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A range of outdoor activity, education and residential centres from around the region have become Peak District National Park ‘Ambassador Centres’.
The new partnership agreements between the National Park Authority and centres based in around the Peak District, deliver a commitment for youngsters to learn more about the UK’s original National Park, how to care for it and how to inspire others about the area’s special qualities.
The launch of Ambassador Centres comes as a recent independent review of protected landscapes in England (including National Parks) highlighted the need for more young people to re-connect with the outdoors, and reverse the trend of so-called ‘nature deficit disorder’.
Alongside showcasing the National Park to diverse audiences, centres with ambassador status will also improve their own environmental credentials around aspects such as use of plastics and renewable energy.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s St Michael’s Environmental Education Centre, in Hathersage, is the first to become an Ambassador Centre for the Peak District National Park. It has been providing high quality outdoor learning experiences for primary school children for over 34 years.
More information about our Ambassador Centres is at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/ambassador-centres.
Back in June this year the Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw) launched ambitious plans to create 165 acres of new native woodland on land above Gnoll Country Park in Neath. Five months later, following a successful fundraising appeal, the first trees were planted at the site on Saturday 30 November.
Neath people reach for their spades to help tackle the climate crisis.
The 150,000 native trees that the Woodland Trust eventually hopes to plant at Brynau will buffer and protect the small area of ancient wood that already exists there, linking it to the surrounding landscape with new hedges, and of course fighting the effects of climate change by purifying the air, locking up carbon and soaking up excess water which would otherwise run down the hills and contribute to flooding risk in Neath below. The tree planting the Trust aims to undertake across the whole site would capture over 23,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and lock up the carbon in their wood.
Another, novel element of the plan is that parts of the land are now being grazed by a small herd of seven heritage Welsh White cattle, an ancient breed. They will play a key role in increasing the biodiversity of the site, by helping to establish and maintain areas of wood pasture beneficial to lower plant life species. Brynau Wood will become their main home.
The mental health benefits of being outdoors and connecting with nature are increasingly well recognised. To ensure that everyone is able to access and enjoy the outdoors, we need to consider different needs and provide appropriate adjustments and support for those who need it.
This Sharing Good Practice event looked at maximising inclusiveness in outdoor events and nature spaces to enable everyone to participate and experience mental health benefits. It was a fully participative day of sharing ideas, techniques, experiences and opportunities for working with people with various mental health problems.
Smith, T, Beagley, L, Bull, J, et al. Biodiversity means business: Reframing global biodiversity goals for the private sector. Conservation Letters. 2019;e12690. doi: 10.1111/conl.12690 (open access)
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