Business leaders, MPs, community groups and teachers were amongst those who showed their support for an exciting new community conservation initiative, launched by Somerset Wildlife Trust at The Museum of Somerset, Taunton, on Thursday, October 2.
Partnership project funded by HLF
Routes to the River Tone is a three-year partnership project, funded with £483,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and led by Somerset Wildlife Trust. It aims to inspire the residents of Taunton to see their town in a new light, encouraging them to explore the green spaces, re-connect with nature and, through collective action, protect the town’s natural wealth for the future.
A mix of councillors, project partners and Trust staff attended the event, along with representatives from schools, churches, businesses and local community groups. Welcoming everyone to the event, Taunton’s Deputy Mayor Marcia Hill said: “I would like to thank Somerset Wildlife Trust for putting on a most enjoyable evening. Once I learnt more about this exciting project, the more I wanted to help make a difference, and encourage others to help too.”
Enthusiasm for Taunton's wildlife
The Trust’s CEO Simon Nash highlighted the importance of wildlife to our lives, and some of the risks it faces, before Simon Timms, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West Committee, explained why they had chosen Taunton for the project. Simon Timms went on to say: “Taunton has a richly diverse and, in many cases rare, wildlife population, and the River Tone is fundamental to its survival. It’s fantastic to see the support and enthusiasm the community has for this project which provides a huge opportunity for us to discover more about the nature on our doorstep and work together to conserve it for the future.”
Routes to the River Tone Project Manager Nick Tomlinson from Somerset Wildlife Trust said: “Taunton is such an amazing place, with a wide range of green spaces, including thousands of gardens and a huge variety of wildlife, some of it really rather rare, all rubbing shoulders with car parks, supermarkets and offices.
“Because we all feel better when we have access to green spaces, we hope, with everyone’s help, to improve Taunton’s green spaces and waterways, both for wildlife and for people. As it turns out what’s good for nature is good for us!”
Get involved with green spaces
As well as encouraging people to explore their local green spaces, the project is seeking help with a whole range of activities, from helping look after those green spaces, to surveys and looking for wonderful, charismatic creatures such as bats and watervoles. More information about the Routes to the River Tone project can be found at somersetwildlife.org/taunton_living_landscape or by calling 01832 652433.
Routes to the River Tone is a partnership project, led by Somerset Wildlife Trust, with partners including Taunton Deane Borough Council, Somerset County Council, Environment Agency, Natural England, The Canal and Rivers Trust and the Taunton Deane Area Group of Somerset Wildlife Trust.