We are pleased to say, our project to support habitat creation to improve biodiversity in and around Newport has been successful!
Launching in June 2021, the project will address the urgent need to act on climate change, focussing on 3 inter-related elements:
- Community awareness and action – the community will be engaged in activities, workshops and personal actions to enhance biodiversity, mitigate climate change and raise awareness of critical environmental issues. The project aims to change behaviours, increase social capital and foster community pride through volunteering and long-term nurturing and monitoring of biodiversity. The project will engage local groups, the school, homeowners and landowners.
- Carbon sequestration – there is an urgent need to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Trees sequester carbon as they grow, and will be planted to act as both a carbon sink and a carbon store, locking CO2 up above ground, in roots and in soils.
- Biodiversity and climate change resilience – a biodiverse area is intrinsically more resilient to the effects of climate change. Systems which are more diverse, larger, in better condition and better connected are more able to adapt to or recover from change.
Three components of the project will address these elements:
- Tree planting. The project will plant a tree for every member of Newport’s population (approx. 1200.) Planting sites will be public open space and community areas, private land and gardens. NAEG will work with the Pembrokeshire Nature Partnership’s Land Use Planning Tool to identify sites which will help strengthen wildlife corridors and improve connectivity. An Enhancement Study sponsored by the National Park proposing suitable tree planting sites will also be consulted. Native species will be chosen to provide food sources and breeding sites for wildlife. The community will be engaged throughout, from finding and offering sites, attending tree planting events and providing aftercare.
- Wildlife gardening. Private homeowners will be invited to improve their gardens for wildlife, through activities such as planting wildflowers, leaving areas of lawn uncut, creating log piles and bug hotels, nesting boxes and wildlife ponds. Much of Newport is second homes, managed by only a few gardeners. They can have significant influence on the sites they manage, and will receive wildlife gardening training through the project. A network of ecologically valuable gardens and wild places will increase biodiversity and allow for greater movement of wildlife across a relatively hostile urban environment. Stickers declaring homeowners as participants will be distributed.
- Wildlife monitoring and mapping. Citizen science is recognised as a vital method of gathering information about our environment and a fantastic way to engage people. Community members will be encouraged to gather observations of target species (determined by the Steering Committee). Observations will be collected using an existing wildlife monitoring app from the West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre. The observations, tree planting and wildlife sites will be used to create a Biodiversity Map of Newport.
Funding for the project has been secured from the Sustainable Development Fund and will allow NAEG to employ a Biodiversity and Decarbonisation Officer to run the project from June. We look forward to working with the community to enhance Newport and surounding area for biodiversity.