The Community Biodiversity Awards
The Community Biodiversity Awards 2016 are now open for nominations. This year's Awards have been generously sponsored by: The Landscape Partnership; Kelling Heath Holiday Park; Norfolk Wildlife Trust; and The Church of England (Diocese of Norwich).
Click here to download a nomination form for the 2016 Awards.
Community Biodiversity Awards 2015
What do Brundall Parish Council, a ‘conservation gamekeeper’ and a local primary school all have in common? The answer is that they are all Community Biodiversity Award winners this year, having gone the extra mile to work within their local community to make a difference for wildlife and people.
In total, awards for fifteen outstanding Norfolk conservation projects were made at a special ceremony in Norwich yesterday (21 July 2015).
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. Click here to view the EDP article.
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:
· Shotesham Conservation Group: For their impressive range of activities to improve, conserve and record local biodiversity, successfully engaging with the local community (Best Group Award)
· Acle Lands Trust: For their long-term work to enhance the management of wildlife sites in Acle and to inspire community participation (Best Group Award)
· Natural Heritage Champions (Norwich Fringe Project): For their contribution to the work of the Norwich Fringe Project in managing 'greater' Norwich's countryside for community access and biodiversity (Best Group Award)
· Poringland Lakes: For their community effort over a short timescale to save the conservation ponds at Poringland and the diversity of wildlife there (Best Group Award)
· East Ruston Area Infant School: For their inspirational vision in creating a wildlife resource that has become an important amenity for the school and wider community (Inspiring Others Award)
· Wild About Colby: For their ‘nest box boost’ project which has brought about significant gains for owls and other raptors in north Norfolk whilst engaging and inspiring the local community (Inspiring Others Award)
· Friends of the Belfry School: For their commitment to the creation of an inspiring wildlife resource at the school (Inspiring Others Award)
· King’s Lynn Joint Advisory Group: For their dedicated commitment to the conservation of the Wash and north Norfolk coast habitats and biodiversity, drawing in the local community. (Inspiring Others Award)
· Natural Surroundings : For their commitment to habitat management and provision of community access (Outstanding Land Manager Award)
· Brundall Parish Council : For their enthusiasm in developing green infrastructure in the village for the benefit of wildlife and the community (Parish and Town Councils Award)
· Tasburgh Parish Council : For their strategic approach towards increasing the diversity of habitats in the parish and improving access for the local community (Parish and Town Councils Award)
· Scarning Parish Council : For their commitment to the work of Scarning Conservation Volunteers who are making impressive progress in restoring Scarning Water Meadows (Parish and Town Councils Award)
· Joe Cullum : For his outstanding work to conserve and enhance the habitats and wildlife at Buckenham and Hassingham Broads (Lifetime Achievement Award)
· The Assist Trust : For the Trust's achievements at Mousehold Heath which have delivered gains for the heathland and brought real benefit to the individuals involved (Themed (heathlands) Award)
· John Wagstaff : For his outstanding long-term contribution to Kelling Heath (Themed (heathlands) Award)
The presentations were made by Steve Scott, Area Director for East and East Midlands-Forestry Commission.
Norwich City Council Natural Areas Officer, Paul Holley, who Chairs the NBP’s “Communities and Nature Topic Group” which organises the Awards said:
“This is the twelfth 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. This year we have broadened our award categories so that we can recognise important efforts to conserve biodiversity undertaken by parish and town councils, land managers, local businesses and schools. We are also looking to recognise work to conserve Norfolk’s precious heathland– a fragmented and threatened lowland habitat important for range of specialist plants and animals.”
Anne Casey, Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership’s Coordinator said: “We are delighted to have received sponsorship for our Awards from three local firms, already well known for their green credentials: The Landscape Partnership; Richardson’s Boating Holidays and Kelling Heath Holiday Park.
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.