A call has gone out to Santa to turn to Lake Windermere’s mythical monster for inspiration when looking for a ‘planet saving’ standout stocking filler.
While there have only been 10 ‘sightings’ of the elusive giant waterborne creature on England’s longest lake, two University of Cumbria interns are determined to make sure Bownessie’s miniature green counterparts make a big splash.
With Christmas looming, Ffion Beavis and Louise Mercer said the little cuddly toy with great big environmental messages had a lot to offer.
Studying marine conservation at the university's Ambleside campus, Ffion Beavis said in a perfect world Santa’s sack would be brimming with Bownessies, giving every child a vital insight into how small actions can make a massive difference.
The Gloucestershire student explained: “Let’s face it, a Bownessie is not just for Christmas – it’s for life. We need to engage with children so we can nurture passionate environmentalists and encourage them to influence the people around them.”
Graduate intern from the Scottish Borders, Louise Mercer grew up with stories of the world-famous Loch Ness monster and admits nobody knows for sure what lurks beneath Windermere’s deep, dark water.
She added: “What I do know is that millions of visitors come here each year. If we can reach them and show the benefits of making slight tweaks to everyday lives, there’s real potential to create a sustainable future.
“Adults hear the news, know we have to cut CO2 emissions, but remain disconnected. As we’ve seen with the Greta Thunberg environmental movement, children a have huge impact on vital messages and actions.
“We don’t want to burden them. They should enjoy the lakes, mountains, woodlands and wetlands as we did, but learning through initiatives like Bownessie, which includes activity and information packs, there’s a lot of fun to be had too.”
Part of University of Cumbria’s ambitious £2.3 million European Regional Development Fund’s Eco-Innovation Cumbria project, the aim is to help eligible small and medium sized business reduce CO2.
It provides fully financed internships to eligible companies through student researchers and graduates of up to 140 hours. They support a wide range of projects, including waste reduction and improving efficiency.
Since it started in Sept 2016, the scheme has helped 70 to businesses and organisations across the county.
Lakes businesswoman Naz Craig, who created Bownessie to help encourage young visitors to the Lake District, she said she was delighted her brainchild was being used to a such good planet saving effect.
Find out more on: https://bownessiewindermere.wordpress.com/
Eco-Innovation Cumbria is led by University of Cumbria in partnership with Lancaster University and the University of Central Lancashire.
Picture shows University of Cumbria Eco-Innovation interns Ffion Beavis, left, and Louise Mercer with planet saving guru Bownessie on the shores of Lake Windermere