(Double Lunch - John Marsh)
A water vole reintroduction project at Magor Marsh Nature Reserve in Caldicot, Wales, has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award at the 2015 Biffa Awards. A ceremony which recognises the people who build communities and transform lives through Biffa Award funded projects.
Gwent Wildlife Trust will now compete against three other organisations from across the country for the chance to be named winner of the ‘Rebuilding Biodiversity’ category, and receive a £1,500 prize!
The Trust’s reintroduction project received £39,333 in funding from Biffa Award to reintroduce water voles into Magor Marsh Nature Reserve. The funding was used to control and monitor the mink population, so voles could be reintroduced in a safe environment. Mink rafts were installed to humanely control numbers around the site, along with vole feeding rafts to help observe the illusive mammal. Over 80 volunteers were recruited to help survey the populations of both animals as the project progressed. This investment in monitoring and recruiting committed volunteers has ensured that the population is managed in a sustainable way. Since the reintroduction the water vole populations continued to rise in the area, the local residents of Magor have embraced the little mammal as a much loved local asset, and visitor numbers have increased.
The Biffa Awards 2015 will be held on October 1 at the Coventry Transport Museum. All the finalists will be invited to attend a day of celebrating the passion and commitment of those who dedicate their lives to building communities and transforming lives; benefiting those around them, as well as the environment.
Competition has been fierce from the start, with more than 240 projects eligible to enter the awards under five different categories: Community Buildings, Cultural Facilities, Rebuilding Biodiversity, Recreation and Small Grants.
Category winners at the Awards will receive a trophy and prize money of £1,500, which can be used to further develop their project. Each winner then has the chance of being crowned the Overall Winner for 2015, receiving a further £1,000 prize. Gillian French, Biffa Award Programme Manager,
said: “The Biffa Awards have been held for over 10 years and each year they create a fantastic opportunity for us to celebrate and recognise the dedicated people who are delivering some of the excellent projects we have funded. A great deal of the projects we support have a huge and lasting impact on their local community and environment, so to be shortlisted for an award is a wonderful achievement in itself. Our judges have a difficult but exciting task ahead in choosing the winners.”