Promise for Nature

Mel McQuitty, Project Officer along with her son

The National Trust has launched its ‘Leap for Nature’ campaign and we invited people to make the most of the extra day this year by making a promise for nature.

To find some inspiration, we had a chat with National Trust Project Officer Mel McQuitty, who has worked at the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede and North Coast sites for twelve years:

“I joined the Trust because of what they stand for and believe in. Aligning my own love for nature with my job was important to me, so the Trust was the perfect place to work. During my time with the Trust I have worked on many different projects, from the ongoing Sustainability Study, to the Causeway Project which saw the construction of the existing Visitor Centre, to helping plant community gardens in the local area, all of which make change happen for nature and the environment, even in a small way.

“I always try to bring home what I learn on the job, but I have to say that it's my partner Toby - who happens to be a National Trust Area Ranger at Mount Stewart - who is the real driving force for our sustainability efforts. He lives and breathes conservation.

“We live in quite an old house so ensuring it runs sustainably can be difficult, but we are really committed to taking steps towards doing our bit for the planet. There are a few things that we do to lower our carbon footprint which other people can try too. All of our other heating needs are addressed by good practice - we only use mixed reusable fuels, including a sustainable NI timber source and have invested in efficient equipment and insulation which means we can use limited oil for 20 minutes per day.

"We put our lights on a timer and have a vegetable patch in the garden so we can produce our own food and reduce our food miles. These are all things that people could consider trying as part of their ‘Promise for Nature’.

“We found that our cars were the biggest contributing factor to our carbon footprint but we both need them to travel to work. We’ve been looking into Electric and Hybrid cars and hope to invest in these in the next few years. The National Trust has been trialling an electric van at the North Coast and this has been proving a success, so I have witnessed first-hand the benefits of going electric!”

The National Trust want to inspire people to make changes big and small in 2020 and to be kinder to the environment. Whether it's a small change like switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs, or volunteering for a monthly beach clean, there are lots of ways to get involved.

Mel’s words of wisdom for anyone making a promise for nature are;

“Stop and think about how you are affecting the planet. It could just be realising that your shower is full of plastic bottles and then doing something to reduce that waste. It really is about starting small and moving on to make bigger changes. I am very aware of the extra time that can come with trying to be more sustainable, but even with a six-year-old we are doing our best!”

Visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/promise-for-nature to learn more about how you can make your promise for nature. Be sure to let us know your promise by using #PromiseForNature on social media.