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Volunteers examining plants in a hay meadow
Volunteer botanists doing quadrat surveying in a hay meadow

WildWatch North Pennines wins £316,300 HLF grant

Our new community volunteer project gets the green light

Wednesday October 26: The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced a grant of £316,300 for the AONB Partnership's new biodiversity conservation project WildWatch North Pennines.

The three year project will support a network of volunteer wildlife groups to help record and conserve valuable biodiversity within the North Pennines AONB.

Over the course of the project, up to five volunteer groups and 150 people will be trained to survey and record in the surrounding area. A new online portal will be created as an accessible space for volunteers to record their data and share it with local communities and conservation organisations. This data will help inform ongoing conservation efforts and help the long-term survival and protection of the area and its wild inhabitants.


Activities for volunteers and trainees will include learning how to identify grassland fungi to help us locate important grasslands, analysing bat sound recordings to help find important hibernating sites, and running moth traps. There will be activities which the wider public can help with too, such as reporting sightings of more obvious animals such as adders or hedgehogs.

Ivor Crowther, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North East, said: "This stunning landscape gives so much to so many people, be that beautiful views or a chance to get up close with some of the North of England's most precious wildlife. This project will ensure that as many people as possible get the opportunity to get involved with this special area and help protect it for future generations. The Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to be involved with this project and know it will be a great success."

Chris Woodley-Stewart, Director of the North Pennines AONB Partnership added: "There really is something for everyone in this project, from those with little or no experience of wildlife spotting to those who are accomplished recorders. The spirit of the project is about everyone sharing their experience and knowledge and learning from each other as we go.

Getting involved

"Those who want to get really involved will be able to join or form a local group, get training from expert practitioners, and take part in organised surveys or practical conservation work to help the North Pennines."

To find out more about how to get involved with WildWatch North Pennines, click on the link below.

Released: 26 October 2011

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