I’m not sure a straightforward re-wilding is the answer.

You’ll not get many if any people that work in the countryside to agree with re-wilding. Its another one of those subjects turned into something emotive, something that its no longer so easy to get the activists to embrace the full story. I wonder if the web has aided tribalism? …. of course it has.

A myriad of life can exist in a multi-purpose landscape, goodness how difficult it would be to fight ones way through sheep walk turned to hawthorn scrub. Nor do I want to have my progress straight-jacketed into pre-cut walks and pathways. Nature and all its little participants is very clever, theres a habitat for just about everybody, barring of course the hopeful additions that we heard Chris mention yesterday, Lynx, goodness what else and oh yes he tells us bears and wolves! Oh dear, how silly. I always think it a bit corny when an army of kids are enrolled to march upon The Palace!

In a practical real-life situation it has been the fifty years of excessive drainage on upland areas that to my mind has caused great harm, eradicating the upland sponge that minimises flooding. Likewise for decades farmers were paid to eradicate old hedges. How silly and blind!

Another point that I’ve never heard anyone speak of is the universal municipal spraying at any feature of grassed pathways, ie signposts, lampposts, fencing, kerb edges, all of these are microhabitats for tiny things which in turn would be a source of food. I’m talking about the nooks and crannies that have been rendered useless, not neccessarilly a complete re-wilding as per recent experiments. Here of course I am assuming the insect count is down compared with unsprayed, I must be vigilant here, as a great byword of mine is ‘don’t assume’, which is probably the most basic and elementary understanding in any rational and scientific treatment of any subject or situation.

Good quality front gardens are in great decline, concrete slabs, block paving and gravel as standing for cars has eliminated I guess a full half of what might have been a convenient hop off point and source of food for garden birds. A decent garden much like the washing line is becoming a rare thing. Even rarer is the ability to allow leaf litter to remain, to be adding an extremely beneficial upper organic layer that returns soil to what it should be, it was never intended to be naked.

I wonder to what extent ‘nature’ is taught in schools, I know in my early 1970’s UK Secondary School it was poorly dealt with. I could do a far better job myself. If art, practical handicraft (ie wood and metalwork) have been near eradicated and music in great decline at state schools then what of nature study?

My usual hobbyhorse of diatoms is a no-fail way to get kids interested.

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