Local conservation charity Essex Wildlife Trust have just launched the Big Wild Seed Sow – an initiative to give people in the community free wildflower seeds that will help millions more wildflowers bloom across the county next year.
Studies have shown that 41% of insect species are threatened with extinction, with pesticide use and habitat loss key factors contributing to their rapid decline. Insects are essential for the pollination of crops, they are an important part of the food web and are vital for cycling nutrients through our ecosystems.
Zoe Ringwood, Landscape Conservation Area Manager at Essex Wildlife Trust, says: “Insects have been declining at a worrying rate and as everything in nature is connected, this is having a knock-on impact to UK wildlife in general. The good news is that even small actions can help reverse the decline of insects and collectively this has the power to make a significant difference”.
Wildflowers are a key habitat for pollinating species, including bees, butterflies, moths and beetles. These flowers provide insects with food, shelter, places to breed and a sheltering habitat during bad weather.
Essex Wildlife Trust have sourced a native wildflower seed mix, which has been tested at five of their Nature Discovery Centres and resulted in successful blooms throughout the summer. The Trust has now packed the seed mix into recyclable envelopes and will be handing out free packets to members of the public who visit one of their Nature Discovery Centres over the coming month.
Zoe continues, “By taking part in the Big Wild Seed Sow and sowing a small area of native wildflowers that are irresistible to insects, you will not only be bringing a burst of colour to your garden, but you will also be doing your bit to make the Essex landscape more insect-friendly. Insects are beautiful and fascinating creatures, it’s going to be fantastic to see people in Essex working together to give them a helping hand.”
Wildflower seeds can be planted throughout the year until the first frost, so members of the public are being asked to sow their seeds straight away, following the instructions on the seed packets. Once planted, members of the public are asked to plot their wildflower patch on the Trust’s digital interactive map, so they can track the wildflower network being created across Essex.
Members of the public can visit any of Essex Wildlife Trust’s Nature Discovery Centres over the coming weeks and talk to a member of their team to collect the seed packet, including: Abberton Reservoir (Colchester), Bedfords Park (Havering-atte-Bower), Belfairs Woods (Leigh-on-Sea), Fingringhoe Wick (Colchester), Hanningfield Reservoir (Billericay), Ingrebourne Valley (Hornchurch), Langdon (Basildon), The Naze Centre (Walton-on-the-Naze), Thameside Nature Park (Stanford-le-Hope) or Thorndon Countryside Centre (Brentwood).
CNH Industrial, one of Essex Wildlife Trust’s corporate Investors in Wildlife have sponsored the project launch, allowing 5,000 seed packets to be handed out of the Trust’s Nature Discovery Centres free of charge.
A spokesperson from CNH Industrial, says: “CHN industrial N.V. is committed to sustainability and as such, welcomed the opportunity to help Essex Wildlife Trust with their Actions for Insects project, designed to encourage an increase in the insect population within the county. We are supporting the Big Wild Seed Sow campaign and look forward to working closely with the Trust on future projects.”
Essex Wildlife Trust hopes the grow this project further and wants to be able to give seed packets to all families that attend their outdoor learning events over the coming year. Members of the public can support this project by donating to their Big Wild Seed Sow appeal, with all money going straight towards the project to allow members of the community the opportunity to help bees, butterflies and allow millions more wildflowers to bloom in Essex.