Cymraeg

Community Action for Nature Group

Rhondda Cynon Taf LNP

Rhondda Cynon Taff’s Community Action for Nature Group

Almost a year on and still going strong, RCT’s Community Action for Nature group has offered online workshops, training and events to Rhondda’s community groups, environmentalists and enthusiastic activists, encouraging more people to do something for nature.

Rhondda Cynon Taff’s Local Nature Partnership co-ordinator Rose Revera recognised the need for a way for committed individuals to get involved in nature recovery without having to attend the often highly technical partnership meetings.

‘Following the lockdowns, when increased restrictions kept people at home and helped them connect more with their local environment, we noticed a surge in numbers of people wishing to help nature and make a difference for the future of the wildlife in their local communities’ says Rose.

‘We started the “Community Action for Nature” workshops in RCT with the aim to give ideas and inspiration for actions that people can take locally for nature, such as surveys, habitat management and habitat creation.’

The first workshop held online in March 2021 began by outlining why they’re all here: to protect nature.

The 2019 State of Nature Report showed that 8% of species in Wales are threatened by extinction. The following year the pandemic hit, leading to months of lockdown and restrictions. Many felt nature was trying to tell us something, and this group listened.

‘We get together every three months for discussions, presentations from members of RCT LNP and idea sharing’ says Rose. ‘So far this has included subjects like “Big Butterfly Count”, wildflower grassland management and dormouse nut hunting.’

‘We also talk about key issues such as ‘Right Tree in Right Place’ and wildflower seed bombing, to make sure that groups are taking the most effective action for nature without inadvertently causing damage.’

‘Inspiration and vision’

Helen from the Pontyclun Environment Group is a key member of the group. ‘As a grassroots group, we value the opportunity of joining the Community Action for Nature workshops for two key reasons: the first is the opportunity to learn from people with more expertise than us and to be put on the right track on issues that are actually quite complex, such as tree-planting.

‘The second is to meet people in the area who are also taking action on nature-related topics and share practice- what's worked well and what hasn't! This keeps our enthusiasm going for new projects and ideas.

‘Almost all of our members work full-time so an element of inspiration and vision is important to encourage them to commit their free time to volunteer activities via Pontyclun Environment Group'

Taking action for nature

The latest workshop was held on 30th November 2021, where the group discussed the next 2 months of activities they will be getting involved in:

February:

  • Organise a toad patrol along popular toad migration roads to stop them from getting hit by cars or falling into gully pots when they are migrating to ponds
  • Find a spot of winter sun with an expansive view ahead of you and get involved in the Big Farmland Bird Count (4-20 February)
  • Give your nest boxes a good clear out during National Nest Box Week, ensuring they are in top condition for this years’ nesting birds

March:

  • Reflect on the high priority species in your area and what you can do to help them this years’ World Wildlife Day (3 March), following this years’ theme “Recovering Key Species for Ecosystem Restoration”
  • Get down to the river and look for signs of otters, who were once almost extinct but are now present in every river in Wales
  • Take your Tree ID skills that step further by identifying them from their fresh new spring buds

Lost Peatlands Project

The Lost Peatland Project

he latest workshop also had a presentation from the Lost Peatland Project, where the group learned about the importance of good condition peatland to lock in carbon, reduce flood risk, improve water quality and support biodiversity.

There will be a huge array of volunteering opportunities through the project and you can find out more here.

Get involved

The next RCT Community Action for Nature workshop will be held on 2nd March 2022 and you can register your interest here.

‘We find these workshops a great way to raise awareness of the actions that have been outlined as priorities for RCT through our Nature Recovery Action Plan – Action for Nature’ says Rose. ‘We look forward to seeing this enthusiastic group of people grow over the next few years.’

A similar group has also now started in Neath Port Talbot and the first workshop was held on Tuesday 18th January. You can find out more here.

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