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Rewilding Wildacres 🦌

“The whole place was alive with nature, bird song, and insects everywhere. When you visit Wildacres you realise how many of our green areas are actually more like manicured deserts, rather than spaces for nature.

Christina Mc Cann - Founder of Green Fridays 4 Future

Green Fridays 4 Future recently spent an amazing morning taking part in a guided walk around the wonderful Wildacres Nature Reserve in County Wicklow

Wildacres is on a mission to encourage and inspire people to protect our native wildlife and the environment and to reverse the catastrophic decline we are experiencing in our biodiversity. It was a fantastic opportunity to experience what Gilly Taylor and Brian O’Toole have accomplished on their 17.5-acre reserve.

When they bought the land it was typical agricultural land, planted with the agricultural ryegrass and sheep were grazing the fields intensively. They have since transformed it into a haven for wildlife. Those fields and riverbank areas in Wildacres are now teeming with insect, animal, and bird life.

We were particularly delighted to visit them during No Mow May and to see first-hand the positive effects of leaving fields for nature and to see how their efforts have brought back biodiversity mostly by giving nature space and providing habitats and the plants that wildlife needs to survive and flourish.

They hold nature workshops regularly that we highly recommend. You can find all more information about the workshops on their website HERE. They are an environmental social enterprise and all proceeds from the sale of their produce, products, tours, walks, workshops, and courses go back into the Wildacres project.

"The message we are trying to get across is that everybody can take action to halt this decline in biodiversity. And it's not difficult to take action and make a real impact in relation to biodiversity. And, of course, demanding of our elected representatives that they treat the crisis as the issue that it is." (November 2022)

In 2017 Gilly and Brian purchased 17.5 acres of undulating agricultural land in East Co Wicklow, on the beautiful Redcross River, with the aim of transforming it into a Nature Reserve, Honey Farm, and Biodiversity Education Experience and gifting it back to nature.

Set across four tree-lined fields, pre-2017 the land was grazed by sheep and lacked the habitats to attract wildlife and pollinators, but since their takeover, they have planted over 10,000 native Irish trees, 2 km of native Irish hedgerow, created 9 wildlife ponds, a 4-acre wildflower meadow. They also have an apiary of beehives for sustainable honey harvesting, a traditional orchard with Irish heritage apple varieties, a native Irish tree nursery, a showcase pollinator bed a 1km stretch of reinstated river riparian zone. They have erected numerous bat, bird, and owl nest boxes and have many log piles dotted around where wildlife can find a home!

“Wildacres is a dream come true. We aim to inspire and encourage as many people as possible in Ireland to help reverse the catastrophic biodiversity loss we are experiencing in this beautiful country of ours and make it a healthy and flourishing land for future generations.”

Gilly Taylor and Brian O’Toole

Insects, small mammals, amphibians, wildflowers, birds, butterflies, and all types of Irish wildlife call Wildacres home in this flourishing woodland nestled in the heart of Wicklow. Life, reborn….

The outcome of all their effort really speaks for itself. As they say so perfectly:

“build it and they will come”.

Rewilding for biodiversity

Rewilding is a progressive approach to conservation. It’s about letting nature take care of itself, enabling natural processes to shape land and sea, repair damaged ecosystems, and restore degraded landscapes. Through rewilding, wildlife’s natural rhythms create wilder, more biodiverse habitats.

David Attenborough recently called on the global population to 'rewild the world' to restore stability to our planet. If all of us played a tiny role in this, we could change the trajectory of the current decline in biodiversity.

Rewilding is part of a global vision to restore lost biodiversity and fight climate change. We could collectively bring life to our planet and return it to its natural state, without compromising human needs by doing one simple thing - doing nothing and letting nature take over!

“Rewilding, in essence, is giving the land back to wildlife and wildlife back to the land.”

Want to get involved in supporting nature’s comeback?

  • No Mow May is a great place to start. We have been talking about it a lot this year and published a blog on it last week that you can read here. Don't mow and let it grow - by deciding to put your lawnmowers away for one month, collectively we start to create a network of places where pollinators and wildlife can survive and thrive, right there in your own beautiful garden!

  • You could start letting small parts of your garden go wild year-round and provide a long-term home and habitat for our little wild friends.

  • Nature has a plan - It's not a coincidence that deciduous trees lose their leaves in Autumn. Leaf litter is crucial to healthy soil, wildlife, survival, reproduction, and overall ecological health. Leaving old wood, fallen leaves, and other garden waste can provide brilliant homes for hedgehogs, toads, frogs and insects.

  • Planting pollinator-friendly plants on windowsills is a great option for homes with little or no garden space.

  • Avoid paving and artificial grass. It destroys all life in your space.

  • Ditch the chemicals, weed, and insect killers. Protecting the environment is as simple as doing less, to do more.

  • Speak to your local councilor, politician, school, or council about rewilding a public space where you live, you could get friends and family involved too, educate and take action at the same time

“Rewilding is not about abandoning civilization but about enhancing it.”

We hope you have a wonderful weekend and we would love to hear about your rewilding journey. Feel free to tag us on social with your photos and videos.

You can follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook @greenfridays4future

Have a great weekend,

The Green Fridays 4 Future Team

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