LNP April newsletter: Wild About Devon grant, Naturally Healthy May, webinars and more

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April 2022

The Devon Local Nature Partnership is a collaboration of all those working to tackle the Ecological Emergency and develop a healthy nature recovery network across Devon for wildlife, communities and business. Please see our website for more information.  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

To submit an article please email katrina.crenol@devon.gov.uk (75 words + a pic).  

swallow on a wire

A message from our Chair, Professor Michael Winter OBE

Welcome to the LNP newsletter for April. Today (13th April) I saw my first swallow of the year, such a welcome sign of spring and the summer to come. There are few sights I enjoy more than the swallows sweeping around my garden of a summer’s evening. They are one of nature’s wonders travelling up to 200 miles a day as they migrate between southern Africa and Britain. But, like all species they need the right conditions to thrive – for me that includes remembering to open shed doors, closed over winter, so they can get back to their nesting sites. Some nature conservation acts are very simple!  Others are, of course, more complex, and those are the ones that tend to occupy our time in the LNP.

High on the agenda at present is the roll-out, rather slowly some would say, of a raft of government policies on Environment Land Management schemes, Local Nature Recovery Strategies, and polices for protected landscapes. Nearly every aspect of these policies, especially in a county like Devon, involves farmers and farming. The agricultural industry faces massive changes and uncertainties at present, all the more so in the context of the worsening global food and resource security as a result of the tragic and heart-rending war in Ukraine. The LNP is currently reviewing the provision of advice for farmers in the county and whether more or different advice is needed to help equip farmers for the challenges to come as funding for farmers changes. Advice is just one of many means we can use to work towards ensuring our precious land resource is nature-rich, stores carbon, provides wholesome food, is enjoyable and restorative to those who visit, and provides a viable living and high self-worth to those who manage it.

Michael Winter

Wild About Devon - community action

house sparrow nest box

Community Wildlife Grant Scheme

The aim of this grant scheme is to provide community groups and parish and town councils small amounts of funding, anything up to £500, to kickstart groups/projects or advance existing projects, access to advice, equipment and resources. The grant is funded by Devon Environment Foundation, Devon Communities Together  and Devon County Council.

Funding will be awarded on a first-come-first-serve basis with applications open until 31st October 2022. More information and details on how to apply on Devon Communities Together page.

awards animation

Devon Wildlife Community of the Year Awards 2021/22

Don't forget to send in your nomination forms for the Devon Wildlife Community of the Year Awards.

There are four award categories: Wildlife Community of the Year Award, Wildlife Parish & Town Council of the Year Award, Wildlife School of the Year Award, and Outstanding Individuals. Details on how to enter are on our Wild About Devon pages. The competition is open until 15 July 2022.

children with muddy boots

Free webinar: Community Opportunities

Wednesday 27th April, 7-8pm

Speakers include:

  • Andrea Harvey, Places for Nature
  • Andrew Rothery and Simon Heath, Green Futures Newton Abbot
  • Keith Rennells, ParkLife South West

The webinar is free to attend with more information and booking via Eventbrite.

Marsh fritillary butterfly

What to do about pesticides, herbicides, grass cutting and tree planting? Parish & Town Council Event

Friday 29th April, 12-1:30pm

We are inviting all parish and town councillors and clerks to join us for a knowledge share event and discussions around three key environmental topics: grass cutting, pesticides, and tree planting, with Forestry Commission, Woodland Trust, Devon County Council, Teignbridge District Council and Devon Wildlife Trust.

The event is free to attend with more information and booking via Eventbrite.

Climate Action


Nature's role in tackling the climate crisis

Devon LNP hosted this webinar, chaired by Professor Michael Winter (Devon LNP Chair), at the end of March with presentations from a range of fantastic speakers:  

  • Phil Norrey (CEO Devon County Council & Chair of the Devon Climate Emergency Resilience Group)
  • Harry Barton (CEO Devon Wildlife Trust)
  • Dr Matt Frost (The Marine Biological Association)
  • Becky Willson (Farm Carbon Toolkit)
  • Rosie Walker (Woodland Trust)

If you missed it, catch up with the recording on YouTube.

Naturally Healthy May

runners in the woods

May is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy the best of the spring weather. 

Every year, Devon LNP partners organise Naturally Healthy May to encourage people to get outside across Devon. Being outdoors and connecting with nature is important for our wellbeing, particularly so over the last few years.

There are lots of opportunities to be involved in Naturally Healthy May, including events and activities. To find out more, take a look at the Naturally Healthy pages.

If you are running an event you would like us to share, or want to find out more about Naturally Healthy May, contact Kate Hind at kate.hind@devon.gov.uk.  

male chaffinch

Free webinars: Wildlife Spotting

In the run up to Naturally Healthy May, Devon LNP is hosting three, half-hour webinars sharing how to spot different birds, trees, and wildflowers. This might be useful knowledge to learn in order to host your own Naturally Healthy events in May.

flowers on paper

Nature Songs project

A new Nature Songs project starts this May in Heavitree Park, Exeter. Over 8 weekly sessions they will explore nature and the park through singing and songwriting. You don’t need to be a “good” singer or be able to read music, you just need a curious mind and a notepad!

The project is funded by Active Devon as part of Naturally Healthy May, and is free for participants aged 55 years plus who want to get a bit more physically active. For more information or to book a place, please email amy@thesongwritingproject.co.uk


Where to go in spring

Devon Wildlife Trust has put together some spring highlights, from lounging lizards to blooming bluebells, in a list of where to go this spring.

If you are interested in our ongoing Naturally Healthy initiative and would like to join the Forum, please email Kate Hind at kate.hind@devon.gov.uk

Trees for Devon

silver birch trees

Woodland Trust - Community Tree packs

The Woodland Trust wants to make sure everybody in the UK has the chance to plant a tree so is giving away hundreds of thousands of trees to schools and communities.

Applications are open for free Community Tree packs to be delivered in November.

Life on the Hedge podcast logo

Life On The Hedge podcast

The Tree Council has a new podcast, Life On The Hedge. The six-part series explores the wonder of hedgerows and the increasing abundance of green jobs available to young people in the UK. 

Each episode includes a young person at the start of their career in nature, as they show us what it's like to plant trees, cultivate native species, lay hedges, work with farmers and volunteers and discover the wildlife that depends upon our hedges.

You can search for the Life On The Hedge podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

children with spades

Community Forest Week of Action

Hundreds of trees were planted during the Plymouth and South Devon Community Forest's first ever Week of Action.

They held events in the countryside, the city and in woodlands. People who had never planted a tree before got involved and young people from different walks of life were at the centre of it. School children, youth groups, families, all came to help start community forest journey. Watch the short film about the week.

tree planting by exeter cathedral

Exeter Cathedral plants a tree for the Jubilee

A new oak is growing outside Exeter Cathedral to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee as part of the Queens Green Canopy.

Organised by the Woodland Trust in partnership with the Cathedral; Exeter Cathedral Choir and the visiting Jesus College, Cambridge Choir raised their voices in praise of the oak, at the special evensong service, which was attended by a number of dignitaries. The congregation all took home a tree to plant.

Updates across the county


Beaver Believers - Devon Wildlife Trust

As we delve into spring, young beavers start to strike out on their own, freeing up space for a new litter of beaver kits which is likely to arrive in June.

Over the next few years, Devon could become the first English county with established beaver populations thriving in multiple river catchments. Devon Wildlife Trust have set up their Beaver Believers appeal to support their beaver conservation work.

Flowers on a verge

Biodiversity work at the Met Office

The Met Office recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of achieving the Wildlife Trusts’ Biodiversity Benchmark for their head office in Exeter. This reflects their ongoing commitment to increase biodiversity across their estate.

To mark the anniversary, Harry Barton, Devon Wildlife Trust CEO, visited the site and, in their video, you can hear Harry in conversation with Dr Martin Andrews (their Biodiversity Working Group Chair) and see the impacts of their biodiversity work. 

Funding Opportunities

canoe foundation logo

Canoe Foundation

The Canoe Foundation grants are up to £10,000 for projects that improve the accessibility of available waterways and canoeing facilities and protect the natural environment.

Application deadline: 19th April 2022

defra logo

Local Authority Treescapes Fund

Defra has opened round two of the Local Authority Treescapes Fund to increase tree planting and natural regeneration in non-woodland areas. 100 grants worth £50,000 - £300,000 are available for local authorities.

Application deadline: 31st May 2022

forestry commission logo

Urban Tree Challenge Fund

Funded by Defra working alongside the Forestry Commission, the Urban Tree Challenge Fund has grants from £10,000 - £30,000 to support the planting and establishment of large and small trees in urban & semi-urban areas.

Application deadline: 31st May 2022

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