For many of us, nature has provided solace and respite from Coronavirus worries during the lockdown. Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust has reported an increase in visitor numbers to their nature reserves. Sadly, there has also been a dramatic influx of anti-social behaviour, from littering and barbecues to vandalism and illegal camping.
At Tring Reservoirs, one of the best bird-watching spots in southern England and popular among local residents, the Trust has received reports of people swimming and boating on the reservoirs.
The Trust’s Nature Reserves Manager Laura Baker emphasizes that this poses a danger to birds and people alike: ‘The reservoirs are very deep and the edges are steep so swimming or boating on the reservoirs can be dangerous. Aside from the danger of drowning, entering the lakes can disturb breeding birds, not only along the edges but also in the middle of the lake where birds can find respite from potential threats.’
The Trust welcomes all visitors to enjoy and discover wildlife on their nature reserves in a respectful way – towards wildlife and other people. Please take your litter home with you, don’t light fires or barbecues at nature reserves and don’t swim or boat on lakes – collect only memories, leave only footprints.
Due to the Coronavirus crisis, the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust had to suspend events, fundraising activities and membership recruitment which are a crucial way to fund the work of the charity. As a result, the Trust is currently projecting to lose around £250,000 in income this year.
Please support Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust in this difficult time by donating to the COVID-19 emergency appeal at hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/appeal.