Norfolk nature volunteers celebrated at 2018 Community Biodiversity Awards

PUBLISHED: 10:01 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:38 20 July 2018

Winners of the 2018 Norfolk Community Biodiversity Awards. Picture: Keiron Tovell

Winners of the 2018 Norfolk Community Biodiversity Awards. Picture: Keiron Tovell

Keiron Tovell

Volunteers who devote their time to protecting Norfolk’s wildlife and enhancing their natural environment were honoured at an annual awards ceremony.

The Community Biodiversity Awards are run by the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership (NBP) to celebrate people whose voluntary efforts improve wildlife habitats across the county, and lead to greater community engagement with local nature sites.

Awards organisers said there were “many outstanding nominations and inspiring examples of community groups taking on the care for high-quality green spaces across Norfolk” – initiatives which had become increasingly important amid the continued pressure on local authority budgets.

Among the 12 projects and individuals recognised at the awards evening at the Abbey Conference Centre on Bracondale in Norwich, there were seven overall winners:

• Friends of All Saints Church, Hemblington, for the “innovative way they approach conservation of the local churchyards, taking professional advice and working with others”.

• Friends of Cremer’s Meadow, in Brundall, for “demonstrating how a neglected meadow can be restored to a beautiful wildlife-rich area”.

• Joseph Hubbard, who works at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure in Lenwade but also organises wildlife weekends, information displays, surveys, talks and meetings across Norfolk, for “his passion for biodiversity and commitment to communicating it to other young people”.

• Amy Ranger, who started the Under Fives Out and About Group around King’s Lynn, for “her work to stimulate a love of nature in young children”.

• Joe Harkness, who launched a project called Bird Therapy to help improve people’s mental health, for “his inspiring commitment to helping people to better health through birdwatching”.

• Jane Harris, whose contribution to Norfolk’s bats goes back more than 20 years through organisations including the Bat Conservation Trust, the Norfolk Barbastelle Study Group, and the Norwich Bat Group, for “her commitment, long service and achievements in bat conservation”.

• The Friends of Horsey Seals, for “their incredible commitment to and enthusiasm for protecting seals and educating the public about them”.

David North, chairman of the NBP Communities and Nature Topic Group, which organises the awards, said: “This is the 15th year for the Community Biodiversity Awards. Over the time the awards have been running we have celebrated some outstanding conservation projects and individuals who have made a real difference in their local communities.

“Working together on conservation projects is a great way to make a difference for wildlife alongside benefits for human health and wellbeing.”

The NBP is a partnership of 23 organisations working through a number of topic groups. The Communities and Nature Topic Group membership is drawn from organisations including Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Norwich City Council, RSPB, district councils, The Conservation Volunteers and Norfolk County Council.

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