What's going on News LITTLE THINGS THAT RUN THE WORLD Our new addition If you’ve been along to the Millennium Country Park recently, you’ll have noticed our brand new bug hotel in the Sensory Garden. If you’ve never seen one before, it’s not quite as formal as it sounds – it’s a collection of pallets, tiles, wood, old leaves, bark and other natural materials to give insects somewhere to do their thing. Ours is huge, but even the smallest insect hotel helps to introduce much-needed diversity in the insect community – according to recent studies, more than 40% of insect species are in decline and a third are endangered. The extinction rate for insects is 8 times faster than that of other animals but that’s not to say the rest of us wouldn’t be far behind. “Britain’s farmland birds have more than halved in number since 1970,” wildlife author, Michael McCarthy points out. “Some declines have been catastrophic: the spotted flycatcher, a specialist predator of aerial insects, has both declined by more than 95%, while the red-backed shrike, which feeds on big beetles, became extinct in Britain in the 1990s.” Without the bottom of the food chain being in order – populations of larger species die out. Not to mention all the other amazing stuff that insects do, from pollinating crops to eating dung. To quote biologist Edward O Wilson – "Insects are the little things that run the world… If all humankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed 10,000 years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.” If you want to avert chaos in your little corner of the world, there’s a great tutorial for making your own bug hotel on the RSPB website. You can do it with whatever you have available, at any time of year. It doesn’t need to cost loads of money, but it makes a huge difference to hundreds of species in your garden. It took our Volunteer team a day to build ours – they suggested it and our Head Ranger loved the idea, so they cracked on with the design, as they’d all been working in the Sensory Garden for a long time. We absolutely love it – as will countless hedgehogs, toads, bees, ladybirds, woodlice and many, many more. Remember - insects make up two thirds of life on the planet – please don’t ignore them because they’re not cute and fluffy! You can learn a bit more about the wildlife of the Millennium Country Park here or check out the Visitor Info page to see a map, opening times and more details about getting to us!