Rare dragonflies could soon be a more familiar sight in the Merseyside countryside after plans to restore 55 hectares of heathland, reedbed and bog received a £111,000 funding boost.
The Mersey Forest Team, on behalf of the Community Forest Trust will begin a programme of scrub clearance, reed cutting and water level management work at Colliers Moss Common Local Nature Reserve this summer, after receiving the money from grant-giving body WREN's FCC Biodiversity Action Fund.
Paul Nolan, Director of The Mersey Forest, hopes the two-year project will create a lasting biodiversity hotspot suitable for 17 species of dragonfly and other threatened flora and fauna, including bumble bees, lizards and water voles.
He said: "We are extremely grateful to WREN for backing the Colliers Moss Biodiversity project. Without support of this kind we really are in danger of losing some of our most endangered habitats, along with the rare and threatened species that rely on them for their survival."
WREN is a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community, biodiversity and heritage projects from funds donated by FCC Environment through the Landfill Communities Fund. Colliers Moss Biodiversity is one of 16 projects to receive a share of the £2.7m given out by WREN's FCC Biodiversity Action Fund this year.
Lisa Green, WREN Operations Manager, said: "FCC Environment and WREN are committed to supporting projects that protect and expand some of the country's most important ecosystems. That's why we're delighted to be funding the Colliers Moss Biodiversity project, which will help to safeguard the future of this nationally-significant landscape for generations to come."
More information about WREN can be found at www.wren.org.uk/
Commitments made include supplying and growing a greater diversity of tree species as well as considering the provenance of seed to give the forests of the future the greatest chance of continuing to provide the many benefits they do, particularly in the face of damaging pests and diseases that may be a greater threat in a changed climate.
There will be more sharing of skills and experiences from woodland managers. Different ways of managing woodland for timber, such as Continuous Cover Forestry, will be expanded. This is a system of forestry that avoids felling entire woodlands of trees of the same age and has benefits including providing shade, cooling, improved drainage and weather shelter.
Paul Nolan, Director, The Mersey Forest, said:
"Trees can help to protect us from climate change by reducing and removing carbon from the atmosphere and help us adapt by providing cooling and shade. That positive benefit from woodland can only take place if we refine how we design, plant, and manage trees and woodlands so that they can withstand and thrive in future climates."
Mike Seville, Forestry & Woodland Adviser, Countryside Landowners Association said:
"The forestry, agriculture and land use sector has significant opportunities to contribute to climate change mitigation but at the same time is one of the most exposed to climate impacts.
"The CLA has been pleased to be part of this important initiative to embed adaptation to climate change into woodland management nationally. We urge all woodland owners and managers to lend their support to the accord statement produced by the group and to let their views be known by completing the online survey".
Environment Minister Rory Stewart added:
"Building our resilience to climate change is important for everyone. That's why we developed the first National Adaptation Programme report setting out actions for government, businesses, local councils and communities.
"It's crucial we take the changing climate into account in all our decision making and I congratulate the forestry industry on these proposals. By ensuring we manage our woodlands carefully and plant more diverse species we can improve the resilience of our forests and safeguard them from the risks posed by climate change."
Forestry professionals, including woodland owners and managers, agents, tree nursery businesses, and foresters, are being asked for their assessment on how well the sector is adapting to environmental change.
The British Woodland Survey 2015, funded by the Forestry Commission and Woodland Trust and hosted by the Sylva Foundation, is now live online and preliminary findings are expected to be revealed in early October.
The final results will inform the government's second National Adaptation Programme report and will support forestry businesses as they make changes to adapt their businesses.
Read more about The Mersey Forest's work on climate change
A new three-year green health and wellbeing programme is set to hit Liverpool, St.Helens and Sefton this summer thanks to £419,597 funding by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.
The Mersey Forest's Nature4Health initiative will use the power of nature to help people give their minds and bodies a boost. Activities on offer will include woodland walks, therapeutic gardening and practical conservation sessions to get the heart pumping. The popular meditation technique of mindfulness will be given a new twist by putting it in a natural setting.
"There's a wealth of evidence that being out in woodlands and green spaces makes us healthier and happier" said Paul Nolan, Director, The Mersey Forest. "This programme will enable people to enjoy their local green spaces and get fitter at the same time."
Places where Nature4Health sessions will be available include Colliers Moss, St.Helens; Mab Lane, Liverpool; Dam Wood, Croxteth Park, Liverpool; Bootle South Recreation Ground, Sefton; Rimrose Country Park, Sefton and more to be announced. Activities will be targeted at both adults and children and designed to be welcoming to complete beginners.
There will also be the opportunity for people to get involved in learning the skills needed to help out with managing the sessions, boosting their experience for the job market.
The Mersey Forest is managing Nature4Health via the Community Forests Trust, and both Liverpool University and the Physical Activity Exchange at Liverpool John Moores University will be studying the new programme to see how it impacts on people's health.
Wembley Stadium had nothing on St.Helens, when the Clinkham Woodland Cup returned for its annual feast of football and rugby. Eight local primary schools competed at the event, with Rainford C of E Primary winning the football cup and Bleak Hill Primary School winning the rugby trophy.
The one-day tournament, organised by community group The Friends of Clinkham Wood in conjunction with Steve Moore from St Aidan's Primary School and St.Helens Council's Ranger Service, was held on Thursday 9th July from noon until 4pm at Windermere Playing Field, adjacent to Clinkham Wood.
Trophies made entirely of wood from Clinkham Wood were awarded to the teams by St.Helens Mayor Stephen Glover (pictured). Wooden medals were also presented to the winners and runners-up of both competitions.
The event was supported by environmental regeneration initiative The Mersey Forest, local school donations and money from United Utilities via the St.Helens Landscape Fund.
"This is the fourteenth Woodland Tournament since we first started running the event back in 2001," explained Neil McMahon, Treasurer of Friends of Clinkham Wood. "It's been a great afternoon, and has been brilliant for youngsters from the local area."
Nature4Health is a three year project which uses the power of the natural environment to reduce health inequalities.You will be working closely with the project manager, local groups and project partners to deliver and help coordinate the activities which are funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.
You will have experience of successfully co-ordinating or managing community projects and working effectively with a range of organisations. You will also be able to demonstrate a passion for working with some of our most deprived communities.
This post is based at Risley Moss, Warrington and there will also be opportunity for you to work across The Mersey Forest.
Fixed term until end of June 2018
Closing date: 12 noon Thursday 3 September 2015. Provisional interview date: Friday 18 September.
Please send your CV and an overview of why you think you may be suitable for this role based on the job specification and description to email@example.com or by post to Community Forest Trust, 6 Kansas Avenue, Salford, M50 2GL. Registered Charity No. 1072706.
We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applicants from all sections of the community.