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Carlisle youngsters win wildlife awards

Young people from Carlisle Youth Zone repair the boardwalk over the wetlands at Gosling Sike near Houghton

Three young people from Carlisle were recently presented with John Muir Awards in recognition of their hard work towards helping nature and wildlife.

Chris Greensmith, Ellis Fleming and Connor Tyson received the environmental awards after taking part in a project run by Carlisle Youth Zone (CYZ) and Cumbria Wildlife Trust, during which 29 young people gave hands-on help to restore and nurture wildlife in some of Cumbria’s wild places.

To earn their awards, they helped to improve the woodlands at Wreay Woods Nature Reserve near Carlisle by helping to repair a bridge that had been damaged in the floods of 2015 and rebuilding entrance steps and a hand rail. They also helped to restore the damaged boardwalk in the wetlands at Gosling Sike, Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s northern base in Houghton, and worked on the creation of the new community wildlife garden at Gosling Sike. They helped to build fences, clear overgrowth, prepare flowerbeds for planting and made boot racks. They learnt traditional crafts such as green woodworking (using unseasoned wood) and cleft oak fencing (made from heart of oak that has been split down the fibres of the tree, making it stronger than sawn oak).

Young people from Carlisle Youth Zone fix fencing at Wreay Woods Nature Reserve, damaged during Storm Desmond.

Cameron Wilson, Team Leader at Carlisle Youth Zone, says: “This project was amazing for CYZ, it offered a great opportunity for 29 of our members to become involved in practical activities in extraordinary settings. Those involved had the opportunity to take part in wildlife walks, woodwork, landscaping and enjoying the natural environment. Witnessing the young people that we work with on a regular basis in a different environment, developing and learning with the help of the fantastic staff at Cumbria Wildlife Trust was truly inspirational.”

Helen Duxbury, Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s Development Manager, says: “We were delighted to work with Carlisle Youth Zone on this exciting project. Thanks to funding from the National Lottery, two important nature reserves have benefitted from the enthusiastic hard work from a great group of young people. Wreay Woods Nature Reserve was badly affected by the Carlisle floods at the end of 2015, when much of the visitor paths and signage was washed away. Through this project, young people were not only able to discover more about Carlisle’s natural heritage but they carried out vital work to help us repair the visitor infrastructure.”

Helen continued: “We were also grateful for their help at Gosling Sike – our new community wildlife garden is coming on well there, thanks to their input. The wildlife garden will create space for pollinators, other insects, birds and wild flowers and shrubs to thrive. We look forward to when this will be a lovely relaxing space where people from Carlisle and further afield can come and appreciate nature.”

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