THE importance of protecting our wildlife has never been more imperative.
Some of the garden visitors we have taken for granted are swiftly in decline prompting the message to act fast and preserve these species for future generations to enjoy.
Launched recently by renowned naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, The State of Nature Report 2016 follows on from the groundbreaking State of Nature report in 2013.
Involving leading professionals from 53 wildlife organisations who have pooled their expertise and knowledge, the report demonstrates the clearest picture to date of the status of our native species across land and sea.
Fifty six per cent of the UK species studied have declined since 1970 and more than one in 10 of nearly 8,000 species assessed in the UK are under threat of disappearing altogether.
Helen Byron, RSPB Area Conservation Manager for Yorkshire, says they are particularly concerned about the upland and urban wildlife.
"Curlews and lapwings have suffered huge declines nationally in the past few decades so we really need to protect those that breed in the upland areas of Yorkshire.
“Wildlife in urban areas such as Leeds and Bradford is also under threat with hedgehogs and swifts in serious trouble.
“The RSPB and other nature conservation organisations are working hard to halt the declines of these species but we can’t do it alone and need the Government to take urgent and decisive action to protect our precious wildlife.”
Of course, educating the next generation to help halt the decline is essential and one school in Bradford is already putting initiatives in place.
As well as being a regular participant in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, St Columba's Catholic Primary in Tong Street, Bradford, recently achieved Level Five of the RHS Gardening Award in recognition of its work nurturing pupils' growing skills and sharing that with the wider community, as well as its wildlife work.
Teaching assistant, Linda Marshall, says she encourages youngsters to appreciate nature and the important part it plays in the wider world.
"Everything we see in the garden, in the world, has a place. We all need each other to survive," says Linda.
"It is so important because they do not realise they may only see a hedgehog in a book."
Demonstrating how youngsters can create hedgehog homes in their gardens and encouraging them to collect branches pruned from their gardens as potential habitats for other wildlife are among the many examples of how they can preserve and protect.
And Linda believes it brings massive benefits for the children too, including confidence building. "I see children who were frightened of things in the garden and now they are watching and observing it," she says.
"On a dewy morning I take children out to see the patterns on spiders webs - nature is good, it gives and gives again. It is so important and it worries me to think that one day you will go into the garden and it will be silent or you won't be able to see a hedgehog."
Rob Stoneman, CEO of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “We have been working hard to reverse the alarming decline of Yorkshire’s wildlife and have been focusing on restoring habitats in the Upper River Aire catchment to help declining species such as white-clawed crayfish and water voles. We have an extremely passionate team of staff, volunteers and supporters who will continue to carry out vital work across the region, as this report clearly highlights the need for us all to work together to ensure that wildlife remains here and across the UK for generations to come.”
Sir David Attenborough said: “The natural world is in serious trouble and it needs our help as never before.
“The rallying call issued after the State of Nature report in 2013 has promoted exciting and innovative conservation projects. Landscapes are being restored, special places defended, struggling species being saved and brought back. But we need to build significantly on this progress if we are to provide a bright future for nature and for people."
He urges Governments, conservationists, businesses and individuals, to help. "Millions of people in the UK care very passionately about nature and the environment and I believe that we can work together to turn around the fortunes of wildlife.”
Using evidence from the last 50 years, experts identified that significant and ongoing changes in agricultural practices are having the single biggest impact on nature.
Mark Eaton, lead author on the report, said: “Never before have we known this much about the state of UK nature and the threats it is facing."
He said since the 2013 report the partnership and many landowners have used the knowledge to 'underpin some amazing scientific and conservation work.'
"But more is needed to put nature back where it belongs – we must continue to work to help restore our land and sea for wildlife.
“There is a real opportunity for the UK Government and devolved administrations to build on these efforts and deliver the significant investment and ambitious action needed to bring nature back from the brink.
“Of course, this report wouldn’t have been possible without the army of dedicated volunteers who brave all conditions to survey the UK’s wildlife. Knowledge is the most essential tool that a conservationist can have, and without their efforts, our knowledge would be significantly poorer.”