WR4Wildlife: the group connecting community and nature
- WR4Wildlife is a nature group in Whalley Range, which aims to ignite curiosity and appreciation for diverse wildlife among residents.
- The group actively champions nature conservation, organises engaging activities, and fosters inclusivity to involve the community in wildlife preservation efforts.
- Julie Elizabeth, who took over the group in 2016, shares insights into the group’s inception and their community efforts.
In the heart of Whalley Range is a dedicated nature group ‘Whalley Range for Wildlife’, also known as WR4Wildlife. Since its inception in January 2011, a collective of like-minded residents has united around a common love for nature and wildlife. Their main objective is to ignite curiosity, elevate knowledge, and cultivate an appreciation for the diverse wildlife cohabiting with the community. By forging a stronger bond with nature, WR4Wildlife believes that the overall well-being of residents can be significantly enhanced.
Julie Elizabeth took over the WR4Wildlife website and group in 2016. Reflecting on the beginnings, Julie spoke to the Northern Quota: “I took over the WR4Wildlife website and group in 2016 from Nadine Andrews who formerly initiated it.” Nadine Andrews formed the group in response to concerns over the restoration of Alexandra Park and the felling of trees back in 2013.
Julie shares that WR4Wildlife’s endeavours involve raising awareness and educating the community about the significance of wildlife conservation. Through thought-provoking workshops, informative talks, and immersive guided walks, residents are educated about the variety of nature and wildlife residing in Whalley Range. WR4Wildlife aims to inspire more active participation in preserving the area’s natural beauty.
Challenges and impactful projects
Discussing the challenges faced, Julie said: “Some of the obstacles or challenges can be various; the council does not always inform us of what they are doing in the park, for example. There have been issues with the ‘Wild Area’ in the park where there were a lot of cutbacks, and local park users were enquiring as to what had happened because it looked quite bare at the time.
There are also still issues with some people throwing bread into the lake to feed the birds and ducks despite notices requesting other feeding options.”
Julie also shared her excitement about past and ongoing projects: “What first got me interested was when Nadine organised a Summer Solstice Weekend event of nature and wildlife activities back in 2015. This is something we have been looking to repeat, but unfortunately, we have been unable to source specialist contributors since then, but it is still on the list.”
WR4Wildlife group’s most recent project is the two lake islands, which was funded by Alexandra Park Wildlife Group. Julie stated that the lake islands have thrived since their installation into the lake and that their goal of increasing biodiversity has been successful.
Joining the conservation movement
Julie extended an open invitation to all nature enthusiasts: “Any interested individuals can get involved by requesting that their name and email address be added via the WR4Wildlife website, and after signing up, they will automatically receive updates of any upcoming activities and events.
To actively engage and involve residents, WR4Wildlife arranges a plethora of activities and events throughout the year – from informative meetings and nature walks to photo competitions. There are guided walks to see either bats or birds.
WR4Wildlife has an emphasis on inclusivity ensuring that everyone’s ideas are valued. Julie said: “We invite anyone of all ages and backgrounds who is interested in what we do to join, and they do not have to have specific skills or qualifications, although that would always be a bonus. We are all volunteers in the project, but some of us also work full-time in other jobs.”
As well as its website, WR4Wildlife actively shares its news, photography, and educational content on Facebook.