Photographer and Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW) Trustee, Mike Alexander has kindly decided to make all of his wonderful photographs available, via his website, to any organisation or individual who is prepared to make a donation to WTSWW.
Mike tells us about using his photo's to raise vital funds and the need to take action to protect WTSWW....
Lockdown has, for me, become a time for communication, for maintaining contact with friends. I am too old to make best use of social media so I use the telephone.
Today, chatting with an old friend, we inevitably began reminiscing about the long careers that we shared in nature conservation. We both began working for the Nature Conservancy Council 34 years ago. We talked about driving at night in the summer and having to stop every few miles to clear the squashed insects off the headlamps. We remembered the Welsh ffridd, the upland fringe between the fields and the mountain, in springtime with cuckoos, green woodpeckers, yellowhammers, bluebells and much more.
One of the Welsh names for bluebells is Clychau'r Gog – Cuckoo bells. The traditional cuckoo poem tells us that, ‘the Cuckoo comes in April and she sings her song in May’. This, of course, coincides with the bluebell flowering period. The ffridd is, or was, the perfect cuckoo habitat in Wales. How many cuckoos have we heard this year and how many green woodpeckers? What about the Curlews, the sound of my childhood in Carmarthenshire? When did anyone last hear a spring time Curlew calling over Carreg Cennen?
Welsh nature is in freefall, and you really don’t need me to remind you. I will remind you that the future of our precious wildlife is in our hands. It is our responsibility, and if we don’t care who else will? Above all, we must care for wildlife for its own sake, but I will also recall a favourite quote, ‘All living things are mutually interdependent’. Our survival as a species on this planet is inextricably dependent on the survival and prosperity of all life, human and non-human. This is a time of crisis and human tragedy and it coincides with an environmental catastrophe. We are teetering on the edge of the sixth mass extinction. Most of us recognise the need for global action, but we must not forget that local action is of equal importance: the globe is nothing more than a collection of localities.
Our Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, the organisation that we rely on to protect our local wildlife, is in considerable difficulty. The corona virus will have a devastating impact on the Trust’s ability to protect nature. The Trust is, in many ways, the victim of past success. Unlike so many other wildlife charities, the greater part of our income is derived from sales outlets, wildlife centres and visitors to our major reserves. Without this income the Trust will be unable to maintain its staff resource, which is so important for the management of our reserves and our work in the wider countryside.
We could lose our reserves, and we could fail our wildlife. We all need to do more to help. Unfortunately, the way in which most of us have helped the Trust has been through volunteering, but lockdown means that this is almost impossible. The obvious alternative is to help raise the essential funds. Each of us can do something. Grand gestures would be wonderful but every little will help.
My small gesture is that have decided to make all my photographs available, via my website, to any organisation or individual who is prepared to make a donation to the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.
There will be no fixed prices, I will rely on people to donate whatever they believe is reasonable, in the knowledge that all donations will be used to conserve wildlife. Please take a moment or two to visit my site, you might find the Skomer Island page interesting, I have included several newly discovered archive photographs of Skomer in the 1880s. All the photographs on my site were taken in Wales and most on nature reserves, if you enjoy the images please consider donating to the Trust. My website provides instructions on how to access the photographs.