Friday, 7 March 2014

'Green Oscars' to recognise outstanding efforts for wildlife

Mark Webster, Living Landscape Community Officer

I have recently started work with Norfolk Wildlife Trust on an exciting project, ‘Delivering Living Landscapes’.  My work involves me in helping local communities develop and look after community green spaces and help make them even better for wildlife.

Work party of volunteers at Tolls Meadow, Wymondham
In over 20 years of conservation work, I have never ceased to be amazed what a big difference individuals and small groups can make to wildlife in their local area. Norfolk Wildlife Trust is of course supported by many volunteers who work on nature reserves and also in our visitor centres. but perhaps less recognised is the work and support that NWT can give to individuals and groups who want to help wildlife. Our NWT conservation officers provide free advice across the County to many landowners who look after sites which are special for wildlife. These County Wildlife Sites play a vital part in our vision for Living Landscapes which seeks to bring wildlife back to the wider countryside. My own work in the Gaywood and Bure Valley Living Landscapes means in these areas we are helping support people to come together and set up new practical conservation groups helping wildlife.

Perhaps you are reading this and already involved as an individual or in a group looking after a site for wildlife or running a wildlife project. Well your efforts deserve to be recognised which is where an awards scheme run by NBP comes in.

The Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership (NBP) is seeking to celebrate the efforts of local groups and individuals who are making a difference for wildlife and people in their communities - do you know of a group, individual, business or project that deserves an award?  

The search is on for people involved with voluntary activities that help improve their local environment for nature.  If you know of someone or some group who you feel fits the bill, please nominate them via the form on the NBP website

There are five award categories:
  1. Group Award, which recognises the achievements of a parish council, community or conservation group which has worked to improve its local area for biodiversity and to encourage people to access and enjoy their local nature sites.
  2. Site Award, where efforts have been made to improve a site for biodiversity also resulting in a more accessible and well-regarded amenity.
  3. Inspiring Others Award, which recognises those who have gone the ‘extra mile’ to bring about a wider appreciation of biodiversity. Examples could include: a school which is sharing a wildlife area with the local community; a walks leader; a business that provides a nature trail in their grounds.
  4. Individual Award, which recognises the outstanding contribution of a particular person to nature conservation or biodiversity-related education at a local or Norfolk-wide level.
  5. Themed Award. For 2014, the theme is “Commons, Greens and Churchyards”. This will recognise action taken by local communities to improve biodiversity in these key areas which occur in almost every parish across Norfolk.
I will certainly be encouraging the groups and individuals I am working with to apply. But if you know of someone who has been beavering tirelessly away to help wildlife then do nominate them for an award.  The magnificent efforts of both groups and individuals who do so much to help Norfolk’s wildlife often go unrecognised – but not in Norfolk, where nominations for the 2014 Community Biodiversity Awards are now open.

If you need more information about the awards please contact Paul Holley for more information:

NWT’s Living Landscape approach will provide a wide range of opportunities for people to get more involved in helping wildlife locally.

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