Volunteers in Yorkshire are set to use the power of citizen science to conserve the natural heritage of Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), one of Yorkshire’s most beautiful and best-loved landscapes, thanks to a grant of £295,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Some of the UK’s most iconic but threatened species will be protected as a result of work by an army of volunteers and leading scientists. In total 50 species including otters, adders, bumblebees, butterflies will be the focus of this exciting new project.
The Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a nationally significant landscape, incorporating striking wildlife habitats and a remarkable variety of species. The heather moorlands of the AONB are internationally important for conservation because of their rich concentration of rare plants and wildlife as are the areas flower rich meadows and ancient woodlands.
Thanks to this support, made possible by National Lottery players, the project will train local people to collect a vast amount of data on threatened species and wildlife habitats, which will be used in a conservation programme by farmers, land managers, the AONB, Natural England and conservation charities. An engagement programme will help local people get involved with the natural world on their doorstep, something which adults and children are increasingly disconnected from.
The project has the potential to make a real difference, both to species in the area and for the communities themselves. The data collected will help the team to understand how they can take targeted conservation action to best affect, and help protect the future of much-loved species, once a common sight but now increasingly threatened and rare.
Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “This wonderful project will allow significant numbers of people to really get to grips with the natural world in their local area, which so often goes undiscovered. It is also fantastic that the important species and habitats in the AONB will be conserved, so we are delighted that National Lottery players can help make this happen”.
Paul Burgess, Nidderdale AONB Manager said “The recently published State of Nature Report 2016 highlights catastrophic species decline in the UK. In the light of this, it’s essential that we take action now so that the fortunes of threatened species can be reversed. Following the generous support of HLF we can now make a real difference to some of the country’s favourite species”.
2016 has been a bumper year for natural heritage in Yorkshire. HLF launched the ‘Yorkshire’s Back Garden' campaign, promoting funding for natural heritage projects throughout the region, and during the campaign HLF have awarded over £2.6million to projects helping raise awareness of wildlife and nature to be found close to home – in back gardens and local neighbourhoods in both urban and rural locations.