When I became GWCT Chairman two years ago, I spoke about the huge challenges that lay ahead. Few could have predicted the scale of the challenges not just facing us, but society at large.
Despite the issues we all face, the work of the GWCT must go on.
Across the country, there are men and women working hard for wildlife. Farmers, gamekeepers and others working on private land for the benefit of wildlife alongside its practical use.
For over 80 years, GWCT research has helped to inform the way this land is managed, but more and more this alone is not enough to win the argument. One of the challenges we face right now is how to ensure the big decisions are made with science in mind.
It took almost twenty years for a national hen harrier strategy to be agreed. Since then, we have seen legal challenges and obstructions by those keen to stop people getting on with it, despite its early results being so promising.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Misinformation in the press and on social media, decisions made on the back of petitions rather than the available science has resulted in bizarre last-minute amendments to policy.
Those working hard to help our countryside and its wildlife to thrive cannot, and should not, be straitjacketed like this. I am proud to represent an organisation, one supported by passionate members, that is committed to standing up for wildlife and those working hard to support it.
That’s why I am launching our Unleash the Science Fund. And asking for your support here.
To help us challenge misinformation about our countryside and give working conservationists a voice. To undertake cutting-edge research, brief policymakers, challenge bad practice, give you the chance to have your say in government consultations, and keep every single GWCT member informed about what is going on in our countryside.
To do this I need your help.
I need you to make a donation to my Unleash the Science Fund today >
This fund will give us the confidence to plan ahead for the challenges we continue to face. It supports over 60 scientific staff, who are out there come rain or shine collecting the data we need to improve the national understanding of wildlife and active management.
It empowers us to stand up for working conservation and challenge misinformation in the media. And it allows us to reach more than 50,000 email subscribers every week and tens of thousands more on social media, giving them a robust, evidence-led account of what is happening in our countryside.
We know that money is still tight, but we can’t afford to stand still. We are a small organisation with limited resources, but we have a real impact.
Fundraising throughout a pandemic has been tough, but our research has carried on, and we have continued our commitment to fighting misinformation. We have launched What the Science Says, a fact-checking website to clearly present the scientific facts behind claims made in the media.
So today I am asking you to get behind our research staff, our advisors and our policy team and donate to the Unleash the Science Fund here.
You will have seen others asking for funds to support their latest legal challenge, whether it’s about badgers, pheasants or general licences. We, on the other hand, will be using your vital donation in a more positive way - to undertake leading research and to put it directly in the hands of those making our laws.
Some organisations rely on a handful of television presenters to get their emotional message out. We have something far more powerful. With you and 20,000 others like you, we can stand up for the future of British conservation and deliver real change on the ground.
I’m personally asking you to make a donation here.
To ensure we make the most of the opportunities that come our way and give our countryside its best chance of a better future, I need your help.
I hope I can count on you once more.