Progress

"Awareness and involvement are the key areas for the focus of biodiversity action planning "

‘Education –Awareness to Action’ England Biodiversity Group (1999)

BELLAMY LAUNCH
David Bellamy, biologist and broadcaster, launches the consultation phase of the BAP on September 29th 2000.

Copyright: The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside

In August 1999 a first meeting was convened of a Lancashire BAP Education / Publicity Working Group. The aim of the group was agreed as being: "To assist the Biodiversity Action Plan process in Lancashire by promoting education and publicity initiatives that promote sustainable involvement in biodiversity conservation projects by individuals and organisations."

The group was also chosen to pilot approaches to biodiversity awareness-raising as part of a national project organised by the Wildlife Trusts for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR). . Lancashire’s task was to produce and evaluate written materials to stimulate interest from a general audience. The other pilot schemes are summarised below in Table 1 below. It is anticipated that the lessons learned by the other projects will be useful also in the context of this county.

The materials produced by the Group consisted of the following:

  • A5 Colour poster illustrating ‘Biodiversity in Lancashire’: 15,000 were produced and distributed through libraries, museums and schools. A local wildlife artist illustrated the poster.

  • Biodiversity Postcards: A set of four postcards depicting different species, encouraging the public to return biological records. 15,000 were distributed in Spring 2000 via museums and visitor centres and in the Wildlife Trust’s magazine, "Lapwing". By November 2000 approximately 800 had been returned.

The Project Officer worked with Wellfield High School students in Leyland to find out what improvements to the postcards and poster could be made in order to make them more attractive to a secondary-school aged audience. Their suggestions will be incorporated into a proposed Biodiversity website.

Box 1: DETR Biodiversity Awareness Projects

DEVON – THE TOURISM INDUSTRY.

Focussed on areas where high levels of tourism overlap with BAP habitats and species, the awareness of the industry has been raised and specially published resources have been made available at tourist hot-spots.

DORSET – FORMAL EDUCATION PROJECT

Middle schools have been targeted, to encourage young people to become interested and involved in conserving biodiversity. The main tool has been a travelling puppet theatre.

GLOUCESTERSHIRE – PARISH COUNCILS

A strong commitment to work with rural communities was supported by a series of workshops and discussion meetings with Parish Councils, raising awareness among Councillors and the public.

HAMPSHIRE – THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR

Taking care not to make any prior assumptions about the level of awareness of farmers and farm advisers, land-owning farmers in particular have responded to a series of surveys, farm walks and proposed leaflets.

KENT – BIODIVERSITY IN URBAN GARDENS

‘BUGS’ aims to reach gardeners who are not necessarily ‘environmentalists’ working through the media, demonstration gardens and garden centres, and through a series of displays and publications.

WORCESTERSHIRE – LOCAL AUTHORITY PARTNERSHIPS

An audit was conducted of the actions of each local authority in the county, with the aim of demonstrating the importance and relevance of biodiversity planning in the work of officers and members.

Students from Blackpool & Fylde College’s Natural History Illustration and Design Course competed to design a logo for the project. The project’s present logo draws its inspiration from the winning design.

In order to put this ‘People Plan’ together the Education Working Group organised a series of six meetings with chosen focus groups to provide a detailed picture of the current level of awareness of biodiversity in different sectors. The layout of this Plan reflects this approach and the ideas proposed are those that were raised during the meetings.

 

 

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