CLIF has pledged its support to National Parks UK for the second year running and sees CLIF fund another five conservation projects in National Parks throughout 2020 which will include bat protection, repairing rivers, studying wood ants and training volunteer conservation graduates.
CLIF and National Parks UK first teamed up in 2019 with the ‘National Parks Protectors’ partnership, which saw CLIF fund a number of initiatives in all 15 National Parks; including the surveying of 25 miles of Pembrokeshire Coast path in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to identify key spots to improve connectivity and habitat opportunities, as well as the installation of a bug hotel bike stand in The Broads.
CLIF has a long history of supporting environmental projects in the U.S. and Canada, and the renewal of this partnership demonstrates the company’s commitment to supporting nature in the UK. In addition to selling a range of energy bars to support active lifestyles, CLIF is passionate about protecting the places in which its consumers seek everyday adventure and to the communities in which they live and work. In addition to funding the projects, CLIF also donated thousands of CLIF BARs to Park visitors, volunteers and staff.
As with the fund in 2019, all 15 of the UK’s National Parks will benefit in 2020, with those not running a special project still receiving a grant to support their choice of conservation work during the year.
The five major projects supported in 2020 are:
Brecon Beacons – Understanding our nature
This 12-month project will engage local people with their local wildlife, helping them understand what it is and how important it is to their daily lives. The programme will offer a series of seasonally-themed identification courses across a number of communities, geographic sites and habitat types in the National Park including such topics as bumble bees, fungi, tree and bird identification. Within these sessions, participants will be familiarised with the use of easy-to-use recording apps to store their findings with local recording centres.
Ultimately the project aims are two-fold: to engage local people with their local environment so that they connect sufficiently to wish to look after it in the future and to train up the next generation of recorders, people who can identify wildlife and pass that knowledge on to others.
Cairngorms National Park – Wonderful Wood Ants
The Cairngorms National Park is a UK stronghold for the narrow-headed ant, a close relative of the wood ants and an endangered species. The climate emergency and changing forestry practices are happening too quickly for populations to disperse naturally to woodland edges and clearings, their preferred habitat. Working at the National Trust for Scotland Mar Lodge Estate we propose to captive breed narrow-headed ants to supplement the existing threatened population and move nests to alternative locations improve their resilience to change.
In addition to the translocation at Mar Lodge Estate, we will also improve our knowledge of other wood ants species throughout the rest of Deeside. This will involve mapping suitable habitat and core populations and survey work to identify areas where forest connectivity for wood ants can be improved.
Dartmoor National Park - Graduate Conservation Volunteers: Our Future National Park Protectors
The Conservation Volunteer project will provide practical support for conservation work along with skills, mentoring and training for conservation graduates who have attained their degree but lack applied and field skills. Through this scheme and in partnership with the Woodland Trust and Natural England, the National Park Authority will host two 1 year Graduate Conservation Volunteers.
The Volunteers will deliver a range of practical conservation including vegetation monitoring, management of rhos pasture (for butterflies), heathland management, habitat enhancement for moorland birds and management of ancient woodland. In return the Volunteers would each have a tailored training programme including key vocational qualifications alongside mentoring and support from DNPA and partner organisation’s staff.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park – Cowal River Repair Project
This project will improve and protect riverbanks, water quality and the spawning grounds for important fish species in the River Goil, located in the Argyll Forest section of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. Working with local partners and the local community, this work will ensure the habitat is in good condition for fish to breed and river banks are safe for fishing access which is an essential part of guaranteeing the river remains a focus for both the local community and visitors.
North York Moors National Park - Small and Tall; the Rye’s Bats and Ancient Trees
Small and Tall will develop a deeper knowledge of key bat populations in the River Rye catchment area, including greater understanding of the nationally rare Alcathoe bat, to protect bat species and to inform habitat management including that of ancient trees to enable the Rye’s bats to move freely through the landscape.
Volunteers will play a key role in this ambitious landscape scale Citizen Science project to record bats and their interactions with the landscape. Citizen Scientists will be trained to deploy wildlife acoustic detectors in assigned 1km squares for four consecutive nights before collecting the equipment and sending the data off to be analysed.