Blue Butterfly (c) Adam Cormack

In 2024, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, a charity with over 23,000 members and the leading voice for wildlife in the region will have existed for 60 years. Whilst this anniversary is a milestone to be proud of, the Trust will not be celebrating until it has achieved its ambitious aim of 30 per cent of land connected and protected for nature by 2030. The Trust recognises that we all have a part to play and it is only by working together that we can create a vibrant and sustainable future where nature can thrive. If one in four people champion wildlife, we can create a sustainable community movement for nature’s recovery.

Considerable research has underlined the important role that a healthy natural environment and access to nature has for our health and wellbeing – put a little in and you’ll get a lot back. Here’s to a wilder 2024 and to standing up for nature!

To find out more about the work of Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and what you can get out of it, visit hertswildlifetrust.org.uk What’s more, if you sign up to become a member of the Trust in January, you can do so for half-price and enjoy this introductory offer, knowing you’ll be supporting wildlife and feeling good year-round! 

Great British Life: Robin in snow (c) Alexander Mustard 2020VISIONRobin in snow (c) Alexander Mustard 2020VISION