Seeing new born nature at work with Natuurmonumenten – Holland’s largest nature conservation organization.
Iwas lucky enough to join Hanne and José, two of 400 Natuurmonumenten forresters to visit the nature reserves in Pietersberg, Maastricht. Here, Weleda and Natuurmonumenten, are working together to restore nature.
Sorry to share this statistic with you but only 15% of biodiversity is left in Holland. But this isn’t a sad story, if anything, the opposite.
The wonky wheel doesn’t have to be the circle of life
We know that we are doing some pretty damaging things to our planet. We’re a bit bent out of shape and we know we are not enjoying the smoothest of rides into the future. But what I am loving learning is it doesn’t take much to straighten ourselves out, and bend the circle of life into shape.
Together we stood overlooking the perfect ‘before and after scenario’ of new born nature at work.
To our left is the ENCI quarry which will be returned to Natuurmonumenten in 2020 and turned into limestone based nature. To the right you can see supported nature at work. As we walked 70 meters down the stairs we travelled back 70 million years, four ocean dwelling Mosasaurus dinosaur fossils were even found here.
Some might say that even when restored this land will never be the same as it once was – but is that a bad thing? Maybe the changed environment now can bring a new type of life the original topography couldn’t provide? Nature is adapt, and it can thrive as we could see in front of our own eyes.
It’s only 8 years since Natuurmonumenten have been involved the area and has seen it become the home of eagle owls, butterflies, orchids bats and over 150 new species of plants.
Together Weleda and Natuurmonumenten have brought more flowers and plants into nature – restoring over 300,000 squares meters in three years. That sounds like a lot, but rather than looking at the big things, let’s look for a moment at the small details.
Hanne’s tips to attract insects
- Place plants in your garden which flower all year round
- Help the bees to get some extra food i.e. with some honeycomb from last year or sugar water
- Let nature go its own way, leave for example dead wood laying around.
- Place an insect hotel in your garden with flowering plants in the vicinity
What lives in one square meter of new born nature?
The man to unearth the answer to this question was National Geographic photographer Edwin Giesbers – a man famous for his micro photography masterpieces of nature. It was his challenge to capture the life living in only a few meters of Natuurmonumenten nature reserve. Here’s what he uncovered.
The new native neighbors at Natuurmonumenten nature reserve
Here are some of their other buddies that live in the area
Think big. Act small.
Did you know that we have lost 76% of our insects in the last 30 years?
What I love learning most whilst wandering the Weleda world is that it doesn’t have to be hard to make an impact. If we all simply increased the number of plants and flowers we all have around us, we will increase the numbers of insects and bees too. Not such a drastic change is it!
Why has this happened?
Climate change, pollution, mono culture farming, invasive species, deforestation and habitat loss are all leading causes for why just 15% of our biodiversity remains when you compare to 100 years ago.
Meet the Tiny 5 that live in our own backyards
You might be surprised to meet the insects we can all find in our gardens – the bee, the worm, the lady bug, the butterfly and the woodhouse. These guys might be small, but they just might just be natures five most important employees. These tiny superstars were all found and filmed in the Weleda garden in Zoetermeer.
The Lady Bug – not just a pretty shell
The Woodlouse – keeping it grounded
The Butterfly and the Bee – nature’s pollinators
The Worm – The humble hero
We need to do something. But it doesn’t have to be hard.
What if we all donated the space of one garden tile in our backyards back to nature?
Let’s imagine your backyard. You see those patio tiles there… the big ones, roughly a square meter? Can you find one that you don’t really need? One that you could lift and turn into a mini garden bed of different plants? Remember all those things that Edwin found is such a small space, biodiverse life can live at your place too.
As you already heard, Weleda and Natuurmonumenten have restored 300,000 squares meters of land in three years, it’s a lot but if we could all just remove that one tile from our backyards we can contribute much, much more.
Nature is inspirational
Seeing the before and after of where we have been to where we can go so clearly in front of my eyes was a moment that I will never forget. The resilience of nature and its natural optimism was exhilarating to watch. I couldn’t help but make my own quiet promise to do what I can to help nature restore itself and make this circle of life be a little less wonky.
So, would you donate a tile to nature? What would you plant there?
Tiny 5 films
Director: Miguel Teixeira
Producer: Rosa Wezenberg
Script writer: Peter Gigg
Editor: Chris Hicks
DoP: Wouter Verberkt
Agency: MEC Global
Project Manager: Rogier de Vries
Head of Production: Camiel Verhey
Art Director: Joshua Hoogeboom
Copywriter: Martin Stuk
BTS photographer: Lucy Henshall
Edwin Giesbers – National Geographic