The Deepings family who raised £2 MILLION to save local wildlife by growing sunflowers

  Posted: 26.08.21 at 08:42 by The Editor

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A Deepings family-owned farm reached a milestone this week by raising £2 Million for local wildlife conservation.

Vine House Farm at Deeping St Nicholas, includes a huge 100-acre field of sunflowers.

The Farm, which is run by farmer and conservationist Nicholas Watts and his family, has been raising money for The Wildlife Trusts for the last 14 years.

This year, thanks to its mail-order customers, Vine House Farm passed a major milestone; raising an incredible £2 million donation through sales of their seeds.

The black sunflower seeds are used by the farm in their wild bird food mixes along with other seeds like millet and canary seed, which are also grown on the farm.

Thanks to hedges, ponds, and wildflower margins at the sunflower field edges, the family-run farm is also a haven for flocks of wild birds, including declining tree sparrows and red-listed linnets and lapwing.

With every sale of their home-grown seed mixes, the family donates 4% to The Wildlife Trust. This is used by a network of Wildlife Trusts to support wildlife conservation projects in the local area and around the UK.

Lucy Taylor, Manager at Vine House Farm, and Nicholas’ daughter said: "Our partnership with The Wildlife Trusts has long been very important to us. Along with the practical measures we take on the farm to, for example, to reverse the trend of declining songbird numbers; a percentage of each purchase of Vine House Farm bird seed goes to support Wildlife Trusts, enabling a greater conservation impact across the country.

“The Wildlife Trusts have always been the obvious choice for us to champion, and it’s been a proud time for me, my father and all our family to be able to reach the two-million-pound milestone. Now we look forward to the future and being able to eventually reach five million and more.”

Craig Bennett, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts said: "Through their own love of wildlife, and working for nature, Nicholas Watts and his family have enabled many other people to experience the joy of nature in their homes and gardens and in doing so to provide fantastic support to the work of Wildlife Trusts.

“Vine House Farm’s magnificent long-term support for The Wildlife Trusts means we’ve been able to restore wildflower meadows, and wetlands, and enable more people to feel the health and wellbeing benefits of connecting with nature. Customers of Vine House Farm who are feeding their garden birds are playing an important part too, helping wildlife thrive to support nature’s recovery.

“We are extremely grateful to Nicholas and his family for their support and look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

Nicholas Watts said: "Summer sees adult birds moult, shedding their old feathers and growing new ones, which takes a lot of energy, so birds still need feeding. Sources of natural food, like insects, are declining, and in dry weather worms retreat deeper into the soil. Putting out plump sultanas, soaked in water, means young birds can get vital moisture.”

“Watch who visits your garden, whether they’re ground feeders or prefer perching on trees or shrubs and offer a variety of food, so each bird gets what it needs from seeds to suet, or mealworms.”

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