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Discover Kent’s sustainable restaurants, conservation centres, nature reserves and Green Flag parks for Earth Day 2024

Millions of people around the world are taking steps to help protect the environment and create a more environmentally friendly future.

Today (April 22) is Earth Day, an international event that started in 1970 to raise awareness of the impact our actions have on the planet.

Earth Day (April 22) is an international initiative that encourages people to care for the environment and reduce their carbon footprint. Image: iStock

This year’s theme is Planet vs Plastics, which encourages people to learn more about the dangers of plastic, phase out single-use plastics and reduce the production of fast fashion.

While there is plenty of information on the Earth Day website about how to reduce your carbon footprint, you can also do your bit by getting out and exploring the nature around Kent.

Whether you spend more time at a nearby nature reserve or contribute to a local conservation project, there are plenty of ways to connect with the environment that’s right on your doorstep.

The waterfront park at Samphire Hoe is a hub for local wildlife. Photo: KM reporter

An easy way to start is with a visit to Kent’s many Green Flag parks, which are renowned for their good state of maintenance, high environmental quality and biodiversity.

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These parks often have areas for wildlife, plants, trees and natural growth, as well as well-maintained seating and play areas for families.

For example, Brockhill Country Park in Hythe has been declared a Site of Nature Conservation Interest, while Samphire Hoe in Dover is home to 220 species of birds and 30 species of butterflies and Reculver Country Park, near Herne Bay, is a Special Area of ​​Conservation because of the wildlife found in the eroding cliffs to live.

Capstone Park in Chatham, Pegwell Bay in Sandwich, Shorne Woods in Gravesend and Mote Park in Maidstone are a few more of Kent’s Green Flag parks worth a visit.

Last year seven young boars were born at Capstone Country Park, and this spring there are still plenty of animals swimming around the lake. Photo: Capstone Farm Country Park

To spot even more of the province’s wildlife in natural habitats, spend Earth Day at a wildlife refuge.

These include Oare Marshes near Faversham, where you can expect to see seals, marsh birds and Sussex cattle, and Elmley Nature Reserve in Sheerness, a 3,300-acre reserve where you can find water voles, grass snakes, birds of prey and dragonflies.

The Oare Marshes have open water sheds, a reed field, salt marshes and one of the few meadows left in Kent

Conserving both endangered species and their habitats is a big part of protecting the environment and can help combat threats such as deforestation and the global ecosystem.

Two of Kent’s largest wildlife parks, Howletts Wild Animal Park in Bekesbourne and Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve near Hythe, have teamed up with the conservation charity Aspinall Foundation to breed more than 500 endangered animals.

The teams at both parks are also helping to raise awareness of rewilding – the process of returning wild animals to their original habitat to support the return of the environment to its natural state.

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These rewilding efforts have resulted in the return of more than 75 critically endangered western lowland gorillas to Congo and the release of lions and cheetahs in South Africa.

Howletts is also currently working on a unique project to re-establish Britain’s largest herd of elephants in Kenya.

Howletts Wildlife Park is currently working on an innovative project to rewild its herd of African elephants

This is also the perfect time of year to enjoy fresh, seasonal blossoms, as spring flowers bloom across the province.

There is a carpet of vibrant bluebells at Hole Park in Rolvenden, a meadow of wildflowers at Winston Churchill’s former home, Chartwell, in Westerham and wild cherry blossoms growing in the woods at Emmetts Garden in Ide Hill.

The Celebration of Spring event at Hever Castle also runs until Sunday April 28.

Visitors can admire hundreds of beautiful spring flowers, such as tulips, cherry and apple blossoms, magnolias and early rhododendrons.

The spring flowers are in bloom at Hever Castle, attracting swarms of bees and butterflies. Photo: Hever Castle and gardens

Finally, making changes to the way we eat and drink can have a positive impact on the environment.

Kent has a wealth of sustainable pubs and restaurants to try, such as the Small Holding in Cranbrook, which offers a menu of homegrown food produced by their own biodiverse farm, and the Foundry BrewPub in Canterbury, which has taken steps to to be more environmentally friendly. kindly by reusing the heat from the alcohol distillation process to heat the restaurant.

Many places across the province are making huge strides in caring for our planet, so you don’t have to go far to support these initiatives and make a difference this Earth Day.