Three dedicated wardens have been shortlisted for a regional conservation award for their work in developing Saltwell’s Nature Reserve.
The team has been shortlisted for one of Natural England’s West Midlands Conservation Awards, highlighting the strong relationships they’ve developed with the local community and their hard work in turning around the condition of a Site of Special Scientific Interest and achieving National Nature Reserve status.
The team has worked closely with Natural England to transform the SSSI element of the site with a particular focus on Doulton’s Claypit. With the help of enthusiastic volunteers they cut back overgrown trees and removed scrub, allowing other flora and fauna to flourish. They reinstated footpaths to make the site more appealing and accessible and removed trees which were growing out of the rock faces, helping to preserve the site’s unique geological strata
Natural England is also set to make the formal announcement of Saltwells as a National Nature Reserve this summer, the first geological site to be selected under Natural England’s new NNR strategy launched in 2017.
Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for environmental, highways and street services, said:
The team at Saltwells are really committed and have forged strong connections with the local community. The team of volunteers there are exceptional and the friends group continue to go from strength to strength.
I’m really glad that they’ve been nominated, but they’re a credit to Saltwells and the borough as whole, regardless of the outcome.
The reserve has a large and active friends group and runs a range of events, including bluebell walks, green woodworking and currently hosts one of the largest health walks in the borough as well as a monthly carer’s walk.
It offers a range of volunteer activities, from one off corporate team building sessions to ecological maintenance and upkeep, as well as educational and research opportunities.
Plans have been agreed to build a new £450,000 warden’s base and education centre on the reserve offering additional school visits, educational activities and forest schooling opportunities.
The Awards are on 20 Feb at Wyre Forest and will be presented by Dr. Tim Hill, Natural England’s Chief Scientist.