Thursday, 15 May 2014

Pitch your tent and get close to nature - via Tony Whitehead

Media release


Enjoy our Big Wild Sleepout and do your bit to give nature a home

Thousands of people across the south west can carry on camping for wildlife this summer by taking part in the RSPB’s second Big Wild Sleepout.

Whether you would like to camp in your back garden or want to take part in an event on an RSPB reserve near you, the RSPB can help you organise your sponsored sleep out.

From 16-22 June, the RSPB is encouraging people to spend a night under the stars to find out which creatures they share their homes with, and raise money to help protect them.

The charity has produced a free fundraising pack full of everything you need to host a successful sleep out. It contains lots of fun ideas to make raising money really easy. [note 1]

UK wildlife will play host to all kinds of campers: adventurous ones who will be building and sleeping in dens and shelters; some sticking to the traditional tent; others planning to sleep on their garden trampoline and some who will just venture outdoors and sleep under the stars.

As well as getting their sleep outs sponsored to raise money and help save wildlife, everyone can take part in a range of activities, such as den building, torchlight safaris and bug hunting.

If you don’t have a garden, see if friends or relatives have something planned or see if you can book a pitch at one of the RSPB organised “sleepovers” at one of our reserves:


9am 21 June to 9am 22 June

Price: RSPB member £35, non-member £40. Children: Wildlife Explorers £22, non-Wildlife Explorers £25. Booking essential

Steven Henry, Visitor Officer for RSPB in Devon said: “We can't wait for the big wild Sleepout at Aylesbeare Common. How often do you get the chance to build an iron age roundhouse in such a beautiful place and surrounded by such amazing wildlife? I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone get stuck in to the building. It will be a real opportunity to get a different perspective on this wonderful reserve and learn more about the wildlife on your doorstep.

“As it's not your everyday challenge, we're also asking people to raise sponsorship for the event and the person who raises the most will win a £400 camping set donated by Blacks. After a full day and night, we hope everyone will be really inspired by what they've done and seen and continue to help the RSPB give nature a home.


‘Gimme Shelter’ Saturday 21 June. 3pm on Saturday, overnight and depart by 10am on Sunday

Price: £35 non members, £30 RSPB members, £15 non member (under 16), £10 RSPB member (under 16). Booking essential

‘In Tents’ Friday 8 August. 5pm on Friday, overnight and depart by 10am on Saturday

Price: £25 non members, £20 RSPB members, £15 non member (under 16), £10 RSPB member (under 16). Booking essential

Rob Farrington, Visitor Officer for RSPB in Dorset said; “This year at Arne we are giving the public two opportunities to stay all night on one of the RSPB’s most wonderful nature reserves. Jutting out into Poole harbour, Arne is jam packed full of wildlife and the scenery is breath taking. In June join us to build your own shelter on the reserve, enjoy locally sourced food and head out onto the reserve in the dark. In August bring your tent and spend the night on a private area of the reserve overlooking the harbour. All profits go straight back into our conservation work, so what could be better?”

All money raised helps to give nature a home. £20 could buy a nestbox for starlings, £30 could pay for a GPS tag to monitor where a seabird flies to find food and £60 helps install predator protection fencing to safeguard water voles.

The Big Wild Sleepout is part of the RSPB’s ‘Giving Nature a Home’ campaign, aimed at inspiring everyone to do their bit for nature, wherever they live and however big their outside space. [note 2]

Tony Whitehead, speaking for the RSPB in the south west said: “Most people who take part will probably help give nature a home throughout the year by providing food, water and shelter. The Big Wild Sleepout is a chance to take part in the RSPB’s biggest fundraising event to help give nature a home. Join family or friends for a sponsored sleepout in your back garden or at an organised event.  Put up a tent, make a shelter or sleep under the stars and discover a whole world of wildlife you can help to save.”

Some of our best loved garden favourites are among the creatures shown to be in serious trouble including starlings, hedgehogs, some butterflies and ladybirds. All are in danger of further declines unless more is done to provide better habitats. [note 3]

The Big Wild Sleepout is being supported by Blacks, the leading outdoor equipment specialist [note 4]. Ken Reeve, CEO of Blacks, says: “Encouraging people – young and old – to get outdoors and experience nature first-hand is something we’re really passionate about at Blacks. That’s why we’re supporting the Big Wild Sleepout for the second year running. I can’t wait to join in!”

For more information, ideas on how to make the most of your Big Wild Sleepout or to get hold of your free Sleepout fundraising pack, visit:


For further information and to arrange an interview, please contact:
Tony Whitehead, RSPB Press Officer, 01392 453754, 07872 414365
There are a number of images available to download free of charge in support of this story. Click the link below and then enter the username and password when prompted.

User Name:        wild
Password:           sleepout
Editor’s notes:
1. Get sponsored to spend a night with nature. Set up a fundraising page on Just Giving and encourage your friends and family to sponsor you. An online sponsorship page is easy to set up and just as easy for people to donate to you. Why not give it a go and start fundraising today? Just visit the RSPB Big Wild Sleepout website for all the details. Fundraising packs will be sent out from mid-April.

2. Giving Nature a Home is the RSPB’s latest campaign, aimed at tackling the housing crisis facing the UK’s threatened wildlife. The charity is asking people to provide a place for wildlife in their own gardens and outside spaces – whether it by planting pollen-rich plants to attract bees and butterflies, putting up a nestbox for a house sparrow, or creating a pond that will support a number of different species. The RSPB hopes to inspire people across the UK to create a million new homes for nature.

3. The State of Nature report: For the first time ever, the UK’s wildlife organisations have joined forces to undertake a health check of nature in the UK and its Overseas Territories. Working side-by-side, 25 wildlife organisations have compiled stock take of all our native wildlife. The report reveals that 60 per cent of the species studied have declined over recent decades. More than one in ten of all the species assessed are under threat of disappearing from our shores altogether. However, the report illustrates that targeted conservation has produced inspiring success stories and, with sufficient determination, resources and public support, we can turn the fortunes of our wildlife around. To see the full report visit

4. Blacks is one of the leading outdoor retailers in the UK with a long established history. In over 70 stores nationwide, passionate staff with expert knowledge help make Blacks synonymous with enthusiasm for the great outdoors. Flagship brands such as The North Face, Berghaus, Jack Wolfskin and Merrell sit alongside exclusive brand 66° North, to offer an unrivalled selection of premium outdoor gear. In store services such as expert boot and rucksack fitting allow customers to get the advice and equipment to suit their needs, whatever their adventure. And stocking a comprehensive range of outdoor clothing, travel accessories, camping equipment and footwear, Blacks offer an extensive choice in all categories.

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