The Community Biodiversity Awards

Community Biodiversity Awards celebrate Norfolk’s wildlife heroes

Norfolk’s volunteer wildlife heroes will be celebrated at a special awards event on 19 July 2016. All have gone the extra mile to work within their local community to make a difference for wildlife and people on a voluntary basis, and there are inspirational stories behind these remarkable people and groups.

[a photograph of the winners will be added to this page when available]

In total, awards for thirteen outstanding Norfolk conservation projects will be made.

The Norfolk Community Biodiversity Awards are an annual accolade for environmental projects in the county. Run by the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership’s ‘Communities and Nature’ Topic Group, the awards celebrate the achievements of individuals and groups who have worked within their local community to make a difference for wildlife and people.

Biodiversity is the variety of life – and refers to the nature and wildlife found around us. A healthy natural environment – and good access to it – helps people stay healthy too.

There were many outstanding nominations and inspiring examples of community groups taking on the care for high-quality green spaces across Norfolk. With current pressure on resources within local authorities, these community initiatives are most welcome. Over the years many projects have benefitted from the expertise, advice and encouragement from Norfolk County Council Natural Environment Team, particularly Ed Stocker, and secondly, Norfolk Wildlife Trust. It is thanks to them that many of the projects nominated have come to fruition.

Inspiring winners are:

  • Parish and Town Councils category
    • Brisley Parish Council for working with others to bring Harper’s Green and Brisley Common into positive management (Highly Commended)
    • South Wootton Parish Council for connecting the community with improvements to South Wootton Park, and other biodiversity projects in the parish (Winner)
  • Commons and Greens category
    • The Friends of Boyland Common for bringing the Common back into good management and returning it to the heart of their community (Highly Commended)
    • Litcham Common Management Committee for their continuing commitment and hard work to achieve the conservation of Litcham Common (Winner)
  • Churchyards and Cemeteries category
    • Thorpe Market Church for their long-term commitment to conserving biodiversity in their churchyard (Highly Commended)
    • The Friends of Great Yarmouth Cemetery & St Nicholas Churchyard for involving their community in the care and improvement of the cemetery for wildlife and people (Winner)
    • Wymondham Abbey for managing their churchyard with wildlife in mind and involving the local community in the process (Winner)
  • Inspiring Others category
    • Eddie Anderson for his work to improve the River Mun, creating better conditions for wildlife downstream of his land, and creating a nature reserve for others to enjoy (Highly Commended)
    • Geoff Doggett for his determined and inspirational leadership in developing and linking the River Waveney Trust with the wider community (Winner)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
    • Richard MacMullen for his work over 30 years inspiring landowners to incorporate conservation practice into their farming activities, thus improving the prospects for farmland biodiversity (Winner)
  • Group Award category
    • Gaywood Valley Conservation Group for their passion for nature, achieving conservation, education and increased awareness of local sites (Highly Commended)
    • Kenninghall Lands Trust for inspiring their community to create woodlands and an orchard for wildlife and people to enjoy (Highly Commended)
    • Little Ouse Headwaters Projectfor the imaginative way they have involved and informed their community in their ambitious, large-scale conservation work in several parishes (Winner)

The presentations will be made by Steve Scott, Area Director for East and East Midlands-Forestry Commission.

Paul Holley, Chair of the NBP Communities and Nature Topic Group that organises the Awards said: “This is the thirteenth year for the Community Biodiversity Awards. Over this time we have celebrated some outstanding conservation projects and individuals who have made a real difference in their local communities. Working together on conservation projects is a great way to make a difference for wildlife alongside benefits for human health and wellbeing.”

Andrea Kelly, Chair of the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership said: “We are delighted to have received support for our Awards from four sponsors: The Landscape Partnership; Kelling Heath Holiday Park; Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the Diocese of Norwich.”

The Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership (NBP) was established in 1996 and is a partnership of 23 partner organisations. It works through a number of ‘Topic Groups’ to enhance and conserve Norfolk’s natural heritage.

The NBP has sought to give nature a voice in Norfolk and above all, to show that the conservation of the natural environment is not an option: it is critical to our economic prosperity, our health and lifestyles. You can read more about the NBP here: www.norfolkbiodiversity.org.

The NBP’s ‘Communities and Nature’ Topic Group has an active membership drawn from many organisations including The Conservation Volunteers; Norfolk Wildlife Trust; Natural England; Norwich City Council; RSPB; local district councils and Norfolk County Council and has responsibility for the authorship of several species and habitat action plans (Biodiversity Action Plans) for the county, including swift; barn owl and allotments. The Group meets frequently to share news and ideas and to support community action for biodiversity across Norfolk. It encourages:

  • a greater appreciation of nature at a local level;
  • care for the natural environment at a community level;
  • long-term gains for local nature sites (for example, by encouraging the development of site management plans)

The Group has set up a Directory of Community Biodiversity Projects in Norfolk (the Directory is brainchild of Marya Parker - a previous ‘Special Award’ winner. This is a brilliant resource for finding volunteer groups and projects near where you live.
www.norfolkbiodiversity.org/communityprojects

Notes for Editors

  1. For more information about this press release, in the first instance, please contact:
    Su Waldron, su.waldron@norfolk.gov.uk 01603 222810
  2. Our sponsors:
    • Kelling Heath Holiday Park is sponsor of our Inspiring Others Award
    • The Landscape Partnership (TLP) is sponsor of our Parish and Town Councils Award
    • Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT) is sponsor of the Churchyards and Cemeteries Award category
    • The Diocese of Norwich is sponsor of the Awards evening
  3. Our award categories:
    • Parish and Town Councils – recognising those councils whose direct activities have led to improvements in local biodiversity, for example through the implementation of their statutory functions (e.g. the National Planning Policy Framework); by supporting projects that conserve biodiversity; or by promoting the importance of biodiversity conservation within their local community
    • Inspiring Others – recognising 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; an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to nature conservation or biodiversity-related education;
    • Best Group. This category recognises the efforts of a group which has created or organised the best project or site for biodiversity and encouraged local people to access and enjoy their local nature sites. Local groups offer one of the best ways for people to make a difference for biodiversity close to home, offering practical conservation activities and the chance to get fitter and socialise with like-minded others.
    • Commons and Greens. This award recognises the efforts taken by local communities to care for commons and greens at the heart of many communities across Norfolk. When managed well, these habitats are an important resource for wildlife as well as an important amenity for recreation.
    • Churchyards and Cemeteries. This award recognises action taken by local communities to care for the churchyards and cemeteries in their midst, which provides opportunities for nature to thrive and a welcoming and tranquil oasis for local people to enjoy.
  4. The Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership works to conserve, enhance and restore the county’s biological diversity. Established in 1996, the Partnership is a unique consortium, bringing together the resources and expertise of 23 local authorities, statutory agencies and voluntary groups in pursuit of a shared goal – the conservation, enhancement and restoration of the county's biological diversity.

    To achieve this vision, the Partnership is involved in a wide-ranging programme of work. Amongst other activities, it prepares and implements action plans for some of the county’s most threatened habitats and species; manages a small biodiversity project fund which is used to support high priority recommendations contained in the action plans; works closely with the Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service to improve the quality and availability of biodiversity information; promotes the integration of biodiversity into strategies, plans and programmes including Local Plans.

    The Partnership is made up of the following organisations: Anglian Water; Breckland Council; British Trust for Ornithology; Broadland District Council; Broads Authority; Environment Agency; Norfolk Farming and Wildlife Group (FWAG); Forestry Commission (East of England Conservancy); Great Yarmouth Borough Council; King’s Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council; Natural England; Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists’ Society; Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service; Norfolk County Council; Norfolk Geodiversity Partnership; Norfolk Wildlife Trust; North Norfolk District Council; Norwich City Council; River Waveney Trust; Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; South Norfolk Council; the University of East Anglia; and the Water Management Alliance.
  5. Biodiversity describes the variety of life on Earth and the habitats that are needed to support it.
  6. The world’s biodiversity is under threat from a range of issues such as habitat loss and fragmentation; pollution; invasive non-native species; climate change; over-exploitation and the growth of human populations. Most of these are a result of human activity.
  7. There are many opportunities to make a difference for biodiversity close to home, whether it is by creating a garden that has wildlife in mind; joining a local practical conservation group or taking care not to inadvertently introduce species that can cause problems into the wild (don’t dump pondweed you’ve cleared out from your pond, for example – it may grow out of control causing problems for native biodiversity).
  8. Parish councils and town councils can play a direct role in conserving and enhancing local biodiversity
    • through the implementation of their statutory functions – for example through the National Planning Policy Framework
    • by seeking similar standards and principles from 3rd parties (suppliers, vendors and contractors)
    • using opportunities to communicate, educate and promote biodiversity conservation during daily contact with the general public, communities and other stakeholders
    • by supporting projects and programmes that contribute to the conservation of biodiversity
    • by ensuring that biodiversity is considered across their remit including investment decisions