VOLUNTEER scientists in the Peak District and South Pennines have won the prestigious 2017 Campaign for National Parks ‘Park Protector’ award, collecting a £2,000 grant.
This was achieved through the dedication of volunteers, and the award was accepted at a special parliamentary reception last month.
The Peak District is the original UK National Park and the lead partner of Moors for the Future Partnership, and includes land at and around Dovestone Reservoir in Greenfield.
The Moors for the Future Partnership’s Community Science project topped the list of 26 groups shortlisted for the prize.
It has been running since 2003, transforming over 32 sq km of black degraded peat.
The Heritage Lottery Funded scheme has enabled local communities to take part in recording information about their moorland environment and the wildlife found there.
This helps to increase awareness of climate change and its effects on environments. They aim to increase the health of peat moors to aid wildlife and store more carbon dioxide.
As well as this, they also make up our drinking water as at least 70 per cent of it comes from peat moors, as it provides good, clean water.
Project manager Sarah Proctor said: “Community Science wouldn’t have achieved the fantastic successes that we have in data recording and public engagement without the dedication and enthusiasm of our volunteers.
“We were absolutely delighted that their achievements have been nationally recognised.”
Sarah Fowler, chief executive of the Peak District, added: “The award is great recognition for the sterling work of our wonderful volunteers who regularly give their time and energy to record wildlife in challenging moorland environments.
“Their efforts are key to collecting the data needed to help us study how climate change is affecting plants, animals and habitats.
“A big thank you and well done to all our community scientists.”