Ulster Wildlife’s nature reserves protect over 850 ha in Northern Ireland, delivering a local and international public benefit by conserving, restoring and managing a range of significant threatened habitat types – almost half of identified NI priority habitats are represented on our reserves. Public benefit is also derived from conservation of the
gene pool of a range of species; 42% of NI priority species are found on our sites. Our reserves provide a range of ecosystem services including climate regulation, water and air purification and offer amenity value to all members of the public. Ulster Wildlife also carries out a range of education and community engagement projects. Learning in the natural environment provides direct benefits to education, health and well-being as well as indirect benefits ranging from social to financial. Volunteering has been described as the ‘glue that holds societies together’; the United Nations recognised its importance when it declared 2001 the year of volunteering. Contemporary research demonstrates the positive effects of volunteering to ecological restoration. In the UK urban areas make up 9% of the total land area, yet 80% of the population lives there (ONS 2010). Increasing efforts need to be made to re-connect people with nature so that nature’s restorative processes can be realised. Using artistic and cultural activities is another route to understanding the environment, allowing a greater number of people to make a connection with nature indirectly. Exercise and/or volunteering in the natural environment have been shown to have positive effects. The NHS currently reports that exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%. There is also extensive research which demonstrates the role of the natural environment in condition management strategies for a range of illnesses, notably mental health. Private benefit across all our objects is entirely incidental; e.g. the necessary employment of staff to maintain and restore reserves, deliver education programmes, co-ordinate volunteers and deliver projects. No harm arises from any of our purposes....
What your organisation does
Ulster Wildlife Trust is a nature conservation organisation, caring for wildlife and campaigning on wildlife issues in Northern Ireland. We do this through our work in: • Restoring and protecting natural biodiversity and key species, habitats and ecosystems through the management of nature reserves throughout Northern Ireland. This includes the
physical management of the reserves, combating the threat to native wildlife by invasive species and species and habitat monitoring activities. These reserves have been recognised at regional national and international levels. • Inspiring people to champion wildlife and value nature by carrying out a variety of education and community engagement projects, both for children and adults focusing on both land and marine environments. Tangible benefits are evidenced through educational programmes and project work we run in partnership with organizations such as Schools, Councils, Caring Breaks and Special Schools. • Providing volunteering opportunities across the organisation, through work on our reserves and other projects. Volunteers work with us at education and awareness raising events and volunteers also make a significant contribution to our policy and research work. Volunteers have reported increased confidence and enhanced self-esteem. Volunteers also reported they had gained new skills and knowledge and felt that their employment prospects had been enhanced. • Promoting awareness, knowledge and appreciation of the natural environment through a variety of events and project based work on key species and habitats. • Promoting awareness of health and wellbeing through activities linked to the natural environment through education and volunteering work. We provide public access on the majority of the reserves we own and manage and deliver programmes and activities linked to health and well being e.g. Natural World Challenge for adults with learning disabilities, Parklife educational sessions....
The charity’s classifications
- The advancement of environmental protection or improvement
Who the charity helps
- General public
How the charity works
- Environment/sustainable development/conservation
- Volunteer development