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‘What can we do to make things better?’

Continuing some of the highlights of the 25th Anniversary at the Royal Geographical Society, today we look at James Rebanks spoke about how he has changed his farm and continued traditional farming methods to increase the biodiversity calling it home.

Inspired by his late father’s love of the farming, land and love of nature, James Rebanks recalls a pivotal memory where his father that sparked his venture from the ‘new type of farming’ to the more traditional.

It was amazing to hear the variation in habitat that Mr Rebanks allows to flourish on his farm. One of his proudest achievements he discussed is the 200 different species of plant on his meadows. However, as he stated “it’s a sobering to realise that when I’ve restored those meadows in about 5 years’ time, they will amount to 1% upland meadows in the British Isles…” how is it that there is only approximately 2300 hectares left across the country?

He also described how, clearing the river banks on his farm caused “an explosion of voles” which ultimately brought back the Barn Owls! During his talk he mentioned many specialists that have visited his farm and the wealth of different species they have found, including Cain Scrimgeour who counted as defined by Mr Rebanks as “a zoo of moths”!

Education…

Another topic that featured in his talk was the need for education; the farmers need to be taught how to look after the wildlife. “We’re not going to conserve anything unless we start educating an enormous amount of people like me that didn’t know enough 10 years ago, but need to know a lot more to look after things properly… I’ve known farmers that have been in environmental schemes for 30/40 years and haven’t got a clue!”.

Through this video you can see the passion James Rebanks has for his farm and the natural world around it.