Help us build a picture of wildlife in the Brecks

Are you interested in monitoring wildlife? Live close to the Brecks or visit regularly?

Norfolk s Environmental Records Centre is looking for new volunteers to help record the distinctive biodiversity of Breckland, which studies have already shown is a nationally and internationally important hotspot for rarities.

The Wildlife Recorders of Tomorrow project is part of the Breaking New Ground Landscape Partnership scheme (supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund) and will provide wide-scale monitoring of wildlife which is important for detecting underlying changes to the biodiversity of the area.

Whether you re a complete beginner or a seasoned surveyor, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with lots of support and training.

Biodiversity Information Officer with Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service (NBIS), Sam Neal said: All you need is enthusiasm! We can provide training in species identification, or you may just want to tell us what you ve seen whilst out walking in the area.

Volunteers can choose from three levels depending on their interest, time availability and expertise:

  1. beginners will be given training and encouragement to get started;
  2. species surveillance volunteers will help with monitoring at a number of important wildlife sites in the Brecks;
  3. river corridor volunteers will survey a stretch of the Little Ouse river for invasive non-native species

To find out more, please register your interest by email, nbis@norfolk.gov.uk or visit the NBIS stand at the Charles Burrell Centre Open Day on Sunday 6th September from 10am 3pm, Staniforth Road, Thetford, IP24 3LH.

Views from Foulden Common with grateful thanks to Nick Ford Photography1

Breckland is one of the driest places in England with sandy soils and a continental climate which experiences extremes of temperature.

Previous studies by the University of East Anglia have shown that the area is a hotspot for biodiversity with a huge variety of species identified. In 2010 the university and a team of 200 naturalists collated nearly 1million records with over 12,000 species represented, of which over 2,000 are priorities for conservation in Breckland. The study showed how fragile their survival is, with habitat fragmentation, climate change and nitrogen deposition all risk factors.

New monitoring by Wildlife Recorders of Tomorrow will play a key part in developing strategies to ensure the long-term survival of all components of this unique ecosystem.

We do hope you can help.

More information

The Breaking New Ground Partnership will be delivering a 2.2M scheme with a series of new and exciting landscape and heritage conservation projects for the Brecks, thanks to a 1.5M grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The partnership is made up of regional, national and local organisations with an interest in the area, community groups and members of the community and includes:

Suffolk County Council, Norfolk County Council, Forest Heath District and St Edmundsbury Borough Councils, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Natural England, Historic England, Forestry Commission, University of East Anglia, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, The Breckland Society, Norfolk Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, Iceni Botanic Artists, Green Light Trust, Plantlife, Norfolk Geodiversity Partnership, Orchard Barn Environmental Education CIC, Ancient House Museum, West Stow Anglo Saxon Village.

The funding comprises just under 1.5million for delivery of the project with the remainder contributed by the partner organisations and volunteer input.

Breaking New Ground is hosted by Suffolk County Council at Brandon Country Park which is in the heart of the area and provides a convenient and accessible location for participants and partners, and is the location for a number of public participation events.

The Scheme outputs will concentrate on a 253km2 area within the Brecks, including Brandon and Thetford, with the aim of delivering real understanding and changes on the ground. This area encompasses a unique landscape in Britain with an incredible and much overlooked heritage and biodiversity.

It has been selected to be a representative core of the whole Brecks area and contains

The three main landscape character types of the Brecks, the two main population centers, and the greatest concentration of heritage assets.

For more information visit: www.breakingnewground.org.uk2

The Breckland Biodiversity Audit is available to download here3

References

  1. ^ Nick Ford Photography (www.nickpix.co.uk)
  2. ^ www.breakingnewground.org.uk (www.breakingnewground.org.uk)
  3. ^ The Breckland Biodiversity Audit is available to download here (ec.europa.eu)

See the original article here:
Help us build a picture of wildlife in the Brecks

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