The project ‘Our Dee Estuary’, made possible by National Lottery players, aims to inspire coastal communities on the Wirral and in Flintshire and Denbighshire about the wildlife of the Dee Estuary.
Following development stage funding awarded in 2019, Cheshire Wildlife Trust has been working with partners and local communities on both shores of the Estuary to design a range of activities that benefit both people and wildlife and celebrate the global wildlife significance of the Estuary.
Volunteering is at the heart of the project and across a broad range of themes. Some of the project activities include:
- Interpreting the Estuary through sound, creative writing and art
- Bringing communities together to protect wading birds including coastal awareness training days and a wader friendly badge scheme
- Water and wildlife pop-up events to raise awareness of pollution issues and how people can take action to create a clean water environment
- Opportunities to join in with coastal wildlife surveying and practical conservation tasks
- A Dee Estuary teacher training programme to engage children in England and Wales
- Opportunities for people to connect with the Estuary to support their health and wellbeing.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded £540,100 towards the £900,000 project that will benefit the Estuary over the next three years.
David Renwick, Director, England, North, at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“Through our conversations with National Lottery players, we know that nature is incredibly important to them, something that has only been heightened during the past 18 months as communities have explored the green spaces and wildlife on their doorsteps. The funding we are investing in the ‘Our Dee Estuary Project’ means that local people can play their part in preserving the significant and varied wildlife that the Dee Estuary holds, an area that provides a key natural connection between the North of England and Wales. At The National Lottery Heritage Fund, we’re incredibly proud to be playing a role in ensuring our natural heritage is safeguarded for generations to come, but also that the projects we fund give people the chance to connect with the nature and wildlife that is on their doorsteps. Congratulations to the Tidal Dee Catchment Partnership; we can’t wait to see the great things the Project will deliver for wildlife and people.”
Cheshire Wildlife Trust is leading the Project on behalf of the Tidal Dee Catchment Partnership, which brings together a range of local organisations with an interest in the Estuary.
Commenting on the award, Tom Woodall, Chair of the Tidal Dee Catchment Partnership said:
“We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players.
The Estuary is an amazing place for wildlife with more than 120,000 waterfowl visiting annually. That’s almost one for every resident of Flintshire. This global spectacle is on a massive scale, yet many of us barely notice that it is being played out around us. We want to use this funding to celebrate our nature and unite the communities across the Estuary by reconnecting them to a common estuarine heritage”.
Sarah Bennett, Project Manager for Cheshire Wildlife Trust who led on writing the bid for the project said:
“We are very excited to work in partnership over the next three years to deliver a project which will benefit our Dee Estuary and its communities. This is the first time we have established a cross-border community wildlife project for the Estuary and it will open up lots of opportunities for local people to engage with the Estuary and play their part in securing its future.”
Dr. David Parker, Chair of the Our Dee Estuary Project Steering Group said:
“This Project promises the very real prospect of a lasting legacy where people’s increased awareness and love of the Dee Estuary will lead to real change in the way it is protected, managed and future decisions are made. Thinking about the Dee Estuary in a joined-up way is vital if the Estuary is going to be managed sustainably for the benefit of its coastal communities and the internationally important wildlife it supports.”
For more information about the project and how you can get involved visit: www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/ourdeeestuary or follow the project on social media on Twitter @ourdeeestuary, Facebook @ourdeeestuary and Instagram @ourdeeestuary