A chance to look back at success of WildWatch
A WILDLIFE recording project that has collected more than 13,000 new records is holding several events this weekend in a bid to gather more information on the plants and animals living within the North Pennines.
The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership’s WildWatch project, which is funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, has been highly successful in getting residents and visitors alike mapping the wildlife that is hopping, buzzing, growing and flying all over the area.
This weekend’s free Autumn Gatherings are an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved so far and to share WildWatch’s thoughts and plans for the project’s third year.
Be part of the future
At each event there will also be an opportunity to hear from one of the three new wildlife groups in Weardale, the South Tyne and Allen Valleys which have been formed as part of the project.
Since launching in early 2012 the AONB Partnership has arranged over eighty training sessions about wildlife identification and recording, ranging from reptile recognition to small mammal trapping.
Massive boost for wildlife
Over 580 individuals have been trained and 13,279 new wildlife records have been sent to the project’s website and passed on to regional record centres – a massive boost to wildlife knowledge.
There is a guest speaker at each event as well as a hot buffet meal and plenty of opportunity to discuss the project with the AONB Partnership’s WildWatch Project Co-ordinator Sam Finn and Education and Events Officer Fiona Knox.
Where and when?
WildWatch North Pennines Autumn Gatherings (Booking is essential):
• County Durham: Friday November 15th, 6pm – 8.30pm. Stanhope Methodist Church Hall, Weardale. Guest Speaker – Keith Bowey on iSpot.
• Northumberland: Saturday November 16th, 6pm – High Forest Community Centre, Sinderhope. Guest Speaker – Naomi Waite, Northumberland Wildlife Trust.
• Cumbria: Sunday November 17th, 11.00am-1.30pm – Knarsdale with Kirkhaugh Cairns Community Centre. Guest Speaker – Steve Hewitt, Tullie House Museum.
Sam said: “WildWatch is going from strength to strength, thanks to our keen volunteers who range from beginners to experienced recorders. The feedback from our training programme shows we have helped with identification skills and we would love to see new faces as well as familiar ones join us at our sharing events this autumn.
Welcoming new members
“This is an ideal time to get involved as the three new local wildlife groups are making plans for their own 2014 programmes and are welcoming new members. The Gatherings will also be our chance to share some species stories we’ve uncovered through the project and to get help with planning surveys and training for the coming year.
“Our hope that people living in and visiting the North Pennines would become the eyes and the ears of the project is being realised. Thousands of new wildlife records have been shared with the regional data centres, making sure that they can be used for the purposes of conservation. Now we just want to build on this momentum and ensure that wildlife watching and recording keeps growing in the North Pennines for the foreseeable future.”
For more details about WildWatch and how to book on the winter gathering events go to www.northpennines.org.uk/WildWatch or phone Fiona Knox on 01388 528801 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Released: 12 November 2013