Category Archives: Environmentalist

Environmentalist Lori Grace of Tiburon funds Biorock Technology project to contribute to help SF Bay underwater life

Tiburon, CA, 2016-Sep-03 — /EPR Network/ — Lori Grace, founder of the Bay area organization, Save Our Bay, Save Our Ocean, a division of Sunrise Center, is now funding Tom Goreau of the Global Coral Reef Alliance to work with the Romberg Environmental Research Center in Tiburon in a Biorock project that, if successful, will assist the SF Bay Area in supporting salt marsh, oyster and eel grass growth . It will also help reduce sea level rise at the same time.

Bio-Rock Pemuteran Bali Indonesia / Photo by EunJae Im | www.eiLabs.net
Bio-Rock Pemuteran Bali Indonesia / Photo by EunJae Im | www.eiLabs.net

There is great excitement at the County, NERR, and Richardson Bay Audubon about the possibilities offered by bringing this technology to the SF Bay Area. The results will definitely be fully assessed in the experimental tanks of the Romberg Center by June 2017.

After showing the success of Tom Goreau’s Biorock technology in a tank, plans are to introduce this technology with the County’s approval to the Richardson Bay Audubon sanctuary, Bothin Marsh, the Corte Madera Salt Marsh, and Stinson Beach among other locations.

Media contacts: Edward Ellsworth, 6 Playa Verde, Tiburon, CA 94920

http://saveourbaysaveourocean.org/

https://www.youtube.com/c/sunrisecenterchannel

http://www.globalcoral.org/

Via EPR Network
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Environmentalists challenge the RSPO to rein in its members

A group of environmental non-profit groups including Save Wildlife Conservation Fund, Friends of Borneo, Jakarta Animal Aid Network and research scientists today filed a complaint to the RSPO over the destruction of a biodiversity hotspot in Borneo.

The group alleges that the actions of palm oil company PT Mekar Bumi Andalas (MBA) a subsidiary of Wilmar Group is in open violation of many of the RSPO’s Principles & Criteria including encroachments into areas that are considered High Conservation Value Forests. MBA and other RSPO members have been building crude palm oil bulking stations in Balikpapan Bay, East Kalimantan which has open access to sea shipping. According to Stan Lhota, a research scientist that has studied the area since 2005, Balikpapan Bay is home of one of the five largest known populations of proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus). It counts about 1400 animals, which may possibly be 5 % of the world’s population of the species. Proboscis monkeys occupy mangroves, but they are vitally dependent on food resources found on dry land forest. They are therefore critically dependent on the existence of corridors, and the activities of these RSPO members are threatening the integrity of these forest corridors. The activities from building the palm oil refineries and holding stations will have a devastating and permanent impact on the area according to Stan Lhota.

Besides the destruction of terrestrial habitats, there are unique coral reefs and sea grass beds near the estuary of Sungai Berenga, that have been affected by brackish and muddy waters created by the developments in the area. Huge amounts of soil have also been washed away from the construction site and corals are dying as they are being covered by several millimetres of thick sediments.

The area is home to Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaela brevirostris) with approximately 60 – 140 animals counted. Studies have determined that the area is crucial to their feeding and daily migration between the upper and lower sections of the Bay, in accordance with tides. One of the few remaining populations of dugongs (Dugong dugon) is found in Balikpapan Bay as well and their prime feeding grounds are in in sub-tidal sea grass beds. An early indicator of localized extinction can already be seen in the decreased sightings of Green turtles that once lived in the coral reefs and sea grass beds.

The complaint against PT MBA cites over a dozen violations of the RSPO’s Principles and Criteria and is demanding that the RSPO put a stop to all activities not only from PT MBA but also from all other RSPO members in the area until all environmental concerns have been addressed. This complaint is a new challenge to the RSPO whose Principles and Criteria do not apply to bulking mills or refineries but in the words of Lars Gorschlueter, Director of Save Wildlife Conservation Fund, “If RSPO standards are not mandatory to their members and forests of High Conservation Value can be torn down because it’s a refinery and not a plantation, then when does the RSPO standards apply and why should we trust its certification?”

The group further demanded that the stoppage be immediate to prevent an embarrassing repeat of the Muara Tae situation where a long drawn out discussion between RSPO member, First Resources Ltd of Singapore and complainants became meaningless as the forests in question were almost completely clear cut in the two years it took the RSPO to try and decide on the case.

Via EPR Network
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Nigerians Object To Land Grabs By A Foreign Palm Oil Company

Nigerian NGO Rainforest Resource Development Centre is challenging the legality of a plantation takeover by Wilmar International in the Nigerian state of Cross River.

Wilmar which has bought over the operations of Obasanjor Farms of Nigeria was supposed to take over plantation lands of some 12,000 hectares. These were to include the Ibad Plantation measuring 7,805 hectares, the Oban Plantation measuring 2,986.385 hectares and the Kwa Falls Plantation measuring 2,014.429 hectares. RRDC in its charges claims that Wilmar was mislead into making the transactions over Obasanjor Farms properties as much of the properties have outstanding claims against them which are in open violations of the RSPO’s Principles and Criteria for its members.

Citing multiple infractions of Nigerian state and federal laws governing land ownership and land use, the RRDC is calling the deal with Wilmar null and void until all outstanding issues are resolved. Some of the issues include land grabs that were initiated by Obasanjo Farms when it was established 11 years ago and the establishment of its plantations inside forest reserves including biodiversity hotspot Cross River National Park. Wilmar is yet to make any comment in respect of the irregularities raised by RRDC concerning the Obasanjor farms.

The most contentious issue revolves around ownership and title of the land. Wilmar in its defense in respect of the Biase New Planting Plantations stated that “The land title belongs to the government of Cross River State whose acquisition dates back to the mid seventies. Therefore, what we enjoy today is a sub-lease from the government who has paid all the ground rents to the landlords”

RRDC Director Odey Oyama in citing the Land Use Act No. 6 of 1978 (Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) stipulates that “the Governor is the Trustee, and nothing more. He holds land on behalf of the owners and acts according to the trust bestowed on him, in good faith and for the benefit of the owners, as prescribed by the Act. In LAW this means that he is the manager of another’s property: i.e. somebody who is given the legal authority to manage land on behalf of somebody else.”

The complaint to the RSPO further stated that Wilmar has received only the approval of two of the five affected communities for the plantation and insists on an open forum that will include the participation of all affected communities. Director Odey Oyama further stated that “ the RRDC has absolutely no objections to the good intentions of Wilmar towards the livelihoods and general economic wellbeing of the landlord communities. Our position however is that Wilmar must observe our National Laws and Regulations as they pertain to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the Land Use Act, the National Park Act, the Forest Laws and regulations, and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They should also continuously ensure that the rights, privileges and entitlements of indigenous communities are not usurped by any external agencies and /or influential internal minority interest groups.

Global demand for palm oil is expected to skyrocket in the coming years and South East Asian palm oil companies are increasingly looking towards Africa to create new plantations. Sime Darby Berhad of Malaysia was similarly challenged in its plantation in Liberia and agreed to pay reparations and proper compensations for affected communities there. The most contentious palm oil plantation in Africa however belongs to Herakles Farms USA where ongoing disputes between the company and land owners are yet to be resolved.

In addition to the indigenous land rights issues, the plantation areas encroach deep into Cross River National Park, home to several endemic primate species including the endangered Preuss Red Colobus and the Drill. “This plantation cannot be allowed to proceed the way it has been mapped out,” declared Lars Gorschlueter, Director of the Save Wildlife Conservation Fund. “We are already fighting Herakles Farms proposed plantation on the Cameroon side that will impact Korup National Park which is contiguous with Cross River National Park. If this industrial plantation is allowed into the Oban Forest Reserve, it will effectively box in wildlife and our research has shown that wildlife cannot survive in an environment like this.”

In the case of Wilmar’s plantations and operations in Nigeria, the RRDC remains hopeful that the company will abide by the Principles and Criteria of the RSPO.

Via EPR Network
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National Trust reveals vision for HS2 around Aylesbury

Proposals for an improved design for HS2 around Aylesbury, if it goes ahead, have been revealed by the National Trust.

Whilst being neutral over the principle of HS2, the National Trust opposes the specific proposed route in the Aylesbury area and through the Chilterns AONB.

This is because of its landscape and other impacts, especially on Hartwell House, where it would require the acquisition of the Trust’s land.

The plans revealed today show how the impact on hundreds of people’s lives and the special places they care about could be reduced if HS2 Ltd plans for mitigation on a big enough scale.

This would include acquiring additional land either side of the railway line to give room for the necessary landscaping and other measures, such as creating a 600m long ‘land bridge’ for the route as it crosses through the Hartwell House estate and next to Fairford Leys, where many local people will be heavily affected by the railway.

This would involve building the land up on either side of the line, then placing a lid on top, with vegetation and tree planting covering it. Wide, landscaped embankments which would screen trains and conceal noise barriers and security fencing also feature.

A range of specialist consultants, including experts in rail engineering, landscape character, landscape architecture, noise and hydrology have been brought in by the National Trust to advise on the best possible mitigation over an 8km stretch of the line from Stoke Mandeville, around Aylesbury and up to Waddesdon.

Since the route for HS2 was published in January this year, the Trust has been talking to local authorities, parish councils, landowners, other charities and organisations, as well as HS2 Ltd, aiming for proposals which take into account the views of as many people as possible who are affected by the line.

Peter Nixon, director of conservation for the National Trust, said: “Although HS2 is still not a foregone conclusion, and we object to the route chosen, in case it does go ahead it’s sensible for us to negotiate for the best scheme which minimises its impact for as many people as possible and on the special places they care about.

“We hope our proposals, which draw on our practical experience elsewhere, raise expectations of what could be achieved.

“There is still a lot of detail to work up. This would have to be done with HS2 Ltd, the community, local authorities and landowners and we believe a collaborative approach here will deliver the best scheme if HS2 does go ahead.

“We hope that HS2 Ltd and the Government will adopt this scheme, however we have also been clear that if this is not the case we would be prepared to petition Parliament in order to try and get the scheme included in the necessary legislation.”

The current proposed route of HS2 will pass directly through the Hartwell House estate which has an international history and significance stretching back almost a thousand years to the reign of Edward the Confessor.

It also passes within view of Coombe Hill in the Chilterns; through the Waddesdon Estate which has a Victorian garden thought to be one of best in Britain; and close to Claydon House, once home to Florence Nightingale.

The scheme has already received backing from a number of local groups.

Via EPR Network
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National Trust hires Kids’ Council

The National Trust has announced that, following a recruitment drive over the summer holidays, a group of ten youngsters, aged between seven and 11 from across the country, have been recruited by the charity for its Kid’s Council. The children will help the charity to evolve its ’50 Things To Do Before You‘re 11¾’ campaign and provide advice on how National Trust places can spark more children’s interest in nature and the outdoors.

The new Kids’ Council held its inaugural meeting at Dyrham Park near Bath and jumped into their roles with gusto. Having all tackled the ’50 Things’ list, the children are passionate about wildlife and outside activities and brimming with ideas to make the National Trust more engaging for youngsters.

Their first proposal to create a mud slide was put into practise with the help of a large hillside and Rob Holden, Head Ranger at Dyrham Park. Installing rope swings at National Trust places and creating a country-wide nature trail were other ideas discussed by the young councillors

The nationwide search for the youngsters opened in August and attracted hundreds of applications from across the UK. The National Trust judges were looking for imaginative and enthusiastic candidates who showed a real passion for the outdoors. The response from the nation’s children both inspired and delighted the judging panel with the applicants sending in photos, drawing pictures and even creating treasure maps.

Some of the more weird and wonderful suggestions that came up in some of the applications included meerkats at National Trust properties, barefoot nature walks and going inside a large rabbit hole to “see what it’s like being a rabbit”.

The successful applicants forming the new Kids’ Council are:

– Jessica Swales, aged 8 from North Yorkshire
– Max Hodgson, aged 8 from West Midlands
– Francesca Carrannante, aged 8 from London
– Kai Bickley, aged 7 from West Midlands
– Kit Le Froy, aged 8 from Cornwall
– Leif Wilson-Palmer, aged 8 from Gloucestershire
– Harry Wilson, aged 10 from Bristol
– Mia McDade, aged 8 from Stockport
– Sophia Tarling, aged 8 from Norwich
– Iona Howells, aged 11 from Kent

The members of the Kids’ Council and their families will be able to visit all National Trust places throughout the year to gain a true and deep understanding of what the National Trust has to offer. The children will report to the Getting Outdoors and Closer to Nature Programme board at the National Trust, and will share their recommendations at four meetings across the year.

Tony Berry, Visitor Experience Director of the National Trust, commented: “The applicants were imaginative, adventurous and exciting and we cannot wait to hear their views and start bringing their recommendations to life. The sheer number of applications shows that the children of Britain do want to get outdoors, have fun and connect with nature and our mission is to make this as accessible to all children as possible.”

Iona Howells, aged 11 from the Kids’ Council, said: “I am really proud to be part of the Kids’ Council. I want to make other children see that being outdoors can be fun and the National Trust has some great places where you can have heaps of fun – I hate sitting still inside so it is great to be part of getting other kids to play outside.”

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National Trust Holiday Cottages wins British Travel Award

National Trust Holiday Cottages has been named in the British Travel Awards 2012 as the winner of Best UK Cottage/Self Catering Booking Company. The announcement was made at a glamorous Gala Awards Dinner held at Battersea Evolution in London, attended by more than a thousand travel industry people.

National Trust Holiday Cottages have been operating as a holiday cottage business for over 50 years with some cottages dating back to at least the 15th century. Today, there are nearly 400 self catering cottages all with a unique style and character set in outstanding locations across the UK with all profits from bookings going directly back in to the National Trust’s conservation work.

Marianne Wanstall (Head of Holidays) said: “It is fabulous to be recognised in such high profile awards which are voted for by consumers and is a massive achievement for us and our unique product.

“The award is a tribute to the hard work and commitment of everyone at National Trust holiday cottages, from our contact centre team who deal directly with customers to the individuals who look after preparing and operating our portfolio of cottages across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

British Travel Awards’ chief executive Lorraine Barnes Burton said: “This year more than one million votes were cast by consumers to determine the winners of the coveted British Travel Awards. The Awards were created to reward travel companies, with the winning accolade being the benchmark for excellence when it comes to finding out who really is the best in the business of travel for the UK consumer. National Trust Holiday Cottages is to be congratulated on their achievement.”

Companies were nominated by the public before being voted for by the British consumer, including readers of News International publications – The Times, Sunday Times, the Sun and the Sunday Sun – listeners of Global Radio stations, including LBC and readers of the British Travel Awards magazine, ‘Check-In’. The voting process and results are overseen, scrutinized and audited by Deloitte LLP.

In 2012 more than one million votes were cast in The British Travel Awards making it the largest awards programme in the UK. The BTAs were created to reward the best companies in travel and are recognised by consumers and travel professionals throughout the UK. With categories spanning 75 types of holiday experience – transport, destination, cruise, customer service, holiday extras, and accommodation – The British Travel Awards is quite simply the benchmark for excellence when it comes to finding out who really is the best in the business.

Via EPR Network
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Nation rallies to safeguard iconic White Cliffs of Dover

A £1.2 million appeal launched by the National Trust in the summer to raise funds to acquire the iconic stretch of the White Cliffs of Dover coastline has reached its target in just 133 days, raising an average of £9,000 per day.

The Trust needed the money to buy a 0.8 mile stretch of this world-famous and much-loved piece of the Kent coastline overlooking the port.

It completes the missing link of coastline under National Trust care, uniting a stretch of more than 7km (nearly 5 miles) between the Trust’s visitor centre and South Foreland Lighthouse.

More than 16,000 people and organisations* have supported the White Cliffs of Dover appeal which was launched in June 2012 with an average donation of £40.21 (including Gift Aid) from members of the public.

Hundreds of messages of support were posted on a virtual White Cliffs of Dover on the charity’s website**.

Donations from supporters included a significant contribution from the Dover Harbour Board, which helped the Trust to reach its target earlier than had been anticipated, and support from the Regatta Foundation, Royal Oak Foundation and 16 National Trust supporter groups.

The fundraising drive was given a boost in July when a number of household names including Dame Vera Lynn, Dame Judi Dench and the soul singing sensation and Dover-born Joss Stone gave their support.

Writer and philosopher Julian Baggini spent a week in August at the White Cliffs in Dover looking into how they have come to symbolise what they mean for the UK’s national identity***.

Fiona Reynolds, who is in her final week as Director-General at the National Trust, said: “Thanks to the generosity and support of thousands of people we’ve reached our target nearly two months early.

“The Trust will now look to enhance the quality of access to this new land and build on some of the fantastic nature conservation work that has been carried out by the team on the ground.”

Standing proud at over 110 metres (taller than Big Ben or the same height as twenty-five London buses stacked on top of each other), the White Cliffs of Dover have witnessed many dramatic moments in England’s history.

These include the arrival of the Romans and the welcome return of British armed forces after the evacuation of Dunkirk during the Second World War.

The cliffs are also home to a rich array of wildlife including the Adonis blue butterfly, rare coastal plants such as oxtongue broomrape and sea carrot, and birds including skylark, the only pair of breeding ravens in Kent and peregrine falcons.

Alison Burnett, a volunteer on the White Cliffs of Dover team, added: “There has been a real buzz around the appeal with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add the missing piece of the White Cliffs so that they are in the care of the National Trust.”

Hundreds of thousands of people come to visit the dramatic chalk cliffs every year with their wonderful views across the English Channel.

Notes to editors:
* The total number of people and organisations that donated to the White Cliffs of Dover appeal is 16,570.
** Examples of the messages of support and messages about why the White Cliffs of Dover matter can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/whitecliffsappeal
** ‘A Home on the Rock’ by Julian Baggini was published in October and can be read on the blog that ran during his residency – whitecliffsofdoverwriter.wordpress.com

Via EPR Network
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The National Trust Reveals Kids’ Plea For More Family Time

The National Trust has revealed one in five 8-11 year olds want to spend more time with their parents and more than a third of parents said they want to spend more time with their kids.

While watching television and DVDs tops the YouGov poll* as the most common way for parents and children to spend time together in the UK** 26 per cent of children aged 8-11 years old and nearly half (49 per cent) of all parents surveyed said they would like to spend more time together just going for a walk.

To help families get out on an autumn walk, users of the website Mumsnet have provided some top tips on making sure that parents have got everything ready for a fun day out such as climbing a huge hill, flying a kite or hunting for some treasure on a beach.

Over the half-term period there will be hundreds of family walking adventures at National Trust properties as part of the Great British Walk, which has been organised in partnership with PruHealth.

These walks are the perfect way for kids to tick off their ’50 things to do before they’re 11 ¾’, including collecting and play conkers and picking and eating apples straight from the tree.

Simon Pryor, Natural Environment Director at the National Trust, said: “Despite the fact that TV seems to be dominating family life its really encouraging that children and parents want to spend more time together and that walking is seen as a great way of doing just that.

“Walking is a brilliant way for families to spend time together, get fit and discover the joy of the British countryside.

“And with so many great activities taking place at National Trust properties around the country this half-term there’s no better time to get out and go on a walking adventure.”

Mumsnet co-founder and CEO Justine Roberts added: “It’s all too easy to end up spending all family time in front of screens, watching TV or playing video games. Spending time with the children outdoors can be just as cheap as well as fun and educational and offers a bit of balance in a world dominated by X-Factor and Fifa 12.”

Dr William Bird, GP, said: “Children can benefit hugely from walking in the outdoors. High blood pressure, cholesterol and depression can be detected in children as young as 10, due to inactivity. Spending time with family, in the outdoors, can invigorate even the most TV or X-box-obsessed children.”

Free family friendly trails can be downloaded fromwww.nationaltrust.org.uk/greatbritishwalk and families can share their favourite walks online for the chance to win a stay in a National Trust holiday cottage.

Via EPR Network
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National Trust co-founder honoured at Westminster Abbey

Octavia Hill, leading social reformer and co-founder of the National Trust, has been honoured at a service to dedicate a memorial to her at Westminster Abbey in London.

One hundred years after Octavia Hill’s death, a memorial stone, commissioned by theNational Trust and designed and crafted by Rory Young, has been dedicated at the service that celebrates her remarkable life.

Thousands of flowers, foliage and fruit from National Trust gardens across the South West were incorporated in eight spectacular displays for the service. Conceived by Mike Calnan, head of gardens at the Trust, the dramatic arrangements were made and assembled by London based floral artist Rebecca Louise Law, daughter of one of the Trust’s head gardeners, together with Abbey florist, Jane Rowton-Lee.

National Trust Chairman, Simon Jenkins, and Director-General, Dame Fiona Reynolds, broadcaster Julia Bradbury and writer Robert Macfarlane were among the members, supporters, staff and volunteers from the National Trust and other organisations who paid tribute to Octavia Hill with readings and prayers at the service conducted by The Very Reverend Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster.

The memorial stone, measuring 600mm x 600mm, is made of Purbeck marble, and has been laid in the nave of Westminster Abbey.

Octavia Hill founded the National Trust in 1895 with Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley.

They were concerned about the impact of uncontrolled development and industrialisation and set up the Trust ‘for the protection of the public interests in the open spaces of the country.’

Octavia Hill also played a pivotal role in the housing reform movement and had a lifelong passion for learning and welfare.

Dame Fiona Reynolds said: “Octavia Hill had a profound impact on this country both as a social reformer and as a co-founder of the National Trust. She and her fellow reformers believed passionately that access to beauty, heritage and nature was a basic human need. Her biggest legacy has perhaps been the National Trust, which last year reached 4 million members – surely exceeding even her ambitions. All year we have been commemorating the work of this remarkable woman, and I am delighted by the opportunity to honour her legacy in this way.”

Via EPR Network
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IL 1st Congressional District Cook County Voters Support Peloquin Suburban Preservation

The first election using the 1st Congressional Redistricted South Side of Chicago and their Southwest Suburbs extending into Will County has city voters crossing over to support the states suburban life style.

With 74% of the new district voters being from the original 1st district, many of original voters are pushing to preserve their weekend getaways in the suburbs and the continued expanse of the commuter train stations for their suburban and rural lifestyle.

City Folks are now realizing they’re far more dependent on their rural and suburban agriculture businesses and how city politics overlook the needs of the rural and suburban growth at their cost.

It’s a wake-up call for many in Cook County; with Will County positioned as one of the new “Agriculture Cross Roads Of America”, their grain export business offers significant growth in the emerging markets such as Viet Nam, Russia, and China, and that means more jobs, revenue for the state and lower costs for their districts agriculture needs.

This 1st Congressional Districts election is fast becoming the center stage for a nation, as Big City residents learn “Intermodal Growth” is the ticket to world competition, not a party ticket.

You simply cannot achieve Intermodal Growth for the agriculture business with the city politicians quest to keep the spend in the city at the expense of the state’s best opportunity to sustain and gain more jobs outside its original district. Here is a short video clip on Intermodal Job Growth.

As the 3rd largest city in the U.S., the voters are realizing they’re dismal job growth has been limited to their federally subsidized projects within the city versus rebuilding the city through better decisions on how to compete globally within the state.

A Win Win situation, without a solution for decades, it’s time for a change, and it starts with educating the people on how to best affect change, and why. There’s a need here, a need to turn things around before we lose the opportunity to reduce our state and nations overall deficit, which ultimately results in the loss of the federal funding we’ve grown to know as the way the City Politicians create more jobs.

The Don Peloquin Campaign for the 1st Congressional District supports growth through voter education. Many people are totally unaware that if Congress doesn’t pass the new Farm Bill, you may as well forget about the food stamp program with its $80 billion a year, or 80 percent of all spending in the $500 Billion Farm Bill. Our position is to grow globally with the best opportunities, and our suburbs and rural areas have the best potential of securing grants for jobs like the $6 million awarded to UW-Madison. That focuses on encouraging more farm-to-school programs like the Research, Education, Action and Policy Food Group’s farm-to-school program, which supplies area schools with fresh, locally produced fruits and vegetables. We need a well balanced spend to gain the maximum benefits for all.

The Time For Change Independent Voice:  Dedicated To Public Announcements That Affect Our Suburban and Rural Life. We simply state what’s before us from the eyes and ears of those affected.  Get Out And Vote For A Change, Visit www.peloquinforcongress.com and read for yourself.

Via EPR Network
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National Trust Finds Getting Kids Into Nature Starts At Home

The National Trust has revealed that parents need more support to make the outdoors a part of everyday family life to avoid rearing a generation completely cut off from the natural world.

The Natural Childhood Inquiry – which sought submissions from experts and the public on the barriers and the solutions for children’s connection with nature – found that children’s love of nature is best started in the home.

The Inquiry follows on from a national childhood report for the National Trust by award winning nature author and wildlife TV producer Stephen Moss, published in March, which documented children’s declining connection with the outdoors and nature.

Inquiry respondents said parents need more access to family-friendly, green and natural spaces, as well as more opportunities for children to enjoy nature.

Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, said: “It is clear from the huge public response that our Natural Childhood report struck a chord with the nation.

“Parents want their children to have a better connection with nature, but they don’t feel completely confident in how to make that happen in a safe and stimulating way.

“Our inquiry showed that there is widespread agreement that this is an important issue and that now is the time to act. The worlds of conservation, government, education and child welfare need to work together with families and communities to find solutions.”

The Inquiry however recognised that there were some big barriers to a closer relationship with nature. These include excessive health and safety rules, the rise of indoor entertainment competing for children’s time and attention, traffic dangers, over-stuffed school days, and the poor quality and accessibility of green and natural spaces in many communities.

Research with children and parents commissioned by the National Trust to accompany the publication of the inquiry findings strongly validates these conclusions.

A YouGov survey* of 419 UK parents of under 13s revealed that a range of parental fears and concerns could be preventing children from getting the most of the great outdoors.

Stranger danger (37%), lack of safe nearby outdoor places to play (25%) and too much traffic (21%) were the top ranked barriers amongst parents of children aged 12 or under.

Just short of half (45 per cent) of parents of pre-teens identified ‘more local safe places to play’ as the thing which would most encourage them to let their children get outdoors and explore more where they lived. The other two top solutions supported by parents were ‘more supervised play spaces’ (32%) and ‘more activities organised by schools or youth groups’ (31%).

As part of its response to the lack of connection between kids and nature the National Trust launched its 50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾ campaign in May. More than 250 Trust places took part and in the first two months more than 200,000 activity scrapbooks given away and nearly 20,000 users registered on the 50 Things website.

Via EPR Network
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National Trust-commissioned Writer Delves into Meaning of the White Cliffs of Dover

The National Trust has commissioned writer and philosopher Julian Baggini to spend a week at the White Cliffs of Dover, much of which is cared for by the Trust, exploring through verse what this much loved stretch of the Kent coast says about the UK.

Based at the world famous and iconic South Foreland Lighthouse, he will be delving into why the White Cliffs have become so wrapped up with our national identity and the role they play in creating our sense of belonging.

Julian Baggini, who co-founded The Philosophers’ Magazine, said: “For millions of Britons living across the world the White Cliffs is a clear symbol of Britain, in much the same way that the Statue of liberty has defined America. Even if we’ve never been to or seen the White Cliffs of Dover there is a collective sense that they matter.

“I want to get a real sense of what the White Cliffs of Dover mean for British people, including those for whom the cliffs were the first sight of the country, which would become their adopted home.

“But it’s not just about symbolism. Many important episodes in our national story have taken place on this stretch of coast, so I also want to look at how its local history has shaped our national history. And I also want to talk to people about home some contemporary debates, such as fishing and immigration, are being played out here.

“My suspicion is that if we look, there is an insightful portrait of the nation to be found engraved in the chalky cliffs of East Kent.”

Julian was born in Folkestone, his mother is from Dover and his father is an Italian whose first sight of his adoptive land in the early 1960’s was the White Cliffs of Dover.

The National Trust is currently trying to raise £1.2 million to acquire a stretch of the most famous segment of the White Cliffs above the Port of Dover.

Launched in late June*, the White Cliffs of Dover appeal has seen more than ten thousand people supporting the campaign to acquire this missing link: the National Trust already owns five miles of the White Cliffs.

During his residency Julian will be blogging and capturing on camera his thoughts and observations and will be talking to the people that live and work in vicinity of the White Cliffs, taking time out to travel to France for a fresh perspective and debate their meaning with local experts, trying to appreciate why the coast has defined our sense of collective and personal identity.

A book of Julian’s observations and musings from his time at the White Cliffs of Dover will be published in late September this year.

Via EPR Network
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National Trust names Dame Helen Ghosh as next director general

The National Trust has announced Dame Helen Ghosh DCB will be the next director-general of the charity.

Helen joins the Trust from her current role as permanent secretary to the Home Office. Previously, Helen held a variety of civil service roles including as permanent secretary to Defra between 2005 and 2010.

Dame Helen Ghosh joined the civil service from Oxford University, where she read Modern History. She has worked in a number of government departments, starting off in the Department of the Environment, and returning to environmental issues when she became Permanent Secretary at Defra in 2005. In between, she followed her interest in providing public services to local people with jobs in the Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs and the Government Office for London, and has also worked at the centre of government, with two spells in the Cabinet Office. Helen is a long-term member of the Trust and of her local Wildlife Trust in Oxfordshire.

She will take over from Fiona Reynolds who has been at the helm for nearly 12 years. During that time, Fiona has grown the charity’s membership to four million and built a volunteer base of more than 67,000 people.

Helen said: “I have been an admirer of the Trust and its work all my life, and I am thrilled that I have been given the chance to be part of its future. I am delighted to be able to build on Fiona Reynolds’ great work in setting the Trust’s direction for the 21st century.”

Simon Jenkins, chairman of the National Trust, said: “The Board of Trustees is delighted that Helen will be the Trust’s next director-general. The Trustees’ strategy is to widen the Trust’s appeal and grow its membership. Helen is a distinguished and energetic public servant. We are convinced she is ideal to lead the organisation through what is proving a challenging time. We all look forward to working with her.”

Fiona Reynolds, who moves on to become Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 2013, said: “I am delighted by Helen’s appointment. The National Trust is a fantastic organisation to work for and I wish her, and the Trust, all the very best for the future.”

The National Trust was founded in 1895 to protect threatened coastline, countryside and buildings for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone.

Today the Trust employs more than 5,500 people and cares for special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including 250,000 hectares of countryside, 710 miles of coastline and 300 historic houses and gardens.

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The National Trust Recruiting for Kid’s Council

The National Trust has announced it is recruiting a group of advisors made up entirely of children to provide advice on how to get more of the nation’s kids outdoors.

The idea follows the charity’s recent Natural Childhood Report and 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ campaign, and shows the Trust stepping up its game in encouraging children to explore the outdoors and get closer to nature.

The National Trust is looking to sign up ten children aged between seven and twelve to the Kids’ Council* where they will play an important role in developing the charity’s outdoor campaigns, and making their properties more fun for younger visitors.

The perfect candidate will be brimming with enthusiasm and fun, plus have a natural love for the outdoors and fresh air. Potential applicants are also required to have an adventurous spirit and a wild imagination. A fondness for rolling down hills or jumping in muddy puddles would be considered a bonus.

To offer children a chance to try out the National Trust and get inspiration on what they would like to change if they were appointed to the Kids’ Council, the Trust will open up its doors to children for free for the whole month of August. Over 200 places will be free of charge to children**, giving them the opportunity to explore National Trust places across the country.

The successful council applicants will be announced later in the year and will be offered free access to National Trust places for themselves and their family. Canoeing, surfing and camping are among the activities that will be part of the winning prize to ensure kids and their families experience the full National Trust offering. The Kids’ Council will meet throughout 2013 and report their findings into the National Trust’s Visitor Experience Director, so their suggestions can be put into practise to help make the outdoors more fun for the nation’s kids.

The application process will close on 7th September 2012. Applications can be downloaded from the website at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kidscouncil and sent back via email, post or handed in at National Trust properties***.

Tony Berry, Visitor Experience Director of the National Trust, commented: “We are really committed to helping kids enjoy the great outdoors and we want to make our places the most fun and family-friendly day out destinations in the UK. I’m really excited that our new Kids’ Council will help us do just that. Our kids go free promotion for the entire month of August will not only give kids and their families the chance to get out and explore, but hopefully inspire them to apply for our Kids’ Council and let us know what we can do better in the future.”

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National Trust White Cliffs appeal in bid to break £1 million

The National Trust has announced a Shakespearean actress, soul singing sensation, a world beating sailor and a passionate seafood champion have thrown their weight behind the charity’s biggest ever coastal appeal to acquire a stretch of the White Cliffs of Dover.

Dame Judi Dench, Joss Stone, Ben Ainslie and Rick Stein have joined thousands of people that have already supported the Trusts bid to raise £1.2 million to buy 1.35km of this much loved Kent coast.

Soul singer Joss Stone, who was born in Dover, said: “I love Dover and the White Cliffs. They mean so much to me and I hope that the National Trust raises enough money to buy the land for future generations to enjoy.”

The appeal was launched in late June to acquire this ‘missing link’ between the lands the Trust already cares for and enable it to be managed for the benefit of people and wildlife.

Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, said: “In just one month, thousands of people have backed our appeal and we’ve raised almost half of the money needed.

“This tremendous support shows the love we as a nation have for our special places – thank you to everyone who has contributed. We now need to keep going to make sure we reach the target and secure this piece of coastline for ever.”

Other high-profile figures that have given their support to the Trust’s campaign include actor Richard E. Grant, actor and TV presenter Tony Robinson, Comedian, presenter and Kent resident Paul O’Grady, Kent born and world famous fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, iconic singer from the 1940s Dame Vera Lynn, round the world yachtswomen Dame Ellen MacArthur and BBC Coast presenters Neil Oliver and Miranda Krestovnikoff.

Standing proud at over 110 metres (taller than Big Ben or the same height as twenty-five London buses stacked on top of each other), the White Cliffs of Dover have witnessed many dramatic moments in England’s history.

These include the arrival of the Romans and the welcome return of British armed forces after the evacuation of Dunkirk during the second-world war.

The cliffs are also home to a rich array of rich wildlife including the Adonis blue butterfly, rare coastal plants such as oxtongue broomrape and sea carrot, and birds including skylark, the only colony of Kittiwakes in Kent and peregrine falcons.

Hundreds of thousands of people come to visit the dramatic chalk cliffs every year with their wonderful views across the English Channel.

Across England, Wales and Northern Ireland the National Trust looks after more than 720 miles of coastline. The Trust acquired its first stretch of the White Cliffs of Dover in 1968 as part of its Neptune Coastline Campaign.

There are three easy ways that money can be donated to the appeal:
– Online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/whitecliffsappeal where supporters can choose to have their name engraved on their virtual White Cliffs of Dover.
– Text a donation to support the appeal. For example, if someone wanted to donate £5 they’d need to text ‘DOVR02 £5’ to ‘70070’. The amount that you wish to donate must be included in the text.
– Over the phone by calling 0844 800 1895.

The Twitter hashtag #whitecliffs will be used on twitter to keep people updated about the progress of the appeal.

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The National Trust Launches Fundraising Appeal To Save England’s White Cliffs Of Dover

The National Trust has launched a £1.2 million fundraising appeal in a bid to secure the long-term future of the world famous White Cliffs of Dover in Kent.

The appeal is the charity’s biggest ever coastal fundraiser and will help ensure that public access to the White Cliffs can be improved for future generations to enjoy.

It will also mean that this much-loved stretch of Kent coastline can be cared for in a way that will improve its habitat for local wildlife.

If the appeal is successful, the most iconic stretch of the White Cliffs – the 1.35km (just under one mile) sweep overlooking the port of Dover – will be looked after and managed for the benefit of the public and for wildlife.

It will complete the missing link of coastline under National Trust care, uniting a stretch of more than 7km (nearly 5 miles) between the Trust’s visitor centre and South Foreland lighthouse.

Fiona Reynolds, Director General of the National Trust, said: “Immortalised in song and literature, the White Cliffs of Dover have become one the great symbols of our nation.

“We now have a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure their future for everyone to enjoy.

“If we don’t raise the money then the future of the White Cliffs is uncertain and this stretch of coastline might one day be disrupted by inappropriate management or development.”

Standing proud at over 110 metres (taller than Big Ben or the same height as twenty-five London buses stacked on top of each other), the White Cliffs of Dover have witnessed many dramatic moments in England’s history.

These include the arrival of the Romans and the welcome return of British armed forces after the evacuation of Dunkirk during the second-world war.

The cliffs are also home to a rich array of rich wildlife including the Adonis blue butterfly, rare coastal plants such as oxtongue broomrape and sea carrot, and birds including skylark, the only colony of Kittiwakes in Kent and peregrine falcons.

Historian and television presenter Dan Snow, who is supporting the appeal, added: “For me it’s simple. The White Cliffs of Dover are one of the country’s greatest and most iconic landmarks.

“When I heard that the National Trust had this opportunity to safeguard this crucial stretch of the Cliffs, I thought great.

“It’s brilliant that they have a chance to secure this important section of the cliffs, for ever, for everyone.”

Hundreds of thousands of people come to visit the dramatic chalk cliffs every year to enjoy coast walks and take in the wonderful views across the English Channel.

The funds need to be raised by the end of the year to help acquire this piece of the Kent coast and help with the conservation and management of the whole White Cliffs of Dover.

People can make National Trust donations the following ways:
– Make a donation online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/whitecliffsappeal and you can choose to have your name engraved on our virtual White Cliffs of Dover.
– Text a donation to support the appeal. For example, if someone wanted to donate £5 they would need to text ‘DOVR02 £5’ to ‘70070’. The amount must be included in the text.
– Make a donation over the phone by calling 0844 800 1895.

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The National Trust recognises unsung ‘Green Heroes’

The National Trust has announced the six winners of the first ever Octavia Hill Awards at a special ceremony in London.

A prolific drystone waller, an intrepid volunteer youth worker and famous TV walker were among the green heroes celebrated by the National Trust.

The awards are named after Trust founder and social reformer Octavia Hill who died in 1912. They are being run in partnership with Countryfile Magazine.

Nominated by the public and then put to an online poll that saw nearly seven thousand votes, each winner is keeping the spirit of Octavia alive – standing up for precious natural spaces and places.

The winners of the Octavia Hill Awards were: Patrick Frew from Country Antrim, Northern Ireland is the ‘Growing Hero’ – Patrick has turned a one-acre site into a diverse growing space. Young children enjoy visits to the site to reconnect with nature while elderly residents are treated to home deliveries of compost and easy salad plants ready to make their own DIY ‘Doorstep Allotments’.

Roger Parkinson from Wakefield, West Yorkshire is a ‘Natural Hero’ – Roger is an inspirational tree conservation leader, a public speaker and field teacher. As a practitioner, he’s helped restore a five-acre arboretum with more than 150 tree species and he’s helped individuals and groups with their own woodland creation projects.

Matt Smith from Bootle, Liverpool is the ‘Inspirational Hero’ – Volunteer youth worker Matt is tackling anti-social behaviour by getting young people into the outdoors. As a volunteer he organises nature hikes, camping and self-sufficiency trips that educate, inspire and sometimes change lives.

Julia Bradbury was voted ‘The People’s Campaigner’ – Julia picked up the award for someone in the public spotlight who’s championed an issue or cause. Her passion for walking began at an early age and she was formerly President of the Ramblers Association. Her public profile as a popular TV presenter gives her the chance to champion and promote the landscape she loves.

The Friends of King Henry’s Walk Garden in North London are the ‘Green Space Guardians’ – A scrap of wasteland in North London is now a tranquil community garden thanks to this group. King Henry’s Walk Garden is enjoyed by the many families who don’t have outside space and people can rent space to grow their own produce.

Eric Shorrocks of Arnside Knott, Cumbria wins the ‘Love Places’ Award – A self-taught professional drystone waller, Eric has passed on his skills, training up at least 20 others in the craft and, as a National Trust volunteer, he’s been dedicating his free time to everything from litter picking and path clearing to saving precious limestone grassland from scrub invasion.

The Awards attracted more than 160 entries and a final shortlist was selected by a panel of judges with a wide knowledge of green and social issues. Sitting on the panel alongside Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, were Fergus Collins, Editor of Countryfile Magazine, academic and broadcaster Professor Alice Roberts and journalist and writer Candida Lycett Green.

The public then voted, in their thousands, for the shortlisted entries.

Each of the winners will receive a specially commissioned bowl made by Tony Alderman who works at the National Trust’s Chartwell in Kent. The bowls have been made using English elm, oak and yew collected from woods near to Crockham in Kent where Octavia Hill lived.

They also win the opportunity to be mentored by a Trust expert and will be profiled in Countryfile Magazine.

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National Trust MyFarm Experiment To Go Free

The National Trust has announced that one year on from the launch of its innovative and award-winning MyFarm project, the charity is dropping the £30 sign-up fee in a bid to widen its success and inspire even more people to engage with farming and food.

The experiment – based at the Trust’s 1,450 acre Wimpole Home Farm in Cambridgeshire – was launched last May to encourage people to learn about day-to-day farm life and get a better understanding of where their food comes from.

The virtual farmers are able to view day-to-day farm activities via blogs from the farm team, videos and live webcams. Significantly they can also influence what happens on the farm by voting on key decisions usually made by the farmer.

As the project moves into year two, the team behind the project are seeking to increase the number of people who take part in MyFarm, and cover
a wider range of food topics.

Farm Manager Richard Morris said: “We’ve learnt a lot from our 5,000-strong audience over the last 12 months, especially how interested people are in following and finding out about the day-to-day running of the farm.

“The experiment has helped us deepen people’s understanding of the challenges faced by farmers in the wider market place including the European and World markets, and enabled those involved to comment on a wide range of farming issues.

“It’s been the animal stories that have really captured the public’s hearts – both births and deaths. MyFarmers have also loved getting to know the farm team, the rare breed animals kept at Wimpole and the monthly votes which explore one particular aspect of farming in more depth, with the majority vote then carried out on the farm.”

The National Trust is the country’s biggest farmer and through MyFarm hopes to help people understand the issues facing farming today, the numerous and daily decisions farmers have to make, as well as the joy and the heartache which is part and parcel of farm life.

As part of the changes the Trust will also now host the experiment on its own website rather than the current microsite. It will also make broader use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to interact with users and to encourage further discussion on food and farming issues.

Founding Farmers – those who joined in the first year – will be invited to continue as ambassadors on these platforms to encourage more people to join in; sharing the journeys they have been on over the last 12 months.

MyFarm Project Manager Andrew Cock-Starkey added: “Our members come from all over the world as well as from the UK and after a successful first year we believe we’ve established a clear demand for this kind of learning. Now we want to reach even more people and build a broader understanding of farming.

“Waiving the membership fee will, we hope, help us reach a much wider audience, as will ensuring we have appealing content for users of different ages across various platforms.”

Deputy President of the National Farmers’ Union Meurig Raymond said: “This project is an effective and fun way of engaging people in farming and the hard work and skill that goes into producing food for their table. With more and more people using social media to communicate, share views and influence decisions MyFarm also tackles some of the more serious issues and involves its supporters in the day-to-day running of a real-life farm.”

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The National Trust Launches New Competition To Capture The Spirit Of Octavia On Camera

The National Trust has launched a new amateur photography competition called ‘Your Space’ which is set to celebrate green spaces and the life of National Trust founder Octavia Hill.

Run in conjunction with National Trust Magazine, the competition will run from May until August and asks people to capture what green spaces mean to them.

Four internationally-acclaimed photographers, Mary McCartney, Joe Cornish, Arnhel de Serra and Charlie Waite, have helped launch the ‘Your Space‘ competition with a new collection of pictures at National Trust places that capture the relationship between people and green places.

Octavia Hill was a leading environmental campaigner in Victorian Britain. She campaigned to save green spaces in and around London, such as Parliament Hill, and, years ahead of her time, saw the benefit of spending time in the outdoors and closer to nature.

As one of three founders of the National Trust, Octavia Hill, set about acquiring green places and built heritage to be looked after by the charity for the benefit of the nation until she died in August 1912.

The competition is based around her writings on green space: ‘We all need space; unless we have it we cannot reach that sense of quiet in which whispers of better things come to us gently [and we need] places to sit in, places to play in, places to stroll in, and places to spend a day in…’

The competition includes all green space in the UK, not just National Trust places, and hopes to capture images of everyday green places.

These could include pictures from the local park, where people play with their kids or walk their dogs, or favourite strolls in the countryside.

What is important is that the images capture what these places mean to the photographer and why they matter.

Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, said: “This competition is all about using photography to reflect on why green spaces matter to us as a nation. We’re looking for powerful and inspiring images that celebrate this special relationship that we have with our parks and countryside.”

There are four categories in the competition: ten and under, 11-16 year olds, over 16s and smartphones. Entries need to be submitted by 31 August 2012 and the full terms and conditions can be found on the website*.

The prize for the overall winner, worth £1,500, will include a bespoke one-to-one day long workshop with award winning landscape photographer Charlie Waite, a special landscape print and up to two nights stay in a National Trust holiday cottage.

The three runners-up will join Charlie at a National Trust property for day which includes lunch and behind-the-scenes tour.

A panel of judges, including Mary McCartney, Joe Cornish, Arnhel de Serra, Charlie Waite, Sue Herdman (Editor of National Trust Magazine) and Chris Lacey (National Trust Photographic Manager), will decide on the winners for the four categories. One of the category winners will then go on to be the overall winner of the competition.

Entries for the competition can be uploaded at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/yourspace and shared via Facebook and twitter.

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The National Trust Launches Legal Challenge Against Landmark Wind Farm Decision

The National Trust, English Heritage and East Northamptonshire Council have made a joint legal challenge against planning permission for a wind farm that would be built within one mile of a Grade I listed building and registered park and garden.

The proposal would see four 126.5m wind turbines built within the setting of the Lyveden New Bield site, a place described by the Planning Inspector who granted approval for the plans as “probably the finest example of an Elizabethan garden [with a] cultural value of national if not international significance”.

After planning permission was initially refused by the local Council, the development was given consent on appeal in March 2012. The three organisations started legal proceedings on 23 April under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. It is extremely rare for English Heritage and the National Trust to pursue legal action and it is the first time that East Northamptonshire Council has ever taken a case to this level.

Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust explained the decision to take the matter to the Administrative Court: “We fully support renewable energy and have made our own commitment to halve our dependence on fossil fuels by 2020. We have also backed a number of wind proposals where scale and setting have been considered appropriate.

“However, the decision to allow a development of this size so close to one of the country’s most treasured historic places is both damaging to Lyveden New Bield and could have serious implications for other heritage sites across the UK.”

As a Grade I listed building, registered park and garden and scheduled ancient monument, Lyveden New Bield’s unfinished Elizabethan lodge and gardens have the highest heritage designation possible. The wind turbines would be prominent, modern structures in a landscape that still evokes the character of Lyveden New Bield’s historic Rockingham Forest surroundings. The turbines would be visible from almost everywhere on the property.

Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said: “Our challenge to his decision is not simply about the balance of professional judgement between heritage and renewable energy. The Inspector did not adequately take into account the contribution that Lyveden New Bield’s historic and rural surroundings make to its immense significance.”

Leader of East Northamptonshire Council, Steven North added: “It is regrettable that it has come to this, but we fully support this legal challenge and will be working closely with the National Trust and English Heritage to protect this heritage site.”

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