Read about the hidden value of the LNP project – connecting the people who care about nature in their communities, putting them in touch with key players and supporting them to combat nature’s decline in Wales.
Local Nature Partnership Coordinators are on the frontline in Wales’ nature emergency; connecting people who can make a real difference, as well as funding and running projects that enhance and recover local nature.
These projects can span from overhauling mowing regimes, to tree nurseries, to toad ladders, and much more.
But a lot of the work our LNP Coordinators do happens behind the scenes. A visit to the LNP for initial advice can be the vital first step in a local nature project’s development.
The support doesn’t end there. Coordinators can then help the project make connections with relevant organisations, assist with funding bids, and generally be on hand to assist with any issues or guidance.
‘A line of sight…in both directions’
Ant Rogers is the LNP Coordinator for Pembrokeshire and has worked in this role (with different titles) for more than nine years.
‘I think the role is mostly that of a facilitator,’ says Ant. ‘The LNP provides a line of sight between people working on the ground and government - in both directions.’
This is essential to Wales’ plans for enhancing and recovering nature. On the one hand, the officials at Welsh Government who are setting direction and writing policy need to understand the barriers facing people working at a grassroots level.
On the other hand, individuals and community groups joining the cause know that they’re contributing to regional and national priorities. The LNPs help Wales achieve a cohesive approach to nature recovery.
‘We connect community groups with the bigger picture,’ adds Ant, ‘and connect government with the real people doing the work.’
This is none more prevalent than in an upcoming EU Funded art installation at St David’s Cathedral, linking the city with Wexford, Ireland.
The piece, commissioned by Pembrokeshire Council’s Ancient Connections and created by renowned Welsh artist Bedwyr Williams, will feature three enormous beehives symbolising the bees that St David gave to St Aidan when he left to establish a monastery in Wexford.
The Ancient Connections team initially contacted Ant for advice on beekeeping before introducing new hives to the area.
After putting them in touch with Pembrokeshire Beekeepers’ Association, Ant highlighted the fact that introducing honeybees would create competition with the native bees for the already scarce flower rich areas.
Ant recommended a contribution to the local pollinators by planting more wildflowers – creating a broader habitat and also giving them better honey.
He connected the team with Dr Sarah Beynon, Director of The Bug Farm and local farmer who was ‘very happy to increase the floral diversity’ in their fields adjacent to the cathedral ‘in order to support new bees, along with native bees’.
Since the project is time limited, they’ll need someone to maintain the area after the project closes. For this, Ant connected the team to EcoDewi, the St Davids Peninsula Ecology and Energy Group, who are already ‘actively engaged with the Cathedral to manage some areas for biodiversity and community activities’ including a community garden.
Further to this, LNP project officer Aethne was on hand to provide the project with expert advice about costings and seed suppliers for wildflower planting, ensuring maximum impact for the project funders and the area’s biodiversity.
What this means for nature in Pembrokeshire
These connections meant that local people who cared about local nature were given a seat at the table to advocate on behalf of biodiversity.
The LNP’s contribution also drew in further resource for habitat creation in the area from what was initially a European arts and culture grant.
Pembrokeshire LNP are just one example of the project creating a web of interconnected people fighting for their local nature. If you’ve got a project you need advice on, or are looking to connect with other people who care about nature in your area, contact your Local Nature Partnership.
Find out more about St Davids’ nature recovery projects in this recent article, ‘Why St Davids is Wales’ rising eco star