A look at the work funded by NRW
Our Grants programme funds a wide variety of projects across Wales. here we take a look at just a few of them.
SEASEARCH, MARINE CONSERVATION SOCIETY
Natural Resources Wales is an evidence-based organisation and relies on many different channels to gather the information that informs our decisions and meet our responsibilities to the people, environment, and economy of Wales.
NRW has been working with the Marine Conservation Society’s Seasearch project.
Seasearch works with volunteer divers around Wales (and the UK) to provide vital information about the presence of the habitats and species around the coast that are fundamental to improving our evidence base.
Despite the covid-related of the last two years restrictions, this citizen science project has continued on the Gower Peninsular and has included online volunteer training and support for volunteer shoreline and snorkel surveys.
Dr Charlotte Bolton said:
“Seasearch has produced enthusiastic, ocean-literate volunteers who have adopted their local patch and are taking a keen interest in it, carrying out field surveys, activism and campaigning on particular issues that affect the area, as well as increasing their individual skills and enjoyment of the marine environment.
“They are engaging with their local environment, wanting to do something meaningful locally and as a result we have ended up with a pool of engaged, informed local people who are helping to establish a data baseline in a previously under-recorded/data deficient that can be used in all sorts of marine management.”
Picture courtesy of Blaise Bullimore, Seasearch
Community garden blooms from seeds of partnership
Partnership working plays a vital role in Natural Resources Wales’ work to protect and improve the environment across the country.
In the Rhondda Valley, we have been working with the Sunrise Community Garden to turn derelict land next to the Arts Factory in Ferndale into a community garden.
The Rhondda Fach Community Garden is a vibrant, accessible space, bringing people of all ages and abilities together to gain new skills and combat isolation and loneliness.
The project is contributing to NRW’s commitment to the sustainable management of natural resources including creating healthy places for people, contributing to the circular economy and helping people live healthier and more fulfilled lives.
It will regenerate skills, create ideas and encourage future generations by connecting people and nature through investments in green infrastructure.
The garden has already made a positive impression on the community, just look at these comments from volunteers:
“Friendships have already been formed and repaired for some where the pandemic caused them to lose touch with friends and family. We’ve seen the smiles back on people’s faces.”
“We’re on an industrial estate, a concrete jungle, but then you come to a beautiful garden.”
“We’ve learnt about different ways to plant out beds that are greener. We’ve grown carrots, lettuces, green beans, potatoes, and also some flowers for pollinators and to look pretty.”
“It’s been really good to get people outdoors and get a sense of achievement in contributing to the garden and taking ownership of it.”
“We’re beginning to get the inter-generational approach that is key to Arts Factory, helping children to see everyone as equals.”
“Kids are growing things in a children’s area. We’re seeing the kids’ horizons opening up for them, spending time outdoors. It’s the first time that Arts Factory have been able to offer some activities in green spaces for children”.
Tackling the decline in fish populations
Declining fish numbers and river health are an ongoing cause for concern, but unfortunately there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution and to tackle the issue requires input from a variety of organisations in the private and public sectors.
Natural Resources Wales is working with Afonydd Cymru on Inland Fisheries Habitat Restoration, along with landowners, County Councils and volunteers to deliver prioritised improvements to inland fisheries habitats across the country.
The project aims to:
- Improve spatial distribution of breeding fish by connecting more than 400km of river by removing barriers allowing at risk salmon and sea trout populations to reach their spawning grounds.
- Restored optimal habitats in upper catchments for diverse fish production.
- Resolution of sediment entry to rivers from poorly managed cattle drinking areas to improve water quality of our freshwater ecosystems.
Gail Davies-Walsh said:
“It’s been a real opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of Wales’ beautiful catchments and to build relationships with landowners.
“Relationships between partners, regional Rivers Trusts, and throughout the Rivers Trust movement have been strengthened. We’ve engaged farmers and landowners and we’ve fostered relationships both for this and future projects.
“Working through the pandemic, we have recognised the importance of Rivers Trusts in supporting green jobs across Wales – we are now going to work on capturing this additional element of our work in future projects.”
Coed Caerdydd greening the city
Coed Caerdydd is a three-part project, funded by NRW, and delivered by Cardiff Council Parks Department working with Public Service Board partners, including South Wales Fire and Rescue and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
It includes a land-use scoping exercise for tree planting on PSB partner-owned land and the installation of green walls on PSB land.
The project contributes to NRW’s Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SMNR) principles by helping ecosystems to be more resilient, protecting people from environmental risks and helping to create healthy places for people. While improving the quality of our ecosystems.
The benefits of the project have been identified by the partners and volunteers.
“The public love the green walls, something green in a hard landscape. We know that the walls help with air quality, and we've got the Wildlife Trust and its volunteers helping to monitor for things like pollinators and butterflies.”
“The fire officers have been inspired to make their balcony a nicer space. They’re now using a space they didn’t have before.”
“It’s been a real opportunity to reach out beyond Cardiff Council's spaces, to get buy-in to increasing tree canopy cover.”
“The brand matters because of recognition, helping individual trees to be seen as part of an urban forest and canopy for the city, explaining what trees can do for people. It’s allowed us to develop the brand, which is important as preparation for the bigger project.”
“One of the biggest things is the link with PSB partners. It was a fantastic opportunity to get inroads to the PSB. It’s helped to reduce the separation between operational and strategic levels.
An award fit for the future
Natural Resources Wales has been working with the John Muir Trust to extend the use of the John Muir Award through schools, Welsh-speaking communities and social inclusion audiences to enable more people to connect with, enjoy and care for the wild places of Wales.
This involves improving skills, leadership training and providing direct support to schools and other educational establishments around the new curriculum and creating opportunities for outdoor learning.
The award focusses on delivering wellbeing to individuals and communities, including a minimum of 25 hours outdoor activities and has practical impacts on the natural environment through activities such as litter-picking, planting trees and the reduction of carbon footprints.
A spokesperson said:
“We’ve taken a new approach, to be very outward-facing, being pro-active rather than reactive. It wouldn’t be possible without the infrastructure that we’re putting in place through the project.
“It’s allowing us to build relationships, and it’s creating staff capacity and experience and we’ve reduced barriers to participation through free training and providing access to free advice
“It’s a simple but quite fundamental change, to be free and accessible.”
The project contributes to NRW’s Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SMNR) principles by championing the Welsh environment and helping people live healthier and more fulfilled lives.
Case Studies collated by Resources for Change