70 Years Wild

This December Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust celebrates its 70th anniversary

In the same year that the National Health Service was founded, the summer Olympics were held in London and the first polo mints were manufactured; a group of naturalists led by the late Ted Smith, then aged 28, founded the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

Originating from a committee of the Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union (LNU) set up in 1945 to compile a list of sites of wildlife interest in the county as part of a national plan for nature conservation; it soon became clear that more than just a committee would be required. Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust came into being on 2 December 1948. It was only the third such county Trust to be formed after Yorkshire (in 1946) and Norfolk (1926).

As well as preparing to launch the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, negotiations were underway for the establishment of a nature reserve at Gibraltar Point to the south of Skegness. It would be a new kind of nature reserve; one that protected wildlife but also that people were encouraged to visit.

On 10 December 1948, the newly fledged Wildlife Trust signed a landmark agreement with Lincolnshire County Council to manage Gibraltar Point. It was an auspicious start for the Trust. As the Ted Smith recalled in his memoir ‘Trustees for Nature’:

“There was no manual to tell one how to run a county trust. We had plenty of ideas for putting conservation into practice: creating nature reserves, promoting awareness through education and so on, but first there was the less glamourous but equally demanding job of building an organisation by attracting members and funds and active volunteer involvement.”
Ted Smith

At the end of the first year, the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust had 130 members and a total income of £82. New organisations can be fragile creations, but with the energy and enthusiasm of the founder members, the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust didn’t falter.

Over the seventy years since it was founded, the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust has grown to be one of the biggest and most influential county-based charities in Lincolnshire. With almost 100 nature reserves, 28,000 members and over 1,000 volunteers working together to make Lincolnshire wilder and making nature part of life, for everyone.

Join the celebrations

70 flags for 70 years exhibition
10am – 3pm every day
Gibraltar Point Visitor Centre
To celebrate the 70th anniversary, seventy bunting flags have been stitched, glued and sewn by members of the public. The flags beautifully illustrate Lincolnshire’s wildlife, landscapes and the work of the Trust.

Whisby Junior Wardens Pop-up Café
11am – 12.30pm, Saturday 1 December
Education Centre, Whisby Nature Park
Enjoy hot drinks and biscuits served by our junior wardens. Come along and find out more about the role of youngsters in nature conservation.
They will also be demonstrating how to make Christmas decorations using natural materials.
Drinks and biscuits for a donation

Monday 10 December – ‘The Story of Gibraltar Point’ book signing
12.30pm, Monday 10 December
The Visitor Centre, Gibraltar Point
Barrie Wilkinson will be signing copies of his new book “The Story of Gibraltar Point”.
Barrie, former Trust Reserves Manager and long serving volunteer, first became involved with Gibraltar Point in 1952 and has a deep-rooted love and in-depth knowledge of the site.
Barrie Wilkinson tells the story of Gibraltar Point through his researches, the recollections of those who have known and loved the place, and his own experiences of a lifetime’s involvement in the wildlife and with those involved with the use and management of the site.

Bake for Wildlife
Join in our birthday celebrations and bake for wildlife!
Invite your friends round for tea and show off your best hedgehog cake, or get together a team in your office and have a competition for Star Baker. You could even host your own bake sale at your local school or village hall and help raise money for the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.
Whatever you decide to do, we'd love for you to share your bakes with us using #70YearsWild on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.