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Jewels in the Dunes – volunteers needed

Plant Sea Holly North Walney NNR
Plant Sea Holly North Walney NNR

[W]alney Island has natural treasures to reveal. North Walney has some amazing sand dunes which are covered in colourful wildflowers resembling jewels thrown onto the dunes.

Recently work has taken place and we’re looking for volunteers to help us to survey the wildflowers in some of the newly fenced areas. South Walney is also needing surveys on areas that have been stripped of the top layer of turf to reveal the sand below, and we need help to survey what plants are growing in those areas.

We will be training volunteers on the ecology of sand dunes and dune grassland, and most importantly identifying wildflowers and some grass species, and this will be followed up with help and guidance on how to survey the sites, working with Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Natural England and South Lakes Ecology. There are 2 parts to the training – the date for the first training day is at North Walney on Sunday 9th July 9.30am to 4.30pm, meeting at Earnse Bay (the car park next the toilet block). The next session is Saturday 22nd July, 9.30am to 4.30pm at South Walney Nature Reserve. If you are interested, go to the Morecambe Bay website and follow the link to Eventbrite to book on. You will need to sign up to each individual training session (they are down as 2 events on Eventbrite). Or contact Annabelle Kennedy, Natural Heritage Officer at Morecambe Bay Partnership via email [email protected].

This project is perfect for a wide range of people, from those who have an interest in the natural world who feel they have little knowledge and want to learn new things, to those who feel they are competent botanists. Whatever your level of knowledge, you are welcome to join us to learn more about the these jewels in the dunes, and help us to understand a little better what’s happening in response to recent work. Even if you consider yourself an expert, we’d love you to join us and help those less skilled or confident. The survey method is really simple, and we hope that volunteers will be inspired to return each summer to help gather important information. Lots of training, guidance and support will be given.

Equipment and materials will be provided, and we will have someone dedicated to help and support for volunteers. Volunteers, after receiving training, will be undertaking a survey on either South Walney, North Walney or both, depending on what they prefer and what works for them. Volunteers will work in pairs or small groups as we have found this works really well. Further training may be offered.

This project is being delivered as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Headland to Headspace’ Scheme, which is offering a whole host of volunteering and community activities to help conserve, understand and celebrate the Bay’s rich natural and cultural heritage.

Annabelle Kennedy, Natural Heritage Officer at Morecambe Bay Partnership said ‘This an opportunity for people to get to know the sand dunes better and help us to gather some really important information, which will help us to make decisions about how to look after the sites’.
For more information about this project and to sign up, contact Annabelle Kennedy via email at [email protected] or go to our website www.morecambebay.org.uk

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