Nearly 500 people took part in a series of talks aimed at highlighting the possible reintroduction of species to South Cumbria.
The project, called Back on our Map (BOOM) was led by academics from the University of Cumbria’s Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas.
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, eighty roadshows were staged across the summer at venues as diverse as Barnardo’s Children’s Centres and HMP Haverigg.
Prof Ian Convery who led the initiative said: “We were delighted at the response to a range of activities we staged along with pilot project activities and embed working relationships with other agencies.”
An online survey reached 218 respondents while project staff visited other projects and reintroduction sites to discuss the project development and consult extensively with agencies, charities and private organisations with an interest.
Prof Ian Convery said. “BOOM’s vision is for a biologically richer South Cumbria championed by communities. Our reintroductions will involve participation from some of the UK’s most deprived communities, and we will work with a range of diverse partners, including Haverigg Prison, Barrow train station, and a number of schools and colleges in south Cumbria.”
He added: “Our project will enable heritage gains in two protected landscapes, for four national priority species, on seven national priority habitats.
Dormouse, Aspen, Duke of Burgundy butterfly, Goldilocks Aster, Greater and Oblong Sundew, Green-Winged Orchid, Maidenhair Fern, Spiked Speedwell, and Small Blue butterfly will be reintroduced, and we will lay foundations for the Cumbrian return of Corncrake and Pine Marten.”
The 2016 State of Nature Reports the UK being amongst the most nature depleted countries in the world. Between 1970 and 2013, 56% of UK species declined, and the UK has lost significantly more nature over the long term than the global average, with the UK the 29th lowest out of 218 countries.
A document has now been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
It is hoped a decision will be made around further funding early in the New Year.