Tees Valley Wildlife Trust wins Heritage Lottery Fund support for regional bat project

Posted on 30th January 2015

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Today, The Tees Valley Wildlife Trust are announcing today a new initiative that will involve community groups, volunteers and young people in making East Cleveland a better place for bats.
The Tees Valley Wildlife Trust has received a confirmed grant of £45,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and a further £5,000 funding from Northumbrian Water’s Branch Out Fund for the East Cleveland Batscape Project
The two year project aims to increase appreciation and understanding of the number of different bats in East Cleveland and how they are using the landscape to roost, forage and commute. The wooded nature of East Cleveland and the rural character of the landscape give it the potential to be important for more than eight species of bats including some of the rarer bats. The project will work with local communities and volunteers to provide training in field skills and the use of detectors to record and care for this unique wildlife.

Brown long eared bat Hugh Clark/Bat Conservation Trust

Brown long eared bat Hugh Clark/Bat Conservation Trust

There will also be a wealth of opportunities for people of all ages to encounter, enjoy, learn and appreciate bats through programmes of walks, talks, specific bat events, and primary school visits. By providing a unique wildlife encounter combined with fun, educational and interactive activities people will be helped to: develop positive attitudes to bats; appreciate their ecological importance and; contribute to their conservation. Training programmes will provide volunteers with skills in wildlife recording and the ability to discover more about the bats in their neighbourhood and how they use the landscape to move about. The formation of an East Cleveland Bat Group will help in future monitoring and conservation work.
Jeremy Garside, Chief Executive of Tees Valley Wildlife Trust says
“We are delighted to receive support for this wildlife project. With the help of East Cleveland communities we are going to significantly improve our understanding not only of the presence and distribution of various species of bat, required for their long term conservation, but how bats are using the landscape to roost, commute and forage to inform wider wildlife management at a Living Landscape scale”

Ivor Crowther, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North East, said: “Whilst not always considered to be the cutest of animals, bats are a vital part of our ecosystem and their declining numbers flag up an urgent need to understand them better and share that knowledge with local communities in order to protect them. We’re sure The Tees Valley Wildlife Trust project will be a great success and the long-term conservation of bats and their habitats in East Cleveland will be much improved.”

Northumbrian Water’s Branch Out fund helps to deliver projects that benefit the natural environment and local communities. It aims to help build resilience and adapt to the changing climate whilst bringing benefits to water, wildlife and communities
“We are really pleased to be supporting the East Cleveland Bats Project because of the way it will engage local people with this enigmatic mammal and give valuable information which will help protect bats and their habitats.” – Stuart Pudney Conservation & Land manager, Northumbrian Water Group.

To register your interest in the project go to http://www.teeswildlife.org/what-we-do/safeguarding-wildlife-and-the-natural-environment/cleveland-batscape/

Branch out