Starting this project has been an exciting time for me. Not only because the whole idea of Back from the Brink is so innovative, with conservation organisations working collaboratively at this scale, but because this project is so close to home.
Growing up in South Devon inspired my passion for bats and wildlife conservation, and now I am working to protect one of the rarest bat species in the country – that just happens to live on my doorstep (almost literally)!
The project will seek to engage with the landowners and managers who look after this complex and beautiful landscape, from the deep wooded valleys, to the wildflower meadows, to the marshes and wetlands – that are all vital to the future survival of the Grey Long-eared Bat. So far, it has been inspiring, with many landowners fully committed to the importance of managing the landscape in a sensitive and balanced way. Managing land for bats not only cares for the bats themselves – it also takes care of a vast array of other wildlife, whilst providing resources to support important crop pollinators, contributing to soil, water and nutrient conservation and providing a host of other ecosystem services that are difficult to quantify. Bat-friendly land management secures the land for future generations, not just ours.
The project will also be aiming to raise awareness of this enigmatic species with the wider community – through a range of walks, talks and other batty events. So, watch this space for opportunities to learn more about bats and other wildlife, learn new skills and get involved with biodiversity conservation on your doorstep.