Extra volunteers to work in nature reserves around Wharfedale could help combat a nationwide decline in many wildlife species.

The State of Nature report from some of the country’s largest conservation bodies recently revealed 60 per cent of targeted species were in decline – with 30 per cent of those under enough of a threat for extinction in the UK to be a serious possibility.

Another report in November, by the Wildlife and Countryside Link, showed Government targets on biodiversity not being met and heading steadily in the wrong direction.

Wharfedale Naturalists Society is committed to making an effort at a local level to counter these declines and hopes to find new people to help with its work in nature reserves.

The Society is actively involved in supporting conservation projects through the provision of grants and plays a major role in the management of Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits, Grass Wood, near Grassington, Otley Wetlands Nature Reserve and Sun Lane in Burley-in-Wharfedale.

In addition, the Friends of Gallows Hill in Otley are hoping to expand their work at the Gallows Hill Nature Reserve.

Work parties are active at the nature reserves, carrying out work to maximise their potential as wildlife hotspots.

The Naturalists say there has been has been a great deal of positive news to report over the years as a direct consequence of volunteering efforts.

Wharfedale Naturalists president Peter Riley said: “Each of these reserves has a steady core of volunteers who have been involved, in some cases, for many years and who have the satisfaction of knowing that they have made a difference.

“This is what partly motivates them to keep coming, but also they find that volunteering of this nature is usually great fun and contributes to promoting their physical fitness – which is why this sort of activity is referred to as the Green Gym.”

Mr Riley says new volunteers are always welcome as there is usually more than enough work to be undertaken at all these sites.

“There is immense satisfaction to be gained from participating in this sort of exercise and seeing a positive end result, both at the time and in the future, as the work undertaken by volunteers gradually improves the habitat on-site thereby increasing the biodiversity over time,” he added.

Contact Mr Riley on (01943) 862916 for more information.