Saving England's most threatened species from extinction

Introducing Gems in the Dunes

Having grown up around coastal sand dunes I believe it is the most interesting of all UK biotopes. Sand dunes are such unique environments existing only where a particular set of conditions allow. Their uniqueness allows species which tend to thrive in much warmer climates, exist on the Sefton Coast way beyond what many would have thought their natural range. However, these unique environments are being lost thanks to urban expansion which also prevents dunes from retreating inland in response to sea level rise. Sand dunes are becoming increasingly fragmented, serving more as island ecosystems where populations are ever more vulnerable.

It is an exciting time to be working in conservation, with Back from the Brink bringing together seven of the largest wildlife charities in England, changing the approach to species focussed conservation on a national scale. The aim, to bring twenty species back from the brink of extinction and improving the fortunes of more than 200 other species. Working for Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, we will be leading the Gems in the Dunes project based on Sefton Coast.

Gems in the Dunes will play an important role in the short term future of the coastline and in the national status of our target species. Through an extensive programme of large scale habitat management works at sites along the 22-mile coastline, we will improve the habitat for the coastlines flora and fauna. Working with numerous landowners, using local contractors and organising a dedicated team of volunteers, we hope to build a good foundation for the future generations of conservationists on Sefton’s coast to build on.

To ensure the long term existence of Sefton’s sand dunes, Gems in the Dunes will be working with local schools to nurture the next generation of conservationists and also provide the local community with the skills required to care for their local environment. This will be done through a series of events including night-time Natterjack Toad walks, conservation tasks at schools, a wide variety of activities at local venues and numerous volunteer sessions and training days. Gems in the Dunes will also engage with younger generations through parent and child conservation days, where we will encourage the sharing of knowledge through generations.

Andrew Hampson

1 thought on “Introducing Gems in the Dunes

  1. I wish you good luck – such a wonderful place.
    I was brought up playing on the sand dunes at Ainsdale, and its given me a lifetime interest in nature. My mum used to take me and brother to listen to the loud evening chorus of natterjacks on sand dunes before a huge housing estate was built on them in the 1970s – otherworldly it was. I left a long time ago but I still go back occasionally to explore the wonderful wildflowers on the dunes and to look in vain for natterjacks and sand lizards.

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