Nature projects across the UK awarded £7.4million from The National Lottery

Nature projects across the UK that support species on the verge of extinction have been awarded £7.4million from The National Lottery to assist with conservation efforts.

Among those initiatives to benefit include the reintroduction of Scotland’s Highland Twinflower and other rare wild plants in to the ancient pine forests of Cairngorms National Park, spearheaded by Plantlife Scotland.

Fragmentation of habitat has left the Highland Twinflower so isolated that it cannot interbreed.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £224,300 will enable Plantlife Scotland to work with local communities by training vounteers to take part in targeted reintroduction schemes. They will also work with local landowners and businesses on the restoration of grassland and meadows.

Drew Bennellick, Head of Land and Nature Policy at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Urgent action is needed to help nature recover. National Lottery funding is creating incredible opportunities for people to take such action for species under threat and, crucially, equipping a new generation with the skills and passion to make a real difference for the future of our natural world.”

In Surrey, a third of the South East England county’s wildlife is extinct or on the verge of extinction, largely due to habitat loss including hedgerows.

An ambitious new project by Surrey Wildlife Trust to inspire young people to connect with nature in the North Downs and Surrey Hills has received a £390,000 boost from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

By reconnecting people with the local landscape, the Trust hopes to prevent traditional hedge laying skills and wildlife from going extinct in the county by creating vital habitat for hedgehogs, bees, bugs and butterflies.

The project aims to inspire young budding ecologists, practical conservationists and the wider local community by working with schools, colleges and youth groups. Events such as a hedgerow festival, hedgerow tales storytelling workshops and hedge laying competitions will help the Trust reach its goal of engaging and inspiring thousands of younger people in the project over four years.

Elsewhere, in Scotland’s Northern Isles, marine charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation will receive £190,400 from the lottery’s Heritage Fund to extend a scheme to monitor threatened species – including whales, dolphins and harbour porpoises.

The programme, known as Shorewatch, will involve around 180 volunteers who will collect vital data about the movements and feeding patterns of the sea mammals. This data will be used to influence conservation planning and development decisions to ensure the protection of marine species.

An additional 12 other projects will take a share of The National Lottery funding, including restoring Herefordshire’s Ice Age kettle hole pond, and rewilding parts of Sharpham parkland in Devon.

Image Credits: Plantlife Scotland, Surrey Wildlife Trust

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

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