Our vision needs YOUR support

Somerset Wildlife Trust is coming to the end of its five year strategy.  We want to ensure that going forwards, we use our resources wisely in order to have the greatest impact for the county's natural places and wildlife and people. You, and all those that live and work in the county, benefit in some way from a healthy, functioning natural environment, so we want you to play a part in helping us develop a new strategy that will best support Somerset’s wildlife and the places they call home. We want you on our journey towards a Wilder Somerset.

We're going to be honest. This isn't a quick, five minute tick box kind of survey. Coming up with a strategy to restore nature across Somerset is complex. We know that you have views, and it's important that we collect them properly as they will make a very real and genuine contribution to the process. So please take the necessary time to share them in their fullest with us.  So grab a cup of tea, a biscuit or two as this survey is likely to take you 20 minutes to complete. Before you start, if you would like to, you are very welcome to read our full consultation document here, which goes into more detail.  Towards a Wilder Somerset

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Our vision for Somerset is a county teaming with wildlife valued by everyone. We see landscapes full of flowers, accompanied by a chorus of bird song and buzzing with insects. We envisage habitats, green spaces and natural places of all shapes and sizes that are enjoyed, shared and cared for by people and their communities, woven together into a rich, living tapestry – an environmental life support network for the entire county. We picture a healthy and resilient environment where the needs of wildlife, people, and local economies are balanced in a way that will support our lives now, and those of our children in the future

But globally nature is in trouble. Biodiversity is declining rapidly across the world and in the UK 56% of all species (plants, invertebrates, mammals, fungi, birds, trees) are in decline. Despite huge efforts by ourselves and other statutory and NGO partners, biodiversity and the abundance of wildlife continues to decline across Somerset in all but a few protected sites, and even wildlife in protected sites is threatened by the loss of species in the wider landscape. There are fewer wild places, and those that exist are smaller, less wild and more polluted making it harder for wildlife to survive.

Climate breakdown is exacerbating these pressures. We’re living in a warming world which is triggering extreme weather events, sea level rise, slow but sure changes in life-cycle timings and altered species distribution and migration patterns. We simply need to do more. And faster.

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* 1. If you had to choose two key priorities that would have the greatest impact in creating a Wilder Somerset what would they be? Please choose just TWO from the list below

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Helping nature recover across Somerset's landscapes

Somerset Wildlife Trust manages 68 nature reserves across the county covering 1,700 hectares of land. Our reserves provide a vital refuge for a wide range of wildlife in Somerset’s connected landscape, but we know that, while they are vitally important, it will not be possible to reverse the declines of wildlife by protecting these sites alone.  If we are going to succeed in restoring the natural environment at the scale and pace necessary, we are going to have to change some of the ways we operate. Our nature reserves are core areas in the landscape but they are becoming increasingly isolated as the biodiversity of the surrounding land deteriorates. We will have to decide whether to invest our time and resources in protecting isolated sites or focus on improving the wider landscape to improve the number of species everywhere; we can do this through increased advice services, delivering improvements on third party land and by buying low quality land for biodiversity and allowing nature to return. 


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* 2. Where should Somerset Wildlife Trust invest our resources to have the greatest impact for wildlife in Somerset? Please put the following in order of priority, where 1 represents what you think is the most important and 7 the least.

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* 3. In brief, can you explain how you arrived at your ranking?

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* 4. Is there another way we should choose to focus our resources that is not on this list, that you feel should be? 

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* 5. Do you agree with this statement?: In order to best protect Somerset’s diverse wildlife populations, it is right that we focus the majority of our limited resources into providing and safeguarding a wide range of enriched and well-connected habitats that support our wildlife as a whole, rather than to focus on individual species conservation.

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* 6. In brief, can you explain your thinking to arriving at this answer

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Inspiring and connecting people with nature

We know we cannot reverse the decline in biodiversity in Somerset without the support of the people who live and work here, yet as people we are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature. We need to identify where we, as Somerset Wildlife Trust, can achieve the greatest impacts to inspire, engage and connect with Somerset’s communities. We must make choices about our engagement programme; we could focus on delivering inspiring experiences (educational sessions, events programmes) in targeted areas or we could support communities, teachers and businesses to do this themselves.  Our reserves provide a great opportunity for people to experience nature, and we need to consider how we can give visitors the best experience possible. We also need to make sure that nature is on everyone’s doorstep whether they are in the heart of the Levels or the heart of Taunton.

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* 7. Where can Somerset Wildlife Trust have the greatest impact in engaging, inspiring and connecting communities to take action for nature? Please choose 5 from the list below that you feel will best help us do this.

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Standing up for nature

Across the county wildlife and wild places are under increasing threat from a range of issues including changes in land use, development and intensive agricultural practices. To restore nature at scale in Somerset, it is vital that we work with Somerset’s local government, businesses, economic and political leaders to highlight the value of nature in Somerset in ways that are relevant to them. Recognising the social and economic importance of nature is a good way to drive strong leadership for Somerset’s natural environment. 

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* 8. How can Somerset Wildlife Trust most effectively Stand up for Nature?
Please put the following in order of priority, where 1 represents what you think is the most important and 8 the least.

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* 9. In brief, can you explain your thinking to arriving at your ranking. 

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* 10. How would you get involved in creating a Wilder Somerset? Please tick all that you would consider.

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* 11. How might Somerset Wildlife Trust best support you to work towards a Wilder Somerset?  Select all those below that you feel would be worthwhile us offering you.

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Climate Change

Globally we are facing two inter-connected environmental crises: a climate emergency, declared by the UK Parliament and all county and district councils in Somerset; and an ecological emergency with over one million species at risk of extinction. With large areas low lying across the county, Somerset is one of the places in the UK on the front line of climate change that will be significantly impacted by sea level rises, storm events and droughts which puts the health of our natural ecosystems at risk.  In the coming years we will face stark choices about building a resilient environment that is able to adapt to the changing climate or trying to preserve the species and landscapes we currently have.  We must be honest about these choices and together agree how to adapt to a changing climate that means Somerset has wildlife-rich landscapes for future generations to enjoy. We must engage with decision makers to consider a long-term vision for Somerset that adapts to climate change considering nature, infrastructure, housing and the economy. 


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* 12. Where do you think Somerset Wildlife Trust should focus its efforts to provide positive solutions to climate change, for the greatest impact across the county. Please put the following in order of priority, where 1 represents what you think is the most important and 8 the least.

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* 13. In brief, can you explain your thinking to arriving at your ranking. 

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* 14. Personal Details

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* 15. Age

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* 16. Do any children live in your household? (under the age of 18)

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* 17. What is the nature of your relationship with Somerset Wildlife Trust? (tick all that apply)

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* 18. If you are a member, how long have you been a member of Somerset Wildlife Trust?

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* 19. Employment status

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* 20. If employed, which of the following best describes your current occupation?

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* 21. Which race/ethnicity best describes you? (Please choose only one.)

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* 22. Data Protection

We are committed to keeping the personal details of our members and supporters safe. For more details on our privacy policy and how we use your data, please go here: Privacy Policy

We would like to keep in touch with you about the survey, the results, the new strategy and other news about the Trust and its work. Please select from the below how you like us to stay in touch with you.

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* 23. If you answered yes to email, phone or post, please provide the relevant details.

We must be united, determined and positive

We know that there are huge challenges ahead. What is clear is that the positive action we take here in Somerset to restore our natural world and prepare it for the future – both as an individual organisation, collectively as a partner with other stakeholders in the county alongside how we act as individuals, plays an incredibly important part in transforming the national and global picture into one of renewed hope and recovery. But we cannot do this alone. Collaboration is vital. You, are vital.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do the survey.  

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