Before people can work on preserving and regenerating their surrounding environment they must become aware of the natural and cultural values the local landscape entails. Within Lifescape several awareness projects involve farmers and local residents with communication actions, questionnaires, events, courses and volunteer activities.
Communication to communities and individuals
In the traditionally cultivated landscape Marais Audomarois a local working group - composed of the mayors of the fifteen marshland communities, the town council of Saint Omer (including 18 communities) and staff from Parc Naturel Régional des Caps et Marais d‘Opale - is active to preserve the Audomarois marshes. After involving farmers and inhabitants, a marshland preservation strategy and plan has been designed. Through developing communication actions awareness of the inhabitants of the area and its visitor on the beauty and fragility of the marshland is raised. One of the issues in communicating the value of the marshland is celebrating traditional marshland related festivities. Hands-on landscape preservation actions are also used to increase tourism and interest for the visitors.
Contact: Parc Naturel Régional des Caps et Marais d‘Opale, E-mail Luc Barbier, telephone 0033 327775160
Lewes Downs Have Your Say
In the Lewes Downs a local partnership works together in the Have Your Say project to identify what is influencing decision making on the Lewes Downs, now and in the future. The project facilitates and enhances the exchange of information about the local landscape and its potential for the future. Various actions to involve the communities have taken place: more than 150 stake holders discussed the current concerns and future priorities of the Lewes Downs and questionnaires were sent to all 13.000 addresses in the area to find out what people value in their landscape. Interested respondents could discuss the outcomes of this questionnaire during a walk in the area. From then on, people were invited to come to public exhibitions and displays, to work in practical nature conservation and to visit an open air theatre event with local produce and butterfly walks. To increase the amount of people that enjoy the area, also a comprehensive access guide for walkers has been developed.
Contact: E-mail Malcolm Emery, telephone 0044 1273407954.
High Weald Community Awareness
In the High Weald community awareness programme the community is informed about and made proud of the local landscape of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). This is done in a variety of ways: walking guides, high quality interpretation signs and publications are provided. Also, the AONB staff is present at large scale local events presenting their information in stands on relevant topics. An innovative training programme has helped partnerships to develop their capacity to deliver high quality and successful projects. An education project has produced a comprehensive package of activities and support materials that demonstrate a cost effective way of enabling schools to use the resources and local distinctiveness of their area to deliver curriculum objectives. And assistance with the development of a group of Friends of the High Weald and the Community Investment Fund is enabling enthusiastic residents to get more involved in the area and fundraise to support land management projects in the area.
Contact: High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty , E-mail Gerry Sherwin, telephone 0044 1580879592, www.highweald.org
Involving consumers in maintaining orchards
The Orchard Centre MainÄppelHaus Lohrberg is active in teaching people about the landscape and getting them emotionally attached to the region. To do so courses are offered which treat subjects like orchard pruning, juice pressing, collecting herbs for the traditional ‘Green Sauce‘. Furthermore, excursions to learn about the typical flora and fauna of the orchards are organized. Also, concrete projects about managing orchards in the right way are offered to private land owners. When visiting the Orchard Centre itself, orchard products can be tasted and bought in a little tavern and farm shop, to increase their experience of what their region has to offer if it is protected in the right way.
Contact: MainÄppelHaus Lohrberg, E-mail Nicola Koczy, telephone 0049 610935413, www.mainaeppelhauslohrberg.de
In Boxtel, the Netherlands, the Telos Jump method, which balances interests of people, planet and profit, is used to come to a sustainable development of the rural area. The aim of the Telos Jump is to increase practical possibilities, especially for private landowners, to participate in the management of the landscape. Students from a high schools and a university in the final stages of their vocational training programme act as an external contracted consultancy agency, guided by their teachers. They visit the land owners and give them advice on how to use their natural resources in a sustainable way. Apart from reaching land owners the outlying areas in a very practical manner, the Telos Jump also contributes to the young professionals‘ ideas on sustainability.
Contact: Municipality of Boxtel, telephone 0031 411655291.
Involving communities in hands-on nature management activities
Through the Volunteer Ranger Service 400 hundred volunteers now help to conserve the landscape and act as ambassadors for the area, delivering over 5,000 days of work. The Lifescape project has allowed the South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service (VRS) to expand over the last two years, helping many local people to reconnect with their landscape. The South Downs Joint Committee has created 3 community groups to look after local countryside sites, helped by the VRS. It trains and supports volunteers in habitat management and other traditional countryside management skills, including coppicing and hedge laying. In 2007 SDJC had launched a Youth Ranger Scheme for 16-18 year olds to acquire countryside management skills.
Contact: South Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Ian Hartle, www.southdowns.gov.uk