Businesses take a walk on the Rewilding side
What exactly is rewilding, and what does it mean for businesses?
This is one of the questions I asked myself way back in March 2018 after reading about rewilding as a concept.
Rewilding involves restoring an area of land to its natural uncultivated state, and is used especially with reference to the reintroduction of species of wild animal that have been driven out or exterminated.
There are many challenging and really successful rewilding projects throughout Europe, and indeed the UK. These include Carrifan Wildwood, Dingle Marshes, Great Fen, Wild Ennerdale and Knepp Castle Estate. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Charlie Burrell, the owner of Knepp Estate, a very successful 3,500-acre farm in West Sussex that has undergone regeneration and restoration aimed at rewilding. Effectively, it has been handed back to nature – making it a leading rewilding project in the UK.
Back in March 2018, through our Community Interest Company Climate Action North East and with the support of IEMA, we decided to run a series of events about rewilding. The first was simply entitled ‘Rewilding – An Introduction’. It was followed by ‘Rewilding in Practice’ and then ‘Rewilding the Future’.
The Rewilding the Future conference, which took place in September, featured our main speaker Chris Packham and was the culmination of the three events. Our aim was to raise awareness of rewilding within the business sector, mobilise action for projects that could encourage smaller scale and more manageable rewilding, and kick-start partnerships and create future business collaboration opportunities.
As well as bringing together business people to share knowledge and information, we held three mini ‘hacks’ to come up with new perspectives and inspiration for everyone – and to agree a course of action across north-east England and beyond. The hacks looked at various elements of biodiversity projects, including Barriers & Challenges, Successes & Achievements, and Partnerships.
The event was hugely successful – more than 120 people from businesses all across the North East attended, and the majority signed up to a North East Task Force to take forward a number of projects that will address and improve biodiversity across the region.
To find out more about the rewilding conference and to keep in touch with us regarding our future rewilding work, please do contact us at www.climateactionnortheast.org.uk