Heal Rewilding

Heal Rewilding

At a glance

Causes

  • Environment

Other details

Organisation type: 
Charity
Geographical remit: 
National - England

Objectives

Heal was founded in March 2020 to take urgent, direct action on the two existential crises of our age, nature loss and climate change, and to support human wellbeing by enabling free access to local, wilder landscapes. We raise money to buy land and rewild it, with the aim of  creating new spaces for nature in perpetuity in every English county. We focus on England because the country is in 234th place (where 1st is optimal) in the global ranking of the health of nature in 240 countries and territories. Habitat loss and pollution continue to drive species decline at an unbearable rate, with nearly one in six UK species threatened with extinction. Last year, our charity acquired an ecologically depleted former dairy farm in east Somerset (460 acres/186ha), the first of 48 sites planned across England. Humankind benefits from these new strongholds at scale dedicated to nature; the nature positive changes in those spaces act to combat climate change in several ways, contributing to national and global net zero goals; and people learn, share, connect with nature and inspire action across communities.

There are multiple impacts from our work. Biodiversity on our sites should increase threefold or fourfold over a 20-year period, based on unpublished data from the UK’s leading rewilding project, Knepp Wildland. Our impact from the sequestration of carbon will be measurable over time from a baseline. Our impact on people includes online follower numbers reaching nearly 18,000, and annual in-person visitors to Heal Somerset expected to hit several thousand over the next few years with resources going into ensuring this includes a diverse group of beneficiaries. A great deal has been achieved at Heal Rewilding in just three years and with only two and a half members of staff during that time. 
 

Activities

Giving space back to nature means much more than a new way of using land – rewilding has become a synonym for hope, a source of light in a dark pit of anxiety and helplessness many people feel about the decline in nature. It is a means of reversal and a reason for optimism; all is not lost, they say, something can be done. Heal’s work is a wellspring of passion and energy around acting in the face of the environmental and climate emergencies. Our work has impacted people globally, nationally and locally:
 

Global - Our idea for World Rewilding Day, actioned by the Global Rewilding Alliance, has reached over four million people over the last two years. Over 37,000 people from 101 countries have visited our website.

National - The work at our foundation rewilding site (and planned future sites) directly helps to solve the biodiversity crisis affecting the whole UK population, and our Heal Somerset site serves visitors and volunteers nationally, open 50 weeks a year and free to
access, and is within 90 minutes’ drive of around 1.5 million people. Our community of supporters numbers nearly 18,000 on social media and we have over 4,100 subscribers to our newsletters. Over 1,000 people have attended webinars and live events and we forecast that in the next five years, this figure will increase to 3,000 or more. Stories in the media about our work have reached over 4.4 million people. Our event Resurgence: Youth Rewilding Summit has been attended by 200 young people over the past two years.

Local - We expect visitor numbers to the Heal Somerset site over the coming years to grow to several thousand per year and going forward, for several hundred volunteers a year from the general public and businesses to enjoy and benefit from being active in
nature. Nearly 3,000 people have sponsored one of our Heal 3x3 squares, giving them a strong connection to a 3m by 3m patch of land being rewilded at Heal Somerset and this scheme has capacity to involve tens of thousands of people over time.

Heal Somerset - Heal has acquired an ecologically depleted former dairy farm in east Somerset (460 acres/186ha), the first of 48 sites, run a pop-up camping site, hosted a training day in partnership with The Bumblebee Conservation Trust and piloted an evening event to introduce the local community to bats and their ecology. We also run regular ‘pre-wilding’ tours to enable people to learn about rewilding and ecology.

We have begun to measure our success through data gathering and analysis: wellbeing questionnaires in nature-based social prescribing work; soil and habitat sampling for carbon stock changes; and in our nature recovery work, techniques including bioacoustics, eDNA, vegetation structure analysis, soil chemistry, hydrology and species surveys.
 

No current opportunities

Search for volunteer opportunities with other organisations.