Charity takeover with the Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Hands up – who thinks of soggy fields and lacklustre landscapes when they hear the word ‘bogs’? (Or perhaps you're thinking of a colloquial term for the, ahem, toilet.) You’re probably not alone… but we’ve got news! This is a major misrepresentation of one of nature’s most impressive habitats. 

Peatlands (less glamorously known as ‘bogs’) are incredibly diverse, fascinating natural phenomenons with climate-crisis tackling superpowers. They take thousands of years to form, for a start, and store up to 30 times more carbon per hectare than a healthy tropical rainforest. They also help reduce flooding, improve water filtration, and are great for wildlife biodiversity. Impressive, huh?

We know all of this because we support the work of the Cumbria Wildlife Trust – a brilliant voluntary organisation devoted to the conservation of the wildlife and wild places of Cumbria. (In fact, it’s the only organisation devoted solely to this.) The Cumbria Wildlife Trust carries out some truly incredible conservation work, including peatland restoration, pollinator protection, and nature recovery in the Irish Sea. 

You can read more about their work here >

A quick recap for those who don’t know: Here at Ticket Tailor we donate 1p (1.3c) for every ticket sold through our platform to important climate causes. Back in 2021 we partnered with three climate charities – Ocean Conservation Trust, RainForestUK, and Cumbria Wildlife Trust – for healthier oceans, healthier forests, and healthier bogs. 

Below, we chat to the Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s Michelle to learn all about their fantastic work, and how Ticket Tailor users are supporting this with every ticket sale they make 🙏.

Ticket Tailor: Ticket Tailor donations go specifically towards helping Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s peatland restoration projects. So, what exactly are peatlands? 

Michelle: Peatlands are made up of decaying plant material – but because the land’s so waterlogged, this material can’t rot, so it builds up in a thick layer of peat. It’s an incredibly slow process – it can take about 1000 years to make just one metre of peat. Cumbria is home to peatlands that are up to 10m deep, showing just how long they’ve been around!  

Peatlands are superheroes of the natural world because of their carbon-locking abilities, as well as the way they promote wildlife biodiversity. They also help to reduce flooding and improve water filtration. 

Ticket Tailor: Impressive! Cumbria Wildlife Trust is doing a lot of work to restore peatlands in Cumbria – why is this necessary?

Michelle: We’ve carried out surveys that reveal over 95% of peatlands surveyed in Cumbria aren’t managed well, and that most of the peatlands in the Lake District have been damaged. At least 70% of English peatlands are damaged by drainage, heavy grazing, regular burning, cultivation, forestry or other management. When peatlands are damaged, they can erode quickly, so they stop storing carbon and even leak carbon back into the atmosphere.

But as soon as we re-wet peatlands, carbon stops being leaked; healthy peatlands are huge stores of carbon – with both quick wins and long-term gains. It's estimated if 100% of Cumbria's peatland habitats were restored into healthy, functioning habitats, they would sequester 8,005 tonnes of CO2eq from the atmosphere every year. 

There are also the other positive impacts on biodiversity, species, water quality and slowing the flow of water helping to reduce flooding. Peatlands and bogs truly are amazing things!

Ticket Tailor: Wow! It’s clear the work you’re doing is super important. Any big wins you’d like to share?

Michelle: Our work with the Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve is a massive success story. Over the last 20 years and with a lot of hard work (including that of wonderful volunteers), we’ve taken it from damaged peatland leaking carbon into the atmosphere to a healthy functioning bog locking away carbon.

Not only is Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve amazing for the habitat, it’s wonderful for species too. Dragonflies dancing about the water, an abundance of lizards basking on the boardwalk, small birds including warblers singing away; maybe you’ll hear the elusive water-rail or, in summer, see the majestic ospreys which breed here?! 

Ticket Tailor: Sounds magical! What are some of the biggest challenges you face with projects like this?

Michelle: Our biggest challenge is simply that there’s a long way to go for our environment, habitats and wildlife. If we, together, want to make sure nature has a fighting chance, we need to complete a lot of work. It’s not easy raising the money needed to do this and we rely massively on the generosity of businesses like Ticket Tailor who have been AMAZING (truly!!!) in the donations they have given, and individuals who have also supported our work. 

Sometimes, people give the price of a coffee – or donate instead of buying a birthday gift.  Every pound helps and is much appreciated. 

Head here to find out how you can support Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

Ticket Tailor: *Blushing* We’re thrilled to hear our donations genuinely are making a difference! Would you mind telling our readers a bit about the partnership 😄?

Michelle: To be honest, the partnership was like a complete breath of fresh air. I opened an email from Jonny (Founder and CEO of Ticket Tailor) simply saying that the team had found our peatland restoration work and were considering making a donation towards this.  

A phone call later, where we had a great chat and I shared with Jonny what we do for peatlands, and it was a ‘yes’!

It feels wonderful to have the support of Ticket Tailor. For the company to find our peatland work and want to help it – and to actually take that leap and take such positive action…  I, we, can’t thank Ticket Tailor enough.

Ticket Tailor: That’s brilliant to hear. How specifically are Ticket Tailor donations helping Cumbria Wildlife Trust?

Michelle: Ticket Tailor donations are directly helping us to restore and maintain our precious peatlands. This work includes re-wetting areas of peat bog and covering bare areas of peat bogs with specialist bog-loving plants such as Sphagnum moss to speed up the regeneration of the bog. Doing this traps carbon securely underground.

As well as helping tackle climate change, we're also restoring this important habitat for Cumbria's wildlife. And replacing damaged areas of the boardwalk means we can make it easier for people to get close to nature and enjoy the surroundings without walking directly on the peatbog and damaging it.

Ticket Tailor: It sounds like intricate work! What other types of challenges do you find yourself coming up against as an organisation?

Michelle: We are in the middle of a climate and nature emergency, and the two are inextricably linked. Climate change is driving nature’s decline, and the loss of wildlife and wild places reduces the ability of the planet to absorb the effects of human activity, leaving us ill-equipped to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to change. One cannot be solved without the other.

Another of the main challenges we’re facing is, unsurprisingly, the economic situation. We’re receiving less donations and people are cancelling their monthly donations and membership. This has a direct impact on what we can do for our environment and nature.

The pressures on habitats and biodiversity – including the use of chemicals and the loss of habitats – is also a big issue. 

We all have to be in a place to protect and take positive action for biodiversity and wildlife.

Ticket Tailor: That’s a really powerful message. With all that in mind, what are some of the main goals of the Cumbria Wildlife Trust going forward?

Michelle: By 2030, we need to see at least 30% of our land and sea to be connected and protected for nature’s recovery. Making more space for nature to become abundant once again will give our struggling wildlife the chance to recover and also restore beautiful wild places – places that store carbon and help to tackle the climate crisis.

30% of land and sea protected is the bare minimum that nature needs to start recovering but we are far short of this and need a lot of help to turn things around. 

In the shorter term, we need to:

  • Plant more wildflowers

  • Restore and protect more habitats and give wildlife a home

  • Take care of our seas

  • Look after our nature reserves

  • Work with communities to equip them to take positive action for nature

  • Give the next generation of conservationists the opportunity to learn and to get involved

Ticket Tailor: We think that’s going to give our readers a lot of great food for thought! Any other words of wisdom for them?

Michelle: This is a challenging time for us all as individuals. All of us at Cumbria Wildlife Trust see and feel the difficulties and the current uncertainties of the world.

We understand that you will be doing all you can to keep your costs down. Here at the Trust, we promise we are too.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust nature reserves are free to visit and provide the perfect place to spend some time close to nature, and to nurture health and wellbeing. Taking time to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of nature is a well-known method of helping combat depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. 

During lockdown, many people realised how important being close to nature is. Remember, nature is still there for you. 

Ticket Tailor: Thanks so much – that’s really inspiring. We’re definitely feeling in the mood to get out in nature now, and to continue doing everything we can to help protect it! 💪 

Readers, we hope you’re feeling inspired, too! To find out more about the truly amazing work of the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, just head here

And to find out more about our other charity partners and the impact every Ticket Tailor ticket sale makes, head here.

A huge thanks to Helen & everyone involved in the Cumbria Wildlife Trust for all your hard work. We can’t wait to hear all about your future projects!