A South Yorkshire landscape partnership has been recognised nationally for its contribution to recording and safeguarding wildlife in the Dearne Valley.
The Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership (DVLP), which works with communities to protect, preserve and enhance the area, has been shortlisted in the Lynne Farrell Group Award category for biological recording in the UK Biological Recording and Information Sharing Awards 2017.
The annual awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions made to biological recording by adults and young people, which is helping to improve our understanding of the UK’s wildlife.
Over the past two years, the DVLP has trained and developed the skills of over 420 local people in wildlife identification and surveying through 35 free training workshops. As a result, volunteers have contributed an estimated 15,000 new biological records into the Local Record Centres (LRC) in the last 24 months.
As well as providing greater biological records, the project has helped to fill gaps in ecological data, most notably reptiles and invertebrates on brownfield sites. The DVLP trained 25 volunteers in reptile survey and ID – together they generated around 400 new reptile records.
Roseanna Burton, community officer at the DVLP who leads on wildlife projects, said: “Being recognised for our work in the Dearne Valley means a great deal to us. A key aim of the DVLP has always been to support local people in having a greater understanding of the environment and heritage of the Dearne Valley.
“What motivates us all is to increase local knowledge but also to spark the passion in people who may not have had it before. Whether it’s a young child buying a bat detector after attending one of our events, or whether it’s someone attending one of our workshops and the next day finding a species that hadn’t been recorded in the area before, because of what they had learned.
“Our youngest volunteer was 15 years old and our oldest 84. Collectively, our volunteers have contributed towards Barnsley Biological Record Centre’s celebration of 250,000 records since it opened five years ago.”
This year’s winners of the UK Biological Recording and Information Sharing Awards will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday 16 November during the National Biodiversity Network’s annual conference in Cardiff.
Roseanna (pictured with butterfly feeders) said: “If we were to win this award, it would not just be for our hardworking DVLP team, but for our entire volunteer team and partners who have made this project possible.”
The Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership is a five-year scheme, running until June 2019, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project team, based at Elsecar Heritage Centre, is made up of five people working on a range of environmental, heritage and community projects.
For more information on the DVLP, visit: www.discoverdearne.org.uk