This year has been a weird and wonderful journey. From featuring in Nick Offerman’s latest book, to enjoying croissants and coffee with Red Squirrels, featuring on BBC Autumnwatch and co-hosting a Tyne Kittiwake send off gig in North Shields.
As always, summer was our busiest season for hosting wildlife experiences, and we’ve loved every single second. This year we’ve hosted 113 Mini Expeds, sharing nature with 916 attendees, including 263 children. With 5 new wildlife experiences launched, our collection has grown to 13 Mini Expeds plus 2 new Wildlife Photography Hides.
We’ve worked with 26 top notch, fully lovely small businesses and other organisations in The North to help us share nature with you this year. Including hooking up with new organisations such as the RSPB at Wild Haweswater in the Lake District National Park, where our new Wildlife Photography Hides are based.
We’re really passionate that Wild Intrigue supports a nature-based economy in The North, showing that employment (and enjoyment!) through nature is possible, in urban and rural locations. Sharing our vision and expertise in nature based experiences with land managers such as this helps to show that nature has a place in The North – and that people want to get out there and experience it. In turn, this helps to support the conservation of what we already have, as well as to create a demand for even more of it. We want people to be as greedy for nature as we are – and we’re chuffed to bits that our attendees are!
This year our attendees have helped us to financially support small businesses and sustainable land managers by choosing to explore nature with us. For example, this year, we have raised £1235 for Tyne Kittiwakes conservation through our 5 Kittiwakes & Doughnuts Mini Expeds and our Tyne Kittiwake Celebration gig co-hosted with Hector Gannet at The Engine Room.
We’ve joined some incredible new projects this year, such as Wild Ennerdale’s ambitious plans to reintroduce beavers to the Ennerdale Valley – for which we’re delivering the community engagement. We’ve also taken on educational school visits at the Rebanks family’s Racy Ghyll Farm, inspiring young people that nature restoration and food production can go hand in hand.
One thing has been clear to us this year: regardless of whether ‘rewilding’ or ‘nature friendly farming’ or ‘conservation’ is taking place, there are networks of outstanding people doing brilliant things in The North of England to protect wildlife, restore landscape-scale ecological process, inspire people, return lost species – and, best of all, to find ways to work together to do it. We can’t tell you how happy we are to be a small cog in this dynamic world.
It’s not just us who love to brag about the people and wildlife of The North, there have been some brilliant publications sharing our work too. Admittedly, featuring in Nick Offerman’s book – Where the Deer and the Antelope Play – is high up on our list this year! We were so honoured to have had such a wonderful feature, and we’re proud to host our Frogs & Flapjacks Mini Expeds, so coined by Nick.
Our Woodland Wildlife Hide featured in a beautiful piece with Isi the Scribe on BBC Autumnwatch, and was highlighted in BBC Wildlife Magazine, The Guardian, RSPB Nature’s Home and other publications as a top spot to photograph Red Squirrels.
We’ve been careful through the years to grow Wild Intrigue ‘sustainably’ – so it doesn’t get ahead of itself. So, when we decided that 2021 was the year to register Wild Intrigue as a Community Interest Company – it was a huge cause for celebration for us! To dedicate our small social enterprise to a bolder future was a really exciting step forward, and we’re only just at the start of this journey to increase the impact we can make for nature and people in The North.
The two of us (Heather and Cain) have enjoyed steering Wild Intrigue through another unpredictable but promising year, with our new Co-Director Phil joining us for the journey. Now, we’re ready to level up our impact in The North, for nature and people.
THANK YOU to each and every one of you for joining us to be part of it.