Tendring Loves Conservation (TLC) launches this summer, with a programme of engagement and community-led site improvements aimed to connect local people to the natural world and encourage pride in place in the area.
Essex Wildlife Trust, the leading conservation charity in the county is experienced in leading outdoor education groups and events aimed at inspiring a lifelong love of nature throughout Essex. The Trust now wants to support groups of children, parents, schools and adults that are least likely to have access to nature and give them the tools and support they need to feel connected with their local nature. Outdoor learning programmes will be available including Nature Babies, Nature Tots, Nature Clubs, Forest School training and Greening the School Grounds initiative.
The Trust is working in partnership with the University of Essex to measure the impact that spending time in nature can have on your wellbeing and how repeated visits can develop your sense of nature connectedness.
Several of Essex Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves within Tendring will play a key part in the project: Wrabness nature reserve near Manningtree, The Naze Nature Discovery Centre and John Weston nature reserve at Walton-on-the-Naze and Great Holland Pits nature reserve in Great Hollands. Conservation focused activities will form part of the programme and adult work parties will be held to help improve these sites for wildlife, forming a local oasis for the community.
The project received £250,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and will run for two years, however the programme will establish activities, relationships and behaviours that will continue long after the project ends.
Judith Metcalfe, Education & Community Officer at Essex Wildlife Trust, says: “We are very excited about this project and the generous support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Tendring is bountiful in natural beauty and we want to encourage as many people to experience it and benefit from it as we can. Everyone should feel confident in exploring their local green spaces, and we can’t wait to help more people in the community be able to enjoy it.”
Dr Carly Wood, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science at University of Essex, says: “We are delighted to be working with Essex Wildlife Trust to evaluate the impact of their Tendring Loves Conservation Project on engagement and connection to nature within the local community, and exploring the health benefits of the range of nature-based activities being provided to local residents.”
Anne Jenkins, Director Midlands and East, National Lottery Heritage Fund, says: “Landscapes and nature form the bedrock of our culture and heritage, improving wellbeing, sparking curiosity, and protecting and providing for the community’s surrounding and inhabiting them. National Lottery players have highlighted natural heritage as especially important, which is why we are proud to award Essex Wildlife Trust and Tendring Loves Conservation, highlighting the value of nature to all our daily lives”.