Inspiring people to connect with nature

Welcome to Wildlife Friendly Otley. We are a community group working to make Otley the first 'wildlife friendly town' in the UK.

Otley is well situated as an excellent location for wildlife - a small town built around the River Wharfe, nestled in the shadow of the beautiful Chevin Forest Park and benefitting from two designated nature reserves.

News

CALL TO REWILD VERGES TO HELP THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY

In Leeds, the council’s cross-party Climate Emergency Advisory Committee includes an ‘Open Forum,' to allow members of the public to contribute formally to the meeting. Wildlife Friendly Otley's Jane Smith has created a video report for the forum. It states the case for rewilding our verges and unused green spaces around town to improve biodiversity and create 'wildlife corridors' and how this can contribute to Leeds' plans for tackling the climate emergency. Thanks to Nic Shipp for technical help. Watch Jane's illuminating video report by clicking here.

WILDLIFE FRIENDLY OTLEY SUPPORTS BUILD BACK BETTER CAMPAIGN

On the 28th August, representatives from 30 local groups, including our own Chairman gathered in the town square to hand a petition to MP Alex Sobel to urge the governement to Build Back Better. Some have compared the current COVID crisis to the Second World War. Then, as now, it was widely agreed that there was no going back. This campaign asks us questions of those in power; how are we going to build our resilience to future pandemics and tackle the climate and environmental emergency already upon us.

INSPIRED LOCAL ARTIST'S NEW PRINT

We absolutely love this print by local artist, Kate Broughton. We were delighted to play a small part in the creation of the artwork, which celebrates all the wonderful wildlife we have here in Otley. It showcases some wildlife highlights beautifully, you can hang one on your wall too, with each sale a Kate generously donates a percentage of the sale to us!

The print is available through Kate's website - here.

iWHARFE INVESTIGATES THE STATE OF OUR RIVER

On the 24th August a citizen science team called iWharfe and the Environment Agency will test the quality of the river water from the source to its end. The project is a partnership between Ilkley Clean River Group, Addingham Environment Agency and the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust. And is supported by many others, including us! The testing will demonstrate the impact of combined sewage outlets on the river.

THREE PRONGED STRATEGY TO KEEP SPOTLIGHT ON WILDLIFE

We have launched three new intiatives to build on the increased interest in nature and local wildlife has experienced since the pandemic lockdown. Seen in Otley is our new regular bulletin posted on social media. We have also launched Ask the expert to help identify species that you don’t know, answer questions about where to see wildlife locally or how to make gardens more wildlife friendly. The third service is in response to some requests from members of the public about how to get help for injured birds and animals, you can find our wildlife rescue advise here.

For the full story, click here.

WFO Annual Review Oct 2018 to Mar 2020.pdf

18 MONTHS OF PROGRESS

During lockdown we've had the time to produce our first Annual Report, charting progress since our launch in January 2019 until the end of March 2020. There have been many highlights but the biggest achievement has been to engage and inspire more people with the joys of wildlife and help them connect with nature so that they see how vital it is to value and protect our wildlife. Click on document to read in full.

SEEN IN OTLEY TODAY

Soon after the lockdown began Wildlife Friendly Otley started 'Seen In Otley Today' on social media - almost daily posts of different wildlife seen around the town. They rapidly became very popular with people all over Otley logging on to find out what they could spot on the daily walks or time in their gardens. We've collated some or all of them here for general interest. Hope you like them.

Swifts in Y Post.pdf

RETURN OF THE SCREAMING SWIFTS

Our sister project, the Otley Swift Watch featured in the Yorkshire Post supplement Rural Life. Click on the article on the left to read in full, it's fantastic coverage for our beloved Otley swifts.

ENJOYING LOCKDOWN

Even though increased activity by wildlife is normal in springtime it appears that people are seeing birds, animals, bees, butterflies, insects and wildflowers where they haven’t been seen before, even in their own gardens.

For the full story see https://www.wharfedaleobserver.co.uk/news/18408218.enjoying-lockdown---wharfedales-wild-animals/

YOUR WILDLIFE NEEDS YOU!

This year we are working hard to encourage everyone in town to pledge to help wildlife! We have ideas for individuals and families, businesses, community groups and schools. And, if you are already helping Otley's wildlife, please let us know what you're doing on social media by using #mywildlifepledge.

FAMILY PLEDGING TOGETHER

One family in Otley, the Barracloughs, are forging ahead by working through our suggested 'Individual and Family' pledge ideas.

They are the proud builders of the 5-star bug hotel, Bug'ingham Palace!

Check out more of their inspirational work #mywildlifepledge.

CO-OP FUNERAL CARE LEAD BUSINESSES IN PLEDGING

Rob Tindall of Co-Op Funeral Care in Otley has been leading by example for businesses. He has completed eight of our suggested pledge ideas for businesses already. Look at this lovely wildlife friendly pond!

Take a look at his good work #mywildlifepledge

For more news, click here.

Our local partner organisations

Masterhead photography courtesy of Mark Dentonmarkdentonphotographic.co.uk