2 April 2013

Froglife’s River Nene Project secures Heritage Lottery Fund support

Peterborough-based wildlife conservation charity The Froglife Trust has received initial support* for a £470,500 bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the River Nene Dragon Finder project, it was announced today.

The project aims to connect people and wildlife habitats along the River through habitat creation, restoration and management as well as a range of fun, educational activities inspiring local people to get outside and enjoy the river environment.  The project also aims to recruit a new generation of Dragon Finders - people to go out spotting and recording the amphibians and reptiles that can be found in their local area.

Development funding of £25,100 has been awarded to help Froglife progress their plans to apply for the full grant at a later date.

Great crested and smooth newts are some of the 'dragons' that will benefit from the new project
Dragon Finder is recruiting a range of partners along the River Nene who will benefit from new habitats for frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards and Froglife will be working across different sites to arrange river trips, art workshops, habitat management sessions, training events, wildlife surveys and family fun days.  The River Nene project will also link in with Froglife’s London and Scotland Dragon Finder projects, with plans to encourage over thousands more people from all over the UK to get involved in looking for amphibians and reptiles.  A free app will help make this an engaging and easy activity for families, beginners and more experienced nature lovers and collect important data for local record centres.  You can find out more about Dragon Finder here.

The River Nene runs from Northamptonshire through Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire out to the Wash.  There is a diverse range of habitat, including farmland, parks, residential and industrial areas and nature reserves.  Although the area is perfect for a range of wildlife and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of amphibians and reptiles in the area, there is currently a lack of concrete information about how their populations are getting on and where they can be found.  Improved habitat management is also needed to ensure that the animals can flourish, move between habitats and survive changes in climate and water levels.  With amphibians and reptiles at high risk of extinction across the globe, data gathering is needed to get a clearer picture of the status of the animals in the UK and conservation work undertaken to make sure that our local species survive. 

Kathy Wormald, Froglife’s CEO said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us initial support for this exciting landscape scale project. The River Nene is an amazing natural resource, benefitting both local people and local wildlife.  We are really pleased to have the opportunity to help more people learn about, explore and enjoy the wildlife on their doorstep.  As well as providing fun activities, Dragon Finder will also recruit and support volunteers to improve the habitats along the river, enabling local people to learn new skills and connect with new people.”  

For further information,please contact:
Sam Taylor at Froglife on 01733 558844 or sam.taylor@froglife.org  

Photo: Dave Kilbey

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