By Jamie Neale, NNR Week Coordinator, Natural England
2023 is a pioneering year for England's most important places for nature, National Nature Reserves (NNRs). Between May 20th and May 29th, the very first National Nature Reserves Week (NNR Week) will take place across the country to celebrate these special places.
NNR Week will be a fitting celebration for NNRs and will showcase their importance to both nature and society. NNRs safeguard and enhance England's most important biodiversity and geodiversity and provide solutions to combat climate change through carbon sequestration. In addition, they are for people to enjoy and connect with nature.
Therefore, these places deserve to be celebrated. NNR Week is the perfect opportunity to discover NNRs by attending one of the 90 events happening at 35 reserves across England.
The week will see Natural England come together with a wide range of NNR Managing organisations, numerous charities, and community partners to put on a multitude of different events. Some events have a focus on wellbeing such as yoga, to others with a heavier focus on nature, such as beaver and amphibian walks. Lastly, there will also be events that give you the opportunity to experience what it's like working and volunteering in England's most important places for nature.
Why NNRs deserve to be celebrated
There are countless reasons why NNRs should be celebrated. Firstly, they are England's most important places for protecting and enhancing our wildlife. They support over 17,000 species, 1,000 of which are of 'principal importance' to conservation in the UK.
Furthermore, as key biodiversity hotspots, NNRs are at the heart of establishing a nature recovery network and are central in the government's ambition to achieve biodiversity net gain in 2030. NNRs are also key to tackling climate change, with those managed by Natural England removing the equivalent of over 185,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
'No one will protect what they don't care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced.' - David Attenborough
Whilst NNRs help to protect vitally important parts of our natural heritage - our geology, habitats, and species- what makes them even more special is that they are for all people to discover, experience, enjoy and connect with nature. Most NNRs managed by Natural England can be visited free of charge, making them ideal places for people to unearth a new passion for looking after nature and contribute towards improving England's environment to a state where wildlife can thrive.
So, whether you want to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of connecting with nature, do more for nature through volunteering, participate in citizen science, or learn about and be inspired by Britain's incredible natural history, then NNRs are for you. There is something for everyone.
For more information about NNR Week visit NNRWeek.com