A new project is set to be a roaring success at Rings End Local Nature Reserve after winning a share of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The River Nene Dragon Finder Project aims to improve wetland habitat for amphibians and reptiles and to get local people involved in their conservation.
A share of the Â£472,000 grant will help to restore, create and manage ponds on the nature reserve, which provide an ideal home for newts, frogs, toads, grass snakes and common lizards. The project also aims to help local people explore wildlife habitats. Part of this will be achieved by recruiting a new generation of Dragon Finders "“ people to go out spotting and recording the amphibians and reptiles that can be found across the region.
A varied programme of events and activities will be held including Dragon Trail Fun Days, Dragon Boat Festivals, Dragon Boat Tours and opportunities to swim with the Dragons in local pools. A wildlife themed tapestry or "˜mapestry' will be created accompanied by a leaflet providing information on local wildlife sites and the species that can be spotted at them.
The funding has been won by Froglife a national charity dedicated to conserving native amphibians and reptiles. The charity have been working closely with Cambridgeshire County Council and the Friends of Rings End Group, who respectively own and manage Rings End Local Nature Reserve. Over the next four and a half years, people who live alongside the River Nene will be brought together to work on improving, restoring and creating over 150 habitat sites for local wildlife.
Phil Clark, Cambridgeshire County Council Community Green Spaces Manager, said "We are so pleased and grateful to Froglife and to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project and the grant will benefit both the amphibians and people of Fenland. Through the creation and restoration of wetland habitats we will be providing a better place for wildlife. People will be able to visit the sites and we can also provide training opportunities allow local volunteers to discover more of the wildlife around them."
Sandra Mortlock, Friends of Rings End Nature Reserve Group, said "Rings End Local Nature Reserve is already a fantastic place for wildlife but this grant will give it a real boost. It will allow us to create the ideal pond habitats for amphibians. We will also be able to engage more people in understanding and enjoying their local wildlife and recruit volunteers to help maintain these special places."