Somerset Wildlife Trust

Work For Us|

Humans of the Levels - A Picture of the Levels, One Story at a Time

 12th Feb 2018

Somerset Wildlife Trust launches new digital community project that harnesses ‘human spirit’ and ‘sense of place’ to drive a broader change in the way we view and protect one of Somerset’s most remarkable landscapes

12th February 2018 – Today marks the launch of ‘Humans of the Levels’- a new and exciting digital community project from Somerset Wildlife Trust, which aims to put the spotlight on the unique people and special communities that can be found across the Somerset Levels and Moors landscape, and, through a combination of creative photography and personal storytelling, explores and celebrates the deep relationship that exists between those that that live, work and visit this special place, and the land itself and the wildlife living alongside.

The Humans of The Levels community will be delivered and grown initially via a Facebook page, modelled on the hugely successful Humans of New York Facebook community that now has over 18 million members.  It is hoped that in uncovering and telling the human stories behind this very special area, it will inspire the wider community to become more involved in safeguarding the landscapes of the Levels & Moors for the future, and to stand up for the special wildlife that can be found there in the face of the escalating impacts of climate change.

The Levels and Moors are an intricate managed landscape that has been developed over centuries from drainage and irrigation of land for agriculture and to manage flood risk. Land once exploited for salt and dug for peat over the centuries has since been transformed into a vibrant mosaic of land for agriculture and internationally renowned wetland nature reserves. Juggling the needs for wildlife with flood protection for people and infrastructure and ensuring the livelihoods of farmers and businesses is complex and can result in difficult debate and a degree of polarisation between people, land and wildlife – particularly when high profile flooding events occur. 

Somerset Wildlife Trust has been working in this area over the past 50 years, most notably the restoration work that has taken place in the Avalon Marshes area, and works with individuals, groups, communities and farmers in the area.  It hopes that the Humans of The Levels project is a way to help the wider public look beyond the usual debate and give the greater voice to the people that are actually living and working in the Levels every day, so we can understand better what binds them to this special area and why it deserves our greatest protection.

 

 

Steve Mewes, Policy and Campaigns Manager for Somerset Wildlife Trusts says:

“I have never lived in another place where, as soon as you put a foot to the floor you feel an almost visceral, magnetic connection to the land. This immediate connection, this inexplicable sense of place is utterly unique and, it’s not until you have explored a little that you realise that a magical combination of the area’s history, heritage, culture, people and wildlife literally follows you and envelops you wherever you go in the area.  There’s nowhere else quite like it.

“And what is remarkable too, is that the people that myself, and others meet and work with feel the same; they are deeply connected to the Levels, united in their passion for the landscape, and are literally living, working and going about their daily lives totally in tune with the natural rhythms of this unique and special place. 

“Creating a digital home for this amazing ‘sense of place’ and harnessing the power and passion of these individuals, special characters and the communities they live in, is pivotal in terms of supporting Somerset Wildlife Trust’s conservation and wildlife advocacy work for the Levels & Moors area as it comes under pressure from climate change and development activity. 

“Humans are hard wired to stand up for what they love, protect what they depend on and speak out for those that cannot.  It’s the first advocacy project of its kind for the Trust, and one we are really excited about - we are literally charging others, through their wonderful stories, to help fuel the change we are seeking for the land and wildlife that exists on their doorstep. What we need is for people to participate, get involved and tell us their stories - so, whether you are a farmer, cheese maker, birdwatcher, teacher, nature reserve volunteer, hedge cutter, landscape gardener, dog walker, student, politician, withy grower or cider maker – please get in touch and tell us your story.”

 

To reach the Humans of the Levels please visit this page;

https://www.facebook.com/humansofthelevels/

For more information about Humans of the Levels and how you can take part please visit this page for more information:

http://www.somersetwildlife.org/Humans_of_the_Levels.html