In March 2016 we announced the six projects that would benefit from our Environmental Grants Scheme. We received the following updates on their progress a year on, and are looking forward to seeing what year two will bring.
Irish Sea Marine Advocacy Programme • Cumbria Wildlife Trust
2016 was an important year for the Irish Sea Marine Advocacy Programme which aims to restore the Irish Sea to a clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse sea through securing the designation and management of Marine Protected Areas. Over the past year, the second tranche of marine protected area designation added four more protected areas to an emerging Irish Seas portfolio, though this is still a quarter of the area originally proposed though the Irish Seas Project that was taken forward on behalf of the Government to implement the Marine Act. The vital advocacy work of the programme continues with the production of materials, meetings, conferences, economic valuation, training, demonstration, PR and campaigning.
River Otter Beaver Trial • Devon Wildlife Trust
This ground-breaking project — introducing a wild beaver population into the River Otter in Devon for the fist time since the 1700s — is producing very encouraging results so far, both in terms of establishing healthy beaver populations in Devon and the scientific investigations of the beavers’ environmental impacts. The project has brought a range of organisations together to work in a constructive partnership, and the release of beavers after an absence of 400 years attracted huge national and international media attention. The project is an exemplar in terms of restoring health to the natural world through cutting edge scientific research on a collaborative basis.
National Peatland Framework Project • International Union for Conservation of Nature UK Peatland Programme
The National Peatland Framework project continues to go from strength to strength. Highlights of the past year include a major three-day conference in November 2016 which brought together scientists, peatland practitioners, policy makers and NGOs from across the peatland community. The Peatland Code, a voluntary mechanism managed by the IUCN UK PP through which business can help fund peatland restoration, has seen its first two projects registered for validation. And globally, the IUCN UK PP was represented at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii in September 2016, during which a motion was passed calling for better protection and restoration of the world’s peatlands. The IUCN UK PP also continues to create resources that can be used by the peatland community and further afield, including Scotland’s Opportunity Map, showcasing restoration and areas of peatland, new policy briefings on atmospheric pollution and opportunity costs, as well as responses to Brexit.
The Great Manchester Wetlands Partnership • Lancashire Wildlife Trust
The overall goal of this programme is to create a bigger and better Nature Improvement Area that puts volunteers at its forefront by upskilling, supporting, enabling local action and giving local people a voice for their landscape. This is a very large project composed of a variety of linked and over-lapping sub-projects: a Heritage Lottery funded Carbon Landscape Partnership Scheme and two landfill tax funded projects called Cutacre and Fenscape. PDHCT funding has been used to lever in monies from a range of different sources to fund what is now a very significant programme. We look forward to seeing the results of this dynamic partnership.
Somerset’s Nature Matters Programme • Somerset Wildlife Trust
With Somerset’s coastal and wetland environments under increasing pressure, this project aims to communicate the importance of nature via a series of campaigns. The project is proceeding well with some dedicated staff (including a newly-appointed Coastal Officer) and support to existing staff to focus their work on pressing issues arising from the Somerset level floods and continuing threats to the Severn Estuary, especially from tidal lagoon energy supply developments. The project is part data survey and capture and part advocacy, and is beginning to attract national attention both on land and on the coast.
Tomorrow’s Natural Leaders • Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
This project, which aims to develop and empower young people to drive real environmental change, is off to a great start. Two project team leaders were recruited in April 2016 and spent five months preparing the organisation for the arrival of the young leaders. Accommodation and equipment was set up, vehicles and tools purchased and work plans designed for the first two months. Two further project officers joined in August and the young leaders began in September. After a month of induction and settling in the young leaders have very quickly become part of the YWT teams. They have supported countless tasks across YWT and have begun to plan their own time and lead small independent pieces of work. In Spring 2017 the young leaders will choose a large independent project and plan and deliver this with partners and other young people. They are buzzing with inspiration and we look forward to seeing the fruits of their ideas in the coming months.
Photo credits Header image: Lancashire Wildlife Trust • Cumbria WT: all Cumbria WT • Devon WT: Nick Upton; Devon WT; Mike Symes • IUCN: Emma Goodyer; Ben Hall / 2020 vision; Neil Cowie • Lancashire WT: all Lancashire WT • Somerset WT: all Somerset WT • Yorkshire WT: all YWT.