Friday, 9 May 2014

RSPB in the Mersey Valley

Recently Manchester City Council issued the following press release:

Manchester City Council invites the RSPB ‘home’

Manchester City Council and the RSPB are set to develop an exciting new vision to connect people with nature in the Mersey Valley.

The two organisations will work closely with local people and groups at Chorlton Water Park and Fletcher Moss, to explore ways of encouraging people to do something positive for wildlife, reconnect with nature and help look after the Mersey Valley by getting actively involved.

This summer, two events will be held to launch the partnership and celebrate the RSPB’s 125th anniversary, with the organisation ‘coming home’ to Fletcher Moss, Didsbury - the place where the RSPB was founded in 1889, in protest against the barbarous trade in plumes for women's hats.

The RSPB’s Big Wild Sleep Out will take place in June and a 'Giving Nature a Home' Festival will be held in August.

A series of workshops has also been planned to take place throughout the year, allowing local people and organisations to contribute their ideas - and help shape and deliver the vision for the Valley.

Local friends groups and other key stakeholders are being encouraged to form a Mersey Valley Forum, which will be jointly managed by the council and the RSPB.

Councillor Rosa Battle, Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, said: “We're looking forward to working with local people and the RSPB, to continue to look after the Mersey Valley and help develop it for nature in the future.

"We want to encourage as many people as possible to get involved with this summer's events, whether it's by trying some exciting new activities, volunteering to help out, or by contributing their ideas."

The RSPB has already started talking to people and collecting information on site, using questionnaires - and will continue to do this until the summer, with both organisations keen to involve as many people as possible in the Mersey Valley vision.

Peter Robertson, RSPB Regional Director for Northern England, said: “I'm pleased the RSPB is returning to its roots to deliver this inspiring project. Recent studies have shown that Britain’s wildlife is in trouble but we know that together, people can make a difference; so we hope to work with the local community to help give nature a home, whether that’s taking action in their own homes or getting out and about in the valley, and lending a helping hand.

"Staggeringly, 60 per cent of Britain’s wildlife has decreased over the last 50 years, and more than 1 in 10 British species are threatened with extinction. In the same period, Britain has lost 44 million birds and 95 per cent of our hedgehogs have disappeared since the 1950s.

"Some shocking statistics have also revealed that children now spend less time playing outside and have less contact with nature than ever before. We believe that being connected with nature should be part of every child's life and through this partnership, we hope to enable this to happen.”

This is very exciting news! The RSPB is the UK's top nature conservation organisation and I'm sure that the Valley's wildlife will benefit enormously from their involvement.

Dave Bishop (FoCM Chair), 09.05.2014