Somerset Wildlife Trust needs your help to raise £10,750 online in just one week to ensure Somerset’s heron populations continue to thrive.

Grey Heron. Photo: Graham Hall

Somerset Wildlife Trust’s project ‘Homes for Herons’ has been selected to take part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge – the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign –  which helps charities raise funds for good causes during a week-long campaign.

The Big Give Christmas Challenge campaign runs between midday on Tuesday 27th November and midday on 4th December online. All online donations given to Homes for Herons in this week will be matched by generous third party pledgers. If we reach the £10,750 target online, this will bring the total raised in one week to £21,500 –  an amount which will have a lasting impact on the future of heron species in Somerset.

Great White Egret. Photo: Graham Hall

An incredible 7 species of heron now live on the Avalon Marshes, when 40 years ago there were just 2 species across the whole of the UK. However, the future of this diverse family of birds is far from secure, and without careful habitat management, these majestic birds will not be able to thrive.

If successful, the project ‘Homes for Herons’ will help fund vital improvements to heron habitats on SWT’s Westhay Moor National Nature Reserve, for example structured reed cutting, and provide better access to the more remote areas of its reserves. Monitoring is also crucial to identify successful breeding pairs, as well as continuously review heron populations. The use of new technology, such as cameras that can blend into reedbeds, will allow this with much lower levels of disturbance. This footage will also allow us to share our findings and the joys of the Avalon Marshes and its heron populations with those who cannot visit themselves.

Little Egret at Porlock Marsh. Photo: Nigel Phillips

It is hoped that this work will increase the chance of breeding success for both newer heron arrivals like the Black-crowned Night Heron and Great White Egret, as well as more established heron species.

Mark Blake, Senior Reserves Manager at our Avalon Marshes reserves says:

“The Avalon Marshes are not only one of the finest remaining lowland wetlands in Britain but are internationally important for the amazing species you can find here. The rare herons like Bittern, Great White Egret and Night Heron that are living and breeding here are only found in a few places in Britain, so it is vital that we can continue to provide their ideal habitat. The Big Give Christmas Challenge is an amazing opportunity to support and protect a truly special place and ensure the incredible birds that live there continue to call Somerset home  – your donation will literally make double the difference so please give what you can.”

Bittern. Photo: Jerry Hawker

More information and how to give

For more information about the Big Give Christmas Challenge and to give a donation (between 27th November and 4th December) that will have twice the impact – please go to our page here.  Here you will find information about our ‘Homes for Herons’ project. Our project page on the Big Give website can be found here, where you can make a donation. Thank you so much for your generosity!