• Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

North East Connected

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Young volunteers needed to save endangered mammal

A NORTH-EAST environmental partnership is appealing for young volunteers to help protect one of the country’s most endangered native species in a project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

European water voles were once a common sight across northern England, but the rodent made famous as ‘Ratty’ in Kenneth Grahame’s classic story ‘The Wind In The Willows’ has now been declared the UK’s fastest declining mammal.

Three North-East wildlife charities have teamed up to launch Naturally Native, a project to help save the water vole. Durham, Northumberland, and Tees Valley Wildlife Trusts believe the next generation will be key in the struggle to protect the UK’s wildlife, and are appealing for young volunteers to join the fight.

Kirsty Pollard, Naturally Native project manager with Durham Wildlife Trust, said: “We’re very excited to offer this fantastic opportunity for young people to stand up against biodiversity loss in the region, while making new friends and developing skills and gaining new experiences.

“It’s wonderful to be teaming up with other wildlife trusts to launch this worthwhile project, which has been funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund – we want to say a big thank you to them, and to lottery players across the country for making this possible.”

Young Ranger volunteers aged between 14 and 18 years old will join forces with the charities to help restore natural habitats that are vital for water voles to thrive.

Tasks will include surveying water voles in the field, setting up camera monitoring and footprint tunnels, using conservation dogs to locate voles, and working with animators to develop an awareness-raising campaign about the rodent’s plight.

The charities are also looking to partner with schools to deliver lessons which can link in with biology, maths, English, or geography lessons.

To volunteer as a Young Ranger, for more information about the Naturally Native project, or to book a fully-funded educational visit, go to www.durhamwt.com/naturally-native.