Connecting for Nature is an initiative taking up the baton for biodiversity action after the LBAPs in adjacent parts of North Yorkshire came to an end. Discussions between officers at Scarborough Borough Council, Ryedale District Council and the Howardian Hills AONB resulted in a Connecting for Nature Summit (held at Pickering in 2013) where a series of workshops were held to discuss the challenges and possibilities. This is where the partnership was born.
A key theme cropping up time and again in workshops and discussions was the need to better connect people who could make positive changes for nature around them. For example:
- Connecting local people with community and volunteer groups;
- Connecting local decision makers such as Parish Councillors with ‘experts’ either amateur or professional who could advise them;
- Connecting landowners with knowledgeable interest groups or surveyors who could help them assess the habitats they play host to;
- Connecting farmers and site managers with specialists, e.g. graziers, contractors or educational groups seeking to visit
- Connecting county and district decision-makers with ‘eyes on the ground’ who are ‘experts in their local patch’;
- Connecting casual enthusiasts, walkers, site-users with organized recording schemes to ensure biodiversity is correctly reflected in Local Planning decisions; etc.
Clearly a key part of this aim, with cash-strapped councils and resource-stretched community groups, can be addressed by improved channels of communication, not least exploiting the power, reach, immediacy and simplicity of Social Media networking. (If you need a lesson on how to get started, watch this space!!) Thus far then, we have four main ways of addressing this connectivity challenge:
- This Connecting for Nature website – which will be built to incorporate weblinks and contact details, case studies of successful project in the region (and even tough lessons learned the hard way by other groups). One could say ‘Not re-inventing the wheel’…
- The Partnership mailing list consists of email contacts for of sharing events, training opportunities, conferences, meetings and in due course an electronic newsletter. If you have not done so already please forward your details. Contact us
- The Connecting for Nature Facebook Group, which enables any Facebook user to send a joining request and then post and receive news, pictures, events and take part in discussion. The beauty of a FB Group is that anyone can start a discussion or share a picture, news, query or event. Give it a try!
- The Twitter feed, which is a direct and fast way to share snippets and pictures and web-links of interest. Are you one of our followers yet?