What is Networks for Nature?
You already know that climate change is exacerbating biodiversity and habitat loss and represents a devastating risk to wildlife – you know that there’s a clear need to reverse species decline in the face of an urgent nature crisis. This starts at home in the UK, where creation and restoration of green spaces that connect wildlife-rich habitats are a vital step towards nature recovery. If our native species are to thrive alongside human needs, investment in wider landscape health and resilience is essential now.
What you might not know is that loss of green spaces and urban isolation from nature is bad for people too. It is well evidenced that there are positive associations between a greener living environment and improved wellbeing outcomes, including: emotional wellbeing, reduced stress and depression, improved resilience, and higher health-related quality of life. The value of nature on our doorsteps was brought into sharp focus during the pandemic, and many people who currently have the least opportunity to access quality green spaces and interact with nature are those likely to benefit the most.
There is a vast appetite for change, and an opportunity to avert a health and wellbeing crisis by reconnecting people with nature and their community. There is a key need to not only set aside land for wildlife, but to incorporate it better into our everyday lives so that we can flourish together.
We know you want to be a part of the solution, so through collective action, we invite you to join Networks for Nature in a shared mission that is unambiguous – to reconnect people with nature, helping wildlife to survive and thrive.
Given the joint needs of nature and people, our vision is for Networks for Nature to create a thriving, wildlife-rich landscape across Northwest Cheshire, created and maintained through community collaboration and partnership. Our collaborative project will create a community across various stakeholders that appreciates, values, and cares for local UK wildlife, enabling a comprehensive response to tackling habitat fragmentation and degradation, alongside urban isolation from nature.
We are creating a resilient community across various stakeholders that values and cares for wildlife, building positive legacy to protect and manage green spaces at nature’s scale into the future. Networks for Nature will meet critical local needs in Cheshire, aiming to stop loss of wildlife and habitats in the face of an urgent nature crisis, and improve wellbeing by reconnecting people with nature.
We are working with landowners including local authorities, environmental organisations and farmers, to create a joined-up network of habitat improvement on ecologically degraded land covering a project area of approx. 60 square miles from the River Dee to the Mersey, including Chester and Ellesmere Port.
Our key objectives are:
- Drive nature recovery in a mixed-use landscape, creating and connecting diverse habitats for species to thrive now and for years to come.
- Make nature more accessible to and inclusive for everyone to enable connection and improve wellbeing.
- Empower more people to have an active role in conservation action and stewardship to create and grow biodiverse habitats.
- Optimise collaborative working across regional stakeholders to establish a strong partnership to support the legacy of Network for Nature into the future.
Who are we?
Chester Zoo is a world-leading conservation charity, driving progress towards a future where nature can not only survive, but thrive. Our global conservation hub sits on the frontline of change, inspiring millions with our passion for protecting our planet. Our conservationists are ensuring the survival of species on the brink of extinction, restoring habitats, sharing knowledge, shifting behaviours towards those that are regenerative, and leading cutting-edge conservation projects around the world. We have a critical role to play in connecting more people with nature, and tackling the challenges faced by wildlife.
We are leading a partnership of key local organisations to enable better, more joined-up impact on our mission towards nature recovery in our region. Each partner brings critical expertise to the group, from ecology and education to land ownership and policy development, and this model enables organisations who wouldn’t necessarily overlap to work together towards a common goal.
How does this project fit into the bigger picture of nature recovery in the UK?
Networks for Nature will directly contribute to the '30 by 30' target (post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework) adopted by the UK government, and meet key policy objectives, including critically delivering a large part of the Local Nature Recovery Strategy led by Cheshire West and Chester Council. It will also help deliver the 15-minute access to nature targets in the Government’s Environmental Improvement Plan.
What impact can you create by supporting us?
Our project provides an opportunity in time to build momentum and utilise learnings to create landscape-scale action through building new relationships and connecting with new audiences to improve and create habitats and broaden access to nature. These spaces are connected to an entire region dedicated to nature recovery, helping to achieve national targets and contribute to global efforts to mitigate climate change and biodiversity loss.
This project will produce a range of tailored activities, providing opportunities for skills development, social engagement, volunteering, learning, and benefits to both physical and mental wellbeing, with many targeted specifically to reach disadvantaged groups within the community.
As Sir David Attenborough so perfectly said:
“No-one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they haven’t experienced”.
Networks for Nature will therefore play a key role in galvanising communities to improve existing spaces for wildlife. This network of spaces will be connected with newly created and restored wildlife-rich habitats via ecological corridors, helping wildlife recover and move through the landscape, and our network of communities will be connected with nature, and each other.
What do we need to make the vision a reality?
We are seeking funding support to help bring Networks for Nature - our flagship UK project - to life.
We are currently in our Development Phase, supported by our valuable partner the National Lottery Heritage Fund (made possible by lottery players), and we're looking to continue this collaboration into our Delivery Phase starting in 2025.
Here's where you come in.
Your financial support for Networks for Nature isn't just an investment; it's the key to unlocking a multi-million-pound project.
Your contribution will ensure greater resilience for UK species dependent on this landscape and accelerate a comprehensive plan to connect people, organisations, and businesses, ensuring a lasting impact.
We would be delighted to discuss the impact of different levels of donation with you.
The benefits of your organisation supporting Networks for Nature include:
- Bring values to life: Translate your organisational values into meaningful action, showcasing a tangible commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
- Dedicated account management: Benefit from personalised account management provided by Chester Zoo, ensuring a tailored partnership and comprehensive impact reporting.
- Support for ESG commitments: Receive support for your Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) commitments, particularly in areas of biodiversity and community engagement, reinforcing your impact objectives.
- Socially responsible narrative: Showcase your organisation as socially responsible and environmentally conscious, aligning with the values of conscious consumers and stakeholders.
- Commitment to climate resilience and community: Demonstrate a broader commitment to the environment and the creation of climate-resilient communities, emphasising long-term sustainability.
- Alignment with customer values: Resonate with your customer base by aligning your business with values related to environmental conservation and community support.
- Employee retention and recruitment: Retain existing staff and position your organisation attractively for recruiting future talents from a conscious talent pool.
- Network collaboration: Connect with a network of local NGO organisations and private sector supporters of Chester Zoo, fostering collaboration and potentially opening doors to new opportunities.
- Employee engagement: Integrate volunteering opportunities into your employee engagement initiatives, providing a meaningful way for staff to contribute to the project. Engage in broader employee discussions about nature, wellbeing, and collective action, creating a workplace environment focused on shared values and sustainable practices.
- Marketing leverage: Use your involvement in the project to leverage marketing messages, enhancing your brand's visibility.
We will collaborate with you to create rewards that are most valuable to your organisation. Examples of what these could look like include:
- Regular updates on the project and an annual impact report
- Individual account manager
- Recognition, for example on our Thank You board, in our digital magazine, in our annual report
- Wildlife Champion Workshops for relevant teams
- Employee benefits including volunteering opportunities, zoo tickets and discounts
- Invitation to zoo-based and tailored events
- Collaboration opportunities with our PR team
- Case study inclusion on the supporter section of our website
- Signature logo promoting support of Networks for Nature and Chester Zoo and the project
We are proud to work with organisations that align with the values of Chester Zoo and reserve the right to return any donations that do not align with our due diligence standards and these values.