Worcestershire Record No. 21 April 2007 p. 8


Becky Lashley, Community Wildlife Officer


By the time you read this article the Vision Mapping project will have only around two months left to run. The Heritage Lottery funding the Biodiversity Partnership received, and therefore my post, ends in mid-January 2007. It seems like the time has flown by but looking back we have done and achieved an awful lot in a relatively short space of time. Since the last Worcestershire Record we have finished the first round of community consultation events in which residents have told us what they value about the natural environment around them and how they would like to see the biodiversity on their doorstep protected and enhanced for the future. In November, members of the Biodiversity Partnership steering group are due to sit down in the IT suite at County Hall and use the GIS to create vision maps for each parish, the Forest of Feckenham and the county. As well as data gathered from the communities we will be incorporating Habitat Inventory and Landscape Character information, soils data, designated sites and protected species data and any other source of information we have at our disposal! Once the first maps have been drafted they will be put out for consultation, which includes being taken back to the communities on the ground so they will have an opportunity to comment on what the Partnership has done.

Everyone is now starting to ask questions about the future of Vision Mapping, and wanting to know what is going to happen post-January. As far as the project itself goes, Vision Mapping is going to end. As much as we would like them to, HLF will not fund the continuation of existing projects. Some of you will be aware that I have been working with the Recorders committee over the last few months to write a project bid to Your Heritage for an ancient tree project: raising awareness of and promoting the biological recording of ancient trees and their associated habitats and species, developing further the database that John Tilt has been working on, and training local volunteers to go out and survey trees within their parish. The bid has just been sent in (mid-October) and so we wait to hear whether or not we have been successful.

Those of you with close links to Worcestershire Wildlife Trust may have heard about a new project that the Trust is leading on behalf of the West Midlands Biodiversity Partnership. Landscapes for Living is an ambitious project aimed at developing a 50 year vision for biodiversity in the West Midlands, taking a landscape scale approach to restoring and enhancing biodiversity. It seeks to engage a wide range of stakeholders, from not just the nature conservation sector but incorporating economic and social agendas as well. The biodiversity map produced will identify opportunities for large scale nature conservation projects. The maps produced by the Vision Mapping project will therefore act as a first draft of the county map for Worcestershire to be produced through Landscapes for Living, thus ensuring that the information gathered and best practice learned from Vision Mapping will be incorporated into something bigger and better.

Two things to finish off with: firstly, a huge thank you to all those who took part in the farmland bird survey this year. We had around 1500 records collected overall which is a fantastic effort. See Patrick Taylor’s article for more detailed information about the survey results. Secondly, and possibly most importantly, thank you to all those in the recording community who have given up their time over the last 18 months to get involved in the Vision Mapping project. Your help and support has been much appreciated and valued.

Lower Smite Farm, Smite Hill, Hindlip, Worcs, WR3 8SZ - becky@wbrc.org.uk - 01905 759759

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