By working with established wildlife groups and your local council, you can benefit from existing conservation, training and community engagement expertise. It may even be possible to pool resources, and work together to link up areas of urban habitat. Local groups might include natural history and conservation volunteers, as well as special interest groups focusing on particular groups of species like birds, plants and bats.
Local wildlife organisations can also contribute volunteers and practical skills. Local councils (county, district, town and parish) are important stakeholders as they control decisions about how many urban green spaces are managed.
Examples of these organisations are discussed here, but there are many more. We recommend a flexible approach to make the most of those who have time to share with you.
Involving local residents with projects on site
Local Environmental Records Centres
Local Environmental Records Centres (LERCs) are organisations that collect, collate and manage wildlife data to support the conservation, understanding and enjoyment of local biodiversity. LERCs provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ for on sites, habitats and species in their region. LERCs by region can be found via the Association of Local Environmental Record Centres (ALERC) website at: http://www.alerc.org.uk/lerc-finder.html.
The Wildlife Trusts
There is a good opportunity to form links with a local Wildlife Trust who can provide expert help with delivering resident engagement schemes. Wildlife trusts can also provide the expert advice on the specific wildlife-friendly actions. http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/find-wildlife-trust.
Local authorities in England and Wales have a key role to play in the conservation of biodiversity, recognised in Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006, where:
‘Every public body must, in exercising its functions, have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity’
One of the ways councils can contribute to delivering this duty is through partnerships with environmental organisations and other local community groups http://www.gov.uk/find-local-council.