Sixty years of leading wildlife conservation in Essex
Birthdays are always special occasions and landmark anniversaries are even more worthy of celebration. It’s amazing to think just how far the Trust has come in 60 years, it’s hard to imagine how things must have looked to those Essex pioneers back in 1959. It takes a great deal of courage, determination and self-belief to start something from scratch, particularly if it’s bucking a trend or challenging convention.
The volunteers that set up the Essex Naturalists’ Trust (which became Essex Wildlife Trust in the early 1990s) might not have felt particularly brave at the time, because they were merely following their passion, but there is no doubt they took a leap of faith and were probably seen by many people as quite radical.
The political, financial and social landscape is undoubtedly a very different place 60 years on and the way that we achieve success has definitely had to move with the times. For many years, conservationists saw a network of reserves as really being the only way truly to protect species or landscapes; whereas today we use a whole suite of tools to engage, inspire and educate, still with the overall aim of protecting wildlife around the county.
Sculpture trails, cafés, ecotourism, corporate partnerships, forest schools and social media may not have been on the agenda back in the early days, but as an organisation, it’s fundamentally important that we have been able to evolve our way of getting across our message and highlighting the value of wildlife and wild places, to an increasingly varied audience.
Wildlife in Essex needs a voice more than ever before and we’ll be shouting loud and proud to protect our natural heritage for the next 60 years!
This year we have so many wonderful ways you can get involved to celebrate our 60th year.