Thinking of making a New Year’s Resolution? One Cumbrian visitor attraction is doing its bit to help conserve an important corner of the Lake District – and it’s looking for local people’s help to make a positive difference to the landscape on our doorstep.
The Lake District Wildlife Park is most famous as the home of more than 100 species of birds, reptiles and mammals across 24 acres near Keswick; what’s less well known is its conservation work behind the scenes locally.
With the start of a New Year, the Wildlife Park has confirmed a series of 2019 dates for its newly created Conservation Volunteer programme, getting underway with a full day on 19th January.
The Volunteers will take part a range of activities on the Armathwaite Hall Estate, which is made up of more than 200 hectares of farmland, open parkland, ancient woodland, lake shore and river bank. That includes officially designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest and more than 27 hectares of managed upland hay meadow – one of the UK’s most threatened habitats.
The team from the Wildlife Park say one of their main aims is to encourage Cumbrians from all walks of life to come together and take ownership of the hidden wildlife havens just beyond their backyards.
Lucy Dunn, Education Co-ordinator at the Lake District Wildlife Park explains, “For anyone who’s ever wanted to plant some trees or sow some seeds which will transform into glorious wild meadow, this is a great opportunity to do just that. Volunteers will also be able to get involved in the traditional craft of willow weaving, which is vital to create the fencing needed to hold back riverbank erosion. Additional help to prevent the removal of invasive species is always welcomed too.
“It’s often at this time of year, when the turkey and tinsel is fading fast into the memory, that people feel inspired to get out into nature and reflect on the world around them. Volunteers are welcome to join us every month, or just once or twice a year. Whatever contribution people want to make is fantastic and as well as benefitting the local landscape, it can really create a sense of personal wellbeing and purpose.”
She adds, “What may surprise people is the amount of rubbish that washes up on the shore of Bassenthwaite Lake. The Armathwaite Hall estate is in the catchment area for Seatoller and the Newlands Valley, so litter does unfortunately wash up alongside the lake from the wider area. This isn’t a problem which is usually associated with freshwater, but litter-picking has become an important aspect of preserving the area for the future.”
Anyone interested in becoming a Conservation Volunteer at the Lake District Wildlife Park should contact Lucy Dunn on 017687 76239 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The full calendar of dates set aside so far includes: 19th January, 16th February, 16th March