A WILDLIFE conservationist from Badminton is encouraging people to re-engage with nature for the launch of a new awareness campaign.

The BLUE campaign, which is being piloted in Chipping Sodbury by BBC nature documentary producer Fergus Beeley, encourages anyone with access to a green space to give back a piece to nature, helping to develop a connection to nature and promote biodiversity in their area.

The campaign, which is symbolised by a blue heart, is a response to a report published in September which looked at the range of biodiversity in Britain and gave some worrying conclusions about the future.

“I feel we have lost an emotional connection with nature – we are very good at the science side of nature, but our bond with it has started to erode somewhat,” said Fergus.

“Until we reconnect and feel we are actually part of the biodiversity, rather than just spectators, we will continue going in this negative direction.

“By cutting away all the grass and weeding the garden, we are removing shelter and food that animals rely on to survive.

“We expect lots of beautiful butterflies in the springtime with all the wonderful flowers we plant, but how can we expect that if we don’t provide them with the right food when they are caterpillars?”

Hoping to take the campaign national by 2019, Mr Beeley identified Chipping Sodbury as the ideal starting point due to its long running history of keeping in touch with nature.

Partners interested in taking part are also being sought out to form an initial working group, with plans having already been presented to Sodbury Town Council, who have offered their support, along with Waitrose and the Bristol Avon Rivers Trust.

“Sodbury in Bloom do a great job in planting bright flowers and encouraging a beautiful atmosphere in the town, and businesses like Waitrose are already doing the right thing, supporting the conservation of areas around the River Frome.

“At the end of the day the BLUE campaign is not something that requires your money or your time – if anything it is asking you to do less.

“Being ‘Green’ has lost its meaning, it is no longer sustainable and means nothing. What is needed now is a change in mind-set and hopefully we can start to encourage that.”

Among the focuses in the campaign are suggestions for homeowners to simply dedicate a portion of gardens to “growing wild”, leaving the grass uncut and allowing weeds, nettles and other more natural plants grow, and marking the patch with the blue heart.

Fergus said: “By leaving 10 per cent of the garden to grow wild, planting wildflower seeds or hedges, you can give some of your space back to nature. In doing so you will be rewarded with some incredible natural colour.

“That growth will then encourage wildlife to return to the area, with shelter for hedgehogs, birds and other creatures.”

For more information on the BLUE campaign, visit www.bluecampaignhub.com