Worcestershire Record No. 18 April 2005 p. 44
Helen Sharman, Biodiversity Action Plan Manager, Worcestershire.
(Editor’s note: Following Helen Sharman’s article is further information from Becky Lashley, appointed as Community Wildlife Officer to the Vision Mapping Project April 2005.)
The Worcestershire Biodiversity Partnership, of which the Worcestershire Biological Records Centre (WBRC) is a partner, has secured a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop a Worcestershire Vision Mapping Project. Focused on the historic Forest of Feckenham (see map), the project aims to involve the local community in shaping the future of biodiversity in their local environment, strengthen the biological data provision for the county and provide a strategic vision for the future of Worcestershire’s Wildlife. People living in the area will be encouraged to look into the past and present state of their local biodiversity and then use this to produce a Vision Map for the future. Nine parishes have been chosen as the focus for the project and it is hoped that each parish will create a vision map that can then be used to make a Vision Map that will act as a blueprint for future biodiversity priorities in the whole project area. Community Wildlife Officer (CWO) Becky Lashley, who is based at the WBRC, will help communities wishing to gather biological data and the Biodiversity Partnership organisations are also focusing effort in the project area.
This project has funding for two years, after which the partnership plans to extend the process across the county so that more of Worcestershire’s residents can input into the vision mapping process. Vision maps have been produced by other counties but the Worcestershire Vision Map will be the first to have an input from local people.
The project would very much like to involve the recording community to strengthen the work of the WBRC and raise the profile of biological recording in the county. The WBRC is pulling together data held from within the project area and would be very grateful for any other records that you may have. The project is also looking for Recorders who would be willing to lead short walks in conjunction with the CWO on their chosen expertise. If you would feel you can help enthuse people about Worcestershire’s wonderful wildlife, or would like to know more about the project, please contact Helen Sharman, Biodiversity Action Plan Manager or 01905 766852, email@example.com.
WORCESTERSHIRE VISION MAPPING PROJECT
The Worcestershire Biodiversity Partnership, a group of organisations including Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and Worcestershire Biological Records Centre, has been working together within the county since 1999 to support the implementation of the Worcestershire Biodiversity Action Plan objectives. The Partnership recently secured a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to begin an 18-month project within one of the priority ‘large areas’ for biodiversity in Worcestershire, the Forest of Feckenham. Landscape or large area based nature conservation is gradually becoming an important focus for many organisations within the sector, recognising the often limited value of otherwise biodiversity-rich sites because of their small size or isolated location. The large area approach aims to take a more holistic view of the countryside and recognise the role that all habitats and species can play in achieving biodiversity aims, whether a SSSI designated woodland or open arable fields.
The Vision Mapping Project aims to help communities within the area shown on the map (the parishes of Hanbury, Feckenham, Stoke Prior, Stock and Bradley, Bentley Pauncefoot and Himbleton) explore their past and present biodiversity heritage and to have a say in its future. The new part time post of Community Wildlife Officer for the Partnership is based at the WBRC and will be working with schools and community groups within the project area to help with wildlife surveys and other activities aimed at engaging people in the natural history of their local area. The project aims to give those communities a voice in planning for the future of biodiversity in their parish by mapping what exists today and what each community would like to see there in the future. In addition, the project hopes to collect some valuable habitat and species data to contribute to that already held by the Biological Records Centre and to encourage people who get involved in the project to keep on recording.
This is an exciting pilot project for Worcestershire. If you live within or near to any of these parishes and would be interested in getting involved we would love to hear from you! There are many ways you can help; from making this area more of a focus for some of your recording activity to helping lead guided recording sessions with members of the public. For more information about the project contact Becky Lashley on 01905 759759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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