For 60 years Surrey Wildlife Trust’s mission has been to restore nature across Surrey and to inspire people to value and take action for wildlife. They manage over 80 reserves in the county and last year alone restored 2,700 ha of heathland habitats and created 700m of hedgerows for the benefit of wildlife.

Location: Pirbright, Surrey

In 2017-18 the Trust welcomed 1.3 million visitors to their reserves and they help to improve the mental and physical health and wellbeing of communities by offering hundreds of inspiring events and volunteering opportunities throughout the year for people of every age, ability and mobility.

Education is at the heart of Trust activities and each year 15,000 children and young people benefit from engaging with wildlife at their Educational Reserves, including many students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Surrey Wildlife Trust is supported by over 1,500 volunteers who commit their enthusiasm, experience and 44,000 hours of their time to helping to care for their environment throughout the year, earning them the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2018.

The organisation also manages one of the largest herds of Belted Galloway cows which, along with red deer, goats and sheep are used for conservation grazing, a technique which is perfectly suited to the Surrey landscapes and varied habitats. These animals, along with grazing ponies also provide valuable training opportunities for students at The University of Surrey Vet School.

The Trust works with a number of partners and landowners to ensure that habitats, which have become increasingly fragmented, become linked up to create natural corridors in order to ensure a safe future for wildlife and wild spaces which can be enjoyed by future generations.

Sarah Jane Chimbwandira, Chief Exec of Surrey Wildlife Trust, said:

We are so thrilled to have been shortlisted for this award and extremely grateful to Groundwork for the opportunity. 2019 is our 60th anniversary and marks a milestone for Surrey Wildlife Trust. With a third of species now under threat or already extinct in Surrey, the pressures on our natural world have never been greater – but the desire to protect wildlife is as strong for us today as it was back in 1959. We now have the chance to shape environmental laws and protect wildlife for generations to come and winning this award would ensure even more people know about what we do and why it’s so important and, we hope, will encourage even more support for the work we do. If we act now, in 60 years’ time wildlife could be thriving and at the heart of everyday life.