Newbury College Lake Conservation Group receives conservation award

Wednesday, 14 September 2016 11:14

The Newbury College Lake Conservation Group has won a Dorothy Morley Conservation Award and a £500 grant.

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Julia Hawkins, the Lake Conservation Group project leader and lecturer at Newbury College, said: “The award recognises the hard work of two groups of students with learning difficulties who have, over the course of two years, transformed the lakeside environment. The ‘Health Walk’ is used by students, staff and members of the public as somewhere beautiful to walk and enjoy the wildlife. 

“The students worked with the Wildlife Trust on Crookham Common, learning how to use tools such as loppers and saws to clear scrub and allow species such as heather to thrive.  The students also learnt about the wildlife that would benefit from their work. 

“Our students then applied these skills to work at the lakeside, clearing overgrown trees and shrubs and allowing light to penetrate. A pond dipping survey carried out together with BBOWT in May, revealed that the lake was teeming with species including smooth newts, dragonfly nymph and water stick insects.

“This year’s First Skills group will continue the work as part of their Project in Sustainability. The prize means we can now buy more tools and perhaps join forces with our multi trades department to build benches and nesting boxes.”

Dan Akam, Community Wildlife Officer for Berkshire with the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust praised the Newbury College group. “The Newbury College Lake Conservation Group showed us they are carrying out important conservation work for wildlife with great enthusiasm and ambition. The lake is a welcome area of tranquillity and bird life, and is a focal point on the College campus for a health walk, encouraging students and local residents to enjoy being close to their local wildlife.

“The Award judges were impressed with how the volunteers have learned new skills and practical conservation techniques, and put them to good use on the Lake Conservation project.”

The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust runs the Dorothy Morley Conservation Awards scheme, which highlights all the superb work done by volunteers in Berkshire for the benefit of their local community and wildlife.

The bi-annual Dorothy Morley Conservation Award scheme is a tribute to the memory of dedicated conservationist Dorothy Morley who lived near Newbury. It was set up in 2000 and continues to support local groups and their projects thanks to the outstanding generosity of the Morley family.