Make space for nature in winter

Do something for nature today!

What can YOU do for Scotland's nature?

There are a number of simple things that you can do to give nature a helping hand to protect our biodiversity and ensure Scotland has a nature-rich future.

This winter... help wildlife!

Dor beetle on a pile of leaves

Be a lazy gardener

Leaving some areas overgrown or filled with leaves and twigs gives insects, frogs, toads and small animals a quiet and cosy place to hide during the colder months.

Make Space for Nature - Gardens


Looking for ways to help nature? Why not be a lazy gardener and leave some areas of the garden overgrown to allow a quiet place for insects and small animals to hide.

A female blackbird (Turdus merula) eating a windfall apple.

Use your food scraps

Keep a food scraps tub by your cooker - any bits suitable to feed birds and other wildlife can go straight into it.

Bruised or overly-soft fruit that may otherwise go to waste – or in the compost bin – can also be left out for badgers, foxes and birds.

Cut the fruit in half and leave it on the grass or spike it on a tree branch. The blackbirds will love you for it.

Make Space for Nature - Leftovers


There’s a range of ideas to help nature this winter. Got extra food scraps? Saving things such as fruit cake, dried fruit, nuts (unsalted) and other food types past their best is a great way to feed your garden visitors.

feeding ducks

Keep your local duck pond healthy

Most people are aware white bread is a no-no for ducks – polluting the water and making them ill.

But healthy snacks including corn – tinned, frozen, dried or fresh – lettuce and other greens cut into pieces will make you popular at your local duck pond this winter.

frozen pond

Frozen garden ponds

These can be a great water source for passing wildlife but, when temperatures drop, ice can be tricky. A prolonged freeze can mean problems for fish and hibernating frogs and newts. Gently crack the ice to make a hole or float a ball in the water to help stop it freezing.

Make Space for Nature - Pond life


Winter can be a challenging season for nature with harsh weather, low temperatures and much less food around, but there are plenty of things that you can do to give nature a helping hand.

Goldfinch feeding on a frozen teasel

hold off chopping till spring

Leave your borders/ herbaceous plants intact with seed heads as many insects overwinter in their hollow stems.

2 children feeling grass thats gone to seed

Keep your grass long

Stop cutting your lawn sooner rather than later as longer grass provides some refuge and protection for shrews, voles and other small mammals and invertebrates.

A male house sparrow feeding two chicks at a bird box

Do a bit of cleaning

Empty and clean bird boxes, feeders and baths prior to you starting feeding over winter by using some hot water, mild detergent and a brush to help keep your visitors healthy and happy.

Please help and share our simple advice - help #MakeSpaceForNature

Do something for nature today!

We all benefit from nature in many ways – and we all have a role to play to create a nature-rich future in Scotland. In 2020, we are inspiring more people to understand and care about biodiversity loss.  

Our natural environment can provide a range of health and well-being benefits. Many people know that climate change is a big issue but not as many know that biodiversity loss is also a global threat to human well-being. We need a rich variety of life to be able to sustain food supplies, water and the air we breathe, among many of the benefits we get from nature.

Teacher, land manager or community group? We have tailored advice for what you can do for biodiversity on the platforms you have at hand.

You can help our pollinators all year round, even when you think they might be sleeping! Have a look at our advice on how to get busy (or buzzing).

Taking action on climate change is a big part of helping nature, and will bring benefits to all living things. Through making space for nature you're helping to store carbon in plants and soils.