Naturally Native


Naturally Native

Stopping the decline of our native water voles in the North East of England 


Image by: Terry Whitaker/2020VISION

With thanks to players of the National Lottery and funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Durham Wildlife Trust, Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Tees Valley Wildlife Trust are working together to prevent the loss of one of our fastest declining species.  

Water voles, once common across the UK, have disappeared from over 95% of their former range leaving the species in a critical state and at threat of being lost completely from the lowlands of the North East.  This drastic decline is the compounding effect of two main causes.  Habitat loss and fragmentation has resulted in contracted, small and isolated populations of water voles which are incredibly vulnerable to the second major cause of decline: predation from introduced American mink. 

Working at a landscape scale to address both these issues, Naturally Native will prevent the inevitable loss of water voles from the lowlands and provide opportunities for this much loved mammal to re-colonies our river, streams and ponds.

What will we achieve?

Between Jan 2021 and October 2023, Naturally Native will be working across the Tyne, Wear and Tees River Catchments, creating a richer environment for wildlife and people.

The project will improve over 10km of riparian habitat and remove American mink to allow remaining water vole populations to expand in size and range. In addition to water voles, a wealth of other native wildlife will benefit including wetland bird populations, invertebrates and fish.  

Volunteer with us!

Naturally Native is a fantastic opportunity for the North East to come together and make a stand against biodiversity loss.  We are grateful to all our volunteers who help undertake water vole surveys; monitor American mink recording equipment and undertake practical habitat restoration to create bigger, better and more joined up habitat for water voles. If you would like to get involved and support this project please register your interest here.

Young Volunteers

The Wildlife Trusts are dedicated to engaging the future custodians of our planet in our work and Naturally Native provides a fantastic opportunity for young people to get involved in preventing biodiversity loss in the North east, whilst learning more about current conservation issues and our natural environment.

Durham Wildlife Trust Naturally Native Young Rangers (14 – 18 year olds) – usually meet on the first Saturday of each month. Book your place on each session at here.

Tees Valley Wildlife Trust Young Rangers (14 – 19 year olds) – usually meet on the first Saturday of each month. Book a place on upcoming sessions here.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust Young Rangers (16 – 18 year olds) – usually meet on the first Saturday of each month.

Please contact for more information on any of the above groups.

Secondary Education

We have an exciting and engaging education program for secondary schools, eco and STEM clubs or other groups of a similar age range.

All sessions have been developed by a secondary education specialist and support the national curriculum. There will be no cost for the delivery of sessions thanks to funding from the National Lottery.

Click here to download a copy of our Secondary Education Brochure or contact for more information or to book a visit.


And don’t forget……. Share your sightings of water voles, American mink and otters with us. Or follow us on Facebook here

Heritage Fund logo web small

Naturally Native has been supported by a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.