The Froglife Trust is extremely pleased to announce that the National Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded it a £249,900 grant for their Discovering Dewponds project. The project will be working with Brighton & Hove City Council and the South Downs National Park Authority to create nine dewponds, working closely with land managers to achieve conservation goals. The project will also be working with local communities to create Neighbourhood Wildlife Corridors, improving local green spaces, parks and school grounds for wildlife. Alongside the habitat work the project will be delivering a wide ranging programme of public engagement including working with local groups to gather wildlife memories.
This project will be addressing the loss of dewponds in the South Downs. It is estimated that 39% of the dewponds in this region have been lost, and many more are no longer visible in the landscape. In addition to reversing these losses the project will raise awareness amongst local residents of the importance of dewponds to wildlife, particularly amphibians. The volunteer training programme will equip volunteers to manage dewponds for wildlife. Froglife will deliver a total of 183 events across the region with over 4,000 residents helping with Neighbourhood Wildlife Corridors and over 600 children benefiting from sessions in schools.
Kathy Wormald, Froglife CEO said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, we will be able to restore and create dewponds currently missing from the landscape. It is a great opportunity for us to improve the biodiversity value of the South Downs, and to raise nature conservation awareness amongst new audiences.”
Councillor Amy Heley, chair of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Froglife Trust to further enhance the opportunities for wildlife living in Stanmer and the Downs.
“I’m also extremely pleased to see the joint work we are doing is supporting more volunteering experiences which contribute to people’s health and wellbeing.”
Jeremy Burgess, who leads landscape and biodiversity for water habitats in the National Park, said: “Dew ponds are an important feature in the landscape of the South Downs National Park and many are part of our cultural heritage, with a long history of sheep grazing and droving”.
“The ponds are also key for biodiversity, providing a vital source of water in the dry chalk landscape, habitats for aquatic species and drinking and bathing for a wide range of birds and animals. This wonderful project complements our existing nature recovery work to help restore dew ponds and create a network that will help wildlife, including amphibians, flourish.”
Stuart McLeod, Director England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, says: “We are delighted to support The Froglife Trust’s Discovering Dewponds project and help them to deliver an ambitious scheme that will create nine dewponds, working closely with land managers to achieve important conservation goals. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, local communities will be engaged to improve people’s wellbeing, create Neighbourhood Wildlife Corridors, as well as raise awareness around this natural heritage asset.”