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Press Release

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Lottery Grant to unleash local ‘Action for Biodiversity’
at the Woodland Education Centre.

Biodiversity at the Woodland Education Centre is to get a substantial boost from local helping hands thanks to a grant of 47,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The grant will enable Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust, the charity which runs the Centre, to employ a Community Officer who will promote the project and support volunteers in helping to conserve the wonderful natural heritage at the Centre. This will involve local people in helping with practical conservation tasks and/or recording and surveying wildlife at the Centre.

Dr Barbara Corker, the Trust’s Education Officer says "We are really delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has made this project possible. It is a terrific opportunity for people to play an active role in helping their local wildlife and to gain a wide range of new skills and knowledge, while also enjoying the social benefits of being an integral part of a like-minded team."

Funding support from two local organisations, Offwell Environment Link and Offwell Fundraising Group, has also been instrumental in helping to attract the HLF grant and all its attendant benefits. Both organisations have carried out fund raising activities and each donated 750 towards the project. Dr Corker adds "We are very grateful to both organisations for all their fundraising efforts. Such support plays a vital role in attracting outside grants because it demonstrates local commitment and support for the project in a very tangible way."

The HLF project is entitled ‘Action for Biodiversity’. The term ‘biodiversity’ simply means ‘the wonderful variety of life’. This is very apt when applied to the Woodland Education Centre which contains over a thousand different species ranging from beautiful orchids and other wild flowers, to brilliant electric blue Kingfishers, itinerant Otters and large numbers of brightly coloured insects such as butterflies and dragonflies.

Stephen Lawson, the Trust’s Director, points out: "A number of the species found at the Centre are of national, as well as local and regional conservation importance. Nine of the species, including Dormice and Otters, are of national conservation concern and have their own national Species Action Plans. These Action Plans co-ordinate country-wide efforts to increase the number of individuals and improve the chances of survival of the species."

The Woodland Education Centre is situated in Offwell on the outskirts of Honiton in East Devon. It is a Forestry Commission site, run in partnership with the Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust. The astonishing range of different habitats and wildlife at the Centre is the basis for an extensive programme of practical educational activities provided by the Trust. These educational activities are used by schools, colleges and adult groups from a wide area encompassing Devon, Somerset and Dorset, as well as occasional visitors from further afield. The Centre is also a valuable local countryside amenity used by many families, walkers and photographers for quiet recreation.

Stephen Lawson comments "The habitats and wildlife on which all of these educational and recreational activities are based, are only there because of the management and practical conservation activities carried out at the Centre. The species and their habitats will only survive if the required management is carried out. This project therefore offers a way for people to really make a difference to the environment and to help ensure the survival of important species in their local area."

 

Press Release ends

 

Press release issued by Dr Barbara Corker, Education Officer, Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust.  Email: offwell1@aol.com

 

Notes for Editors

Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust is a registered charity, No 100198, which promotes practical conservation and environmental education.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) enables communities to celebrate, look after and learn more about our diverse heritage. From our great museums and historic buildings to local parks and beauty spots or recording and celebrating traditions, customs and history, HLF grants open up our nation’s heritage for everyone to enjoy.

 

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