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How Wildlife-friendly is Your Garden? Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Quiz Will Show You

Published on: 27 Apr, 2020
Updated on: 28 Apr, 2020

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If you want more butterflies and wildlife in your garden, take Surrey Wildlife Trust’s online wildlife garden quiz to get you started.  In less than two minutes, you’ll discover how wildlife-friendly your garden is and how to make improvements.

During lockdown, many of us are enjoying the sights and sounds of nature more than ever, and the quiz is a practical way to discover how to encourage more creatures to visit your garden.

Your answers will give your garden a wildlife-friendly score out of a 100 per cent. The score reflects how well your garden measures up on four essential features: food, shelter, water and organic management. By focusing on areas for improvement, every gardener can take a small step for wildlife by adding tried and tested new features to their garden where they are most needed.

The survey can be shared on social media and WhatsApp groups to encourage family, friends and neighbours to join in so they too can welcome more wildlife. It could help neighbours to share seeds, cuttings, wildlife gardening tips and ideas, such as, making hedgehog highways for the whole street.

Take the quiz at surreywildlifetrust.org/wildlife-garden-quiz and download your free butterfly garden guide.

Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Top Tips:
FOOD: Caterpillars
eat a lot and grow at an astonishing speed before they pupate and become butterflies or moths. Why not leave some weeds for them to munch on? Could you sow wildflowers to provide nectar for bees and butterflies or make a bird feeder? What about adding a vegetable patch or herb garden? These are great for pollinators too.

SHELTER: Birds need safe places to shelter. So do bees, amphibians and reptiles. Could you create a log pile, plant a hedgerow or tree, build a bee home or bug hotel?  Why not let the grass grow long or add a nest box?  Most bees are solitary and search for suitable nesting sites to lay their eggs in little holes in walls, in the ground or hollow stems. If you can provide a suitable home, these bees will come to your garden.

WATER: Water is essential for all life. Not just frogs need it to live in gardens, so do birds, bees and the rest. The two most important wildlife features for a garden (which will gain you most points in the survey) are a wildlife pond and a bucket or container pond. Even if you don’t have much space, you can add a shallow water dish with pebbles, a bird bath or even a boggy area.

ORGANIC MANAGEMENT: One of the most important things you can do for wildlife is to stop using chemicals in your garden. And why not add a compost heap, wormery or recycle household items or garden waste into other wildlife features? Don’t forget to check that there are gaps under hedges or fence panels for a hedgehog highway too.

Charlotte Magowan, marketing and communications manager at Surrey Wildlife Trust, said: “Usually at this time of year we launch our annual Surrey Wildlife Garden Awards, but during the Coronavirus lockdown it would be impossible to judge the entries, so we have launched the quiz instead.

“People can score their own garden for wildlife friendliness and be recognised for their efforts. Adding one or two more features will make a real difference for wildlife on their doorstep.  If everyone even did just one thing, just think of the impact it could make. Nature is so important for wellbeing, so we hope the quiz and top tips will help people to feel more connected to nature too.”

Surrey has more than 20,000 hectares of gardens, which cover 12 per cent of the county, more than all of Surrey’s nature reserves put together, so they are vital to the survival of our wildlife.  For example, gardens are now the last refuge of the fastest-disappearing UK mammal, the hedgehog. This beloved creature has declined by 90 per cent across the UK. In Surrey, 83 per cent of hedgehog sightings were recorded in gardens.

As long as you have some green space, from a balcony to a large garden, you can take the wildlife garden quiz. Even if you don’t know a dandelion from a daffodil you can complete all the questions. You’ll get a score for wildlife friendliness and simple ideas of how to improve.  And you don’t need to look for perfection, every small step is a positive change.

If you want to explore this fascinating subject, there are many online resources, podcasts, apps and publications that can help. You can start by taking the quiz by visiting www.surreywildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife-garden-quiz and by joining the Surrey Wildlife Gardening Facebook page to join a local community of other wildlife-friendly gardeners at https://www.facebook.com/groups/surreywildlifegardening/

 

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