The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a £472,400 grant to the wildlife preservation charity, Froglife, to help support its River Nene Dragon Finder project. The four and a half year project aims to bring riverside residents together to help create more than 150 habitats for local wildlife such as the great crested newt and the smooth newt.
A recent assessment conducted by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) revealed 49% of Europe's reptile species and 59% of its amphibians are in decline. These worrying findings are believed to be largely due to disease and loss of habit—over one third of the UK's ponds have disappeared in the last 50 years.
Froglife's project will encourage local residents and visitors to assist with species identification and monitoring tasks as well as habitat management. A variety of events and activities are planned to promote the Dragon Finder project, and farmers and landowners will be provided with opportunities to learn more ecologically-friendly farming methods.
Drew Bennellick, Head of Landscape and Natural Heritage at HLF, said: "We loved the Froglife Trust’s creative solution to this environmental problem. It will give everyone connected to the River Nene—from local farmers to walkers and cyclists—the chance to get involved and learn more about wildlife conservation. The project has the potential to make a real difference in the area and we’ll be watching how it progresses with great interest."
The HLF is responsible for distributing a share of the funds raised by UK National Lottery Good Causes. HLF grants are awarded to projects designed to sustain and transform the British Heritage.