Reintroduction & Rewilding Summit

Press release from Birds of Poole Harbour and the Self-Isolating Bird Club (2nd February 2021)

On April 10th 2021 Dorset-based charity Birds of Poole Harbour, in partnership with Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin’s Self Isolating Bird Club, will host the first ever Reintroduction and Rewilding Summit, an event aimed to educate and inspire the public on some of the latest and most innovative conservation projects going on across the UK and Europe right now.

It is widely accepted that the planet is now at an ecological tipping point. Whether discussing the climate crisis or extreme declines in biodiversity, taking appropriate action to remedy these problems is still not a priority for many of those in power. In the past year especially, nature has proven its worth 100 times over, with millions of people finding comfort and solace within it.

Liv Cooper from the Birds of Poole Harbour charity said:

At Birds of Poole Harbour, we are not content with letting the opportunity to restore and conserve our natural heritage slip through our fingers, and we’re not alone. We are a small part of a mighty network of people and organisations striving to make positive change for nature, exploring novel ways of doing so and educating the public as we go. As a charity, with our involvement in the Poole Harbour Osprey Translocation Project, we’re particularly inspired by the uptake of wildlife restoration projects through reintroductions and rewilding, and we know that many other people are just as engaged and enthused as we are. We therefore decided to launch a new event, bringing these projects together to showcase them to the public: The Reintroduction & Rewilding Summit“.

The R & R Summit is a virtual event which you will be able to stream live from home on Saturday 10th April 2021. The day will be hosted by the brilliant Self-Isolating Bird Club and will be jam-packed full of content from different projects, conservationists and science communicators talking all about reintroductions and nature restoration.

The event will raise the discussion of a multitude of questions, from whether reintroductions are the best way to re-establish native species, to how beavers can shape our landscape, and whether rewilding has become an overused buzzword or is it actually our best chance to reverse catastrophic biodiversity decline?

But most importantly, it’s hoped the day will provide much-needed hope and excitement for the future of wildlife restoration and will inspire the public to discover more about these projects.

Speakers will include the likes of conservation hero Roy Dennis, Beaver expert Derek Gow, ‘Rebirding’ author Benedict Macdonald and the White Stork project. The Birds of Poole Harbour team will also be sharing more information and announcing more guest speakers over the coming weeks, and are hoping to get as many people as possible to tune in on the day, so put the date in your diary! Plus, don’t worry if you can’t watch it on the day as all content will be available to watch on the Birds of Poole website and social media channels after the event too.

Here’s a taster video of what’s coming:

The R&R Summit Insight Podcasts

Over the next 10 weeks leading up to the event, guest podcaster Charlie Moores will be interviewing a series of reintroduction and rewilding project leaders, discussing the details, aims and inspiration behind each scheme. With many of these topics or ideas sometimes being considered controversial, these open discussions aim to lay all cards on the table, allowing listeners to hear about the processes, practicalities and outcomes of each of the projects and how they fit into a wider context of conservation.

Podcast 1 – Poole Harbour Osprey Translocation Project

In 2017, charity Birds of Poole Harbour began a 5-year Osprey translocation project in an effort to restore a south coast breeding population having been absent for nearly 200 years. In this first podcast, Charlie discusses with some of the Poole Harbour Osprey project team the reasoning behind the reintroduction, their aspirations moving forward and the project’s place within a wider nature restoration framework.

You can listen to the first podcast and all the rest as they’re produced over the next 10 weeks on the Birds of Poole Harbour website HERE


8 thoughts on “Reintroduction & Rewilding Summit”

  1. I’ll be watching this intently with an interest in how they are intending implement rewilding interests on a permanent basis. As usual those who have almost total control over the behind the scenes bureaucracy at management and planning levels such as Nature Scotland and Natural England are desperate to get them into joint projects where the same Fate awaitrs them as dished out to ornithological concerns over the past 100 years. That is promising words, surface cooperation, taking part in schemes only to sabotage them once they have the information required, endless research and legislative delays, no effective enforcement of the new laws and much more … and always ending in little or no change, except where business income might ber increased. Their level of control behind the facade is almost totyal at this point
    Once more, I repeat, when you sup with the Devil use a long spoon.

  2. National Trust, big landowner in the Lake District should fence off huge areas, and re seed and plant with native trees, its crying out for it, every time I drive over the passes I see its so bare and un natural, 1000 years ago it would have been partly wooded, now theres only a few very old Hawthorns left, just clinging on in their dotage, with no chance of natural regeneration, huge bracken beds, where the better soil is, trees would be better than this,
    and Heather stunted back, grazed out decades ago, an example was shown in the Caldew valley about 12 years ago, I think the Lake District National Park Authority ring fenced about 30 acres on a hillside, now the Juniper, Heather, and mosses are coming back, what a contrast to the other side of the fence, still bare and lawn like.
    Some people worry about wild fires, even if there are it would still be better to have a try than leave it as it is, surely not everywhere would go up in flames.
    Saw a Hen Harrier this afternoon, flying in the xxxxxxxxx valley.

    1. Definitely! I would imagine that the northern part of the Lake District at least is in the watershed for the river Eden which runs through Carlisle. The Lake District has a ludicrously high annual rainfall and as you say is incredibly bare of trees. Surprise, surprise Carlisle keeps being hit with big floods and the one in 2005 caused more than 400 million pounds worth of damage. There’s a similarly enormous amount of human misery to go with that too. If the people of Carlisle and any other place that’s been hit by flooding could put two and two together those lovely sheep filled hills would very quickly become a detestable sight. Sadly neither government agencies or conservation organisations are rushing forward to inform them which of course keeps certain vested interests happy.

      This petition will hopefully help start changing that – what’s good for reducing the flood risk posed by Scottish grouse moors is good for reducing it in the uplands in general. If signing please remember to click on the wee black ‘Sign This’ box after ticking ‘I’m not a robot’ – your name should appear in the Most Recent Signatures box pretty quickly. If you can get a few acquaintances to sign as well that’s much appreciated thanks!

  3. Damp woodland rarely burns, but experts have to manage . They build car parks ,cafes , roads and create conduits via ditches, dykes and ducts these allow land to drain causing dry conditions in summer.all done with no debate. As for native trees and shrubs they need harvesting by native insects and mammals ,am off the feeling, we have too many experts who refuse to accept that their views are not the only one for real change.

    1. Funny you should say that I was about to post a comment where I was going to mention that one of the participants in this event is Celtic Reptile and Amphibians which has been started and run by two seventeen year old boys and that I’m so glad they’re participating. Their insight into ecology and conservation would at any age be remarkable, but the fact that they are so young is astounding, and their dedication and ability to get their initiative off the ground is exemplary, makes me feel like a useless old fart though.

      I was therefore furious when on the fb page of a local Scottish Wildlife Trust group a ‘professional’ ecologist made an incredibly patronising remark summarised by ‘they are very enthusiastic young boys bless them, but they don’t really know what they’re doing they should contact a conservation organisation so their energies can be better directed’. I was spitting nails, but as it was a closed group I couldn’t leave any scathing reply, three days later I’m still angry. Seeing young people being dismissed when they should be getting acknowledgement and support is infuriating. I’ve been lucky to meet many true professionals with or without formal qualifications, but as in other fields there are inadequates, the uninspired and uninspiring who hide behind degrees and condescension.

  4. Having just watched the BBC Perfect Planet series the message is very clear.
    It’s not just a little bit of rewilding here and there which needs to take place. It’s a wholescale change of how we as humans value and protect the natural environment, the land and the oceans.

    I suggest what is needed is a complete revolution of how we interact with this planet.
    A revolution in how we view the natural environment, and a revolution in how we provide energy to fuel global industrial economies.
    But when wealth is measured in dollars, or by the man made possessions a person owns, nature will always be at the back of the queue.

    Most people in the developed world are not going to give up their energy hungry- tech owning -consumer life styles. Corporate industry will ensure the demand for new products is top of the economic agenda, and politicians will simply follow the money. In a world where political success and economic success are so fundamentally linked- politicians will be reluctant to upset the apple cart.

    At the moment “Conservationists” are seen as outsiders, and not part of this materialistic, money driven state of affairs. Rewilding is often ridiculed by those who make money from the current way land is managed.
    The irony is most of us treasure the sight of a Hen Harrier, Golden Eagle or some other wonder of nature as priceless! But it has no monetary value so it’s not valued in the corporate boardrooms of global capitalism which rule the world.
    This current economic model needs to change. Those that don’t put conservation and protection of nature at the heart of all their activities need to become the pariahs, and being a “conservationist” should be the badge of normal human behaviour.

    The sheer scale of destruction of rainforests, the oceans is almost beyond comprehension.
    Global warming could cause problems for rewilding projects if climates change and plant or animal species are no longer able to thrive in areas where they have traditionally grown. How can we rewild if the forces of nature are so disorientated that we don’t know what to plant where?

    The other issue is cost. How will rewilding be paid for? What value will society give it? It seems as humans we are incapable of accepting the intrinsic value of nature. Instead we try and commodify it, give it monetary value based on what we can extract and sell in a consumer driven global economy. Grouse moors have value based on the density of grouse for the game shooting industry. Forests have value based on timber extraction. Land has value based on its sale for human development, mineral extraction etc. Maybe rewilding should be the price business has to pay to offset its cost to nature?

    I would suggest re wilding in Britain needs to take place on a huge scale, with vast areas replanted with native trees and plants. Green spaces in urban areas don’t need to be simply grass, which require expensive maintenance by an army of council contractors, yet provide little habitat for nature. There is nothing to stop councils rewilding some of the “green” spaces they own, so that nature creeps back into urban landscapes.
    Farming shouldn’t be based on system which rewards those who decimate the natural environment, yet provides little profit to those who try and farm in harmony with nature. It should be the other way round, so that those who include nature, and effectively rewild are rewarded, and those who persist in their destructive ways soon face financial ruin and go out of business.

    If all the small rewilding projects united, it could be like making a patchwork blanket. Each patch contributing to a much greater whole. But it will still require a fundamental shift in how we value nature for this to happen on a scale which might halt global warming and the extinction crises.

    For me the question about rewilding is simple.- Why should “dinosaurs” with their vested interests in maintaining the current environmentally catastrophic status quo be allowed to drag the rest of life on this planet to the verge of extinction?
    Rewilding and conservation isn’t an option, it’s a necessity.

    It could easily be argued that those who are responsible for global warming and the extinction crisis are committing crimes against the life of this planet. Is it not time that robust global legislation and enforcement was introduced to deal with these environmental criminals?

    From a philosophical point of view. My body is made up of the same atoms and molecules as the rest of nature. Whether I like it or not, I am part of it. If I allow the destruction of nature, I am effectively allowing the destruction of myself. If some attacked me, I would fight back. So if someone attacks nature- shouldn’t I also fight back????

    Lets hope this rewilding event is a success and educates the public so that they demand change and the inclusion of nature in every decision we as humans make.

  5. Change is coming, with the new payment system for landowners, no longer being paid just for owning land, in the next 6 years it will all change and be paid only for conservation work undertaken. Can nature last out long enough for this to be implemented. Grants are already available for native tree planting schemes, National trust could greatly alter the state of the Lake District, could be undertaken with no cost, paid by the government.
    Just a few areas of ring fenced land in each valley to start with would be great.

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