Strategic Management of Natura 2000 Sites: Kenfig NNR

Behaviour Change The partners commissioned a three year project to develop the sensitive and strategic management of the Kenfig National Nature Reserve site to reduce habitat loss and ensure that the ecosystem becomes more resilient to the pressures of the changing climate and increase in visitors. The project has a steering group of a range of partners with an interest in the site from the public and third sectors and local landowners. It is also jointly funded with Natural Resources Wales. The project helps people learn about the environment and fosters behaviour change so that visitors have less impact on the ecosystem. This involved a litter and dog fouling campaign and rationalisation of the rights of way to reduce conflict between reserve users and lessen their impact in the Reserve. Improved signage and bins facilitate visitors being more responsible on site, while education and interpretation of public users of the site will teach them the importance of environmental conservation, and their role within that conservation. A significant amount of land management has taken place including scrub clearance and this has seen an immediate impact with healthy crops of orchids and other native species returning to those managed areas and breeding birds attracted to the renewed habitat.

Working with Academia Educational resources were developed for schools and academia to be able to use the site in a self-managed visit approach. The packs include risk assessment and curriculum linked activities to enable learning in the outdoors. Target audiences for the project have included primary, secondary and University age students. While there have been many visits from primary and secondary schools recorded, the biggest impact has been seen with Higher Education. There are many reasons for this including the terrain, distances and practicality for school visits it is anticipated that the schools education packs will be a useful resource for encouraging more to visit. Through close working with Swansea University and Cardiff University, it has been possible to deliver Post-graduate research in tandem with the delivery of the project. In addition, a number of undergraduate students have been able to take advantage of structured work placements out in the reserve and learn about strategic management in action. A significant benefit of this is that students are able to gain real-world knowledge and develop practical skills to inform their studies and future career while also supporting the reserve in an ongoing cycle of placements. Alongside this, the lecture room in the Reserve Centre has been transformed into a digital learning environment with new equipment for students to use and digital augmented reality codes around the classroom for children to learn about the diversity on site in an interactive and engaging way.

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