On June 25th, our fantastic volunteers, project team and local supporters gathered together outdoors at Ryman's Gardens for a celebration, to mark the end of the Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands (FLOW) project.
This project was funded to restore wetland, improve habitats for wildlife and protect local communities from increasing flooding events across the Manhood Peninsula. The five-year restoration phase of the project was funded by a substantial grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, enabling FLOW to transform 50 green spaces and raise awareness of the importance of wetlands.
Despite restrictions, we were able to celebrate in style with an afternoon and evening event, each hosting a small group of guests who had all made an impact on the project. The sun shone throughout the occasion, enabling the guests to view Ryman's pond, which was restored during the course of the project, and take a leisurely tour of the beautiful and wildlife friendly gardens of Ryman's House.
An afternoon of cream teas and fabulous homemade bakes were prepared for the hardy volunteers who made this project possible. The volunteers had previously been used to meeting up to three times a week to undertake conservation work for the project, so it was uplifting to be fully reunited again after 16 months of postponed group gatherings. Project staff discussed with the volunteers their plans to maintain and expanded upon the amazing work they had achieved.
In the evening, a barbequed feast and superb live acoustic music were enjoyed by more volunteers, as well as supporters and collaborators of the project. Local landowners, parish council representatives, and other local charities had all contributed to FLOW's achievements and developed their own wetland conservation knowledge in the process. The Community Conservation Partnership aims to expand this communication network, to ensure wildlife corridors on the peninsula and the surrounding area are protected for the long term.
Trustee, Gina Scott, and Co-founder of MWHG, Jill Sutcliffe, spoke on behalf of the Group to thank those who had been involved with FLOW, noting that everyone had gone above and beyond to make it a success. Administrators, including Wendy Peters, and other behind-the-scenes helpers were acknowledged for their invaluable work. Guests and FLOW staff were also given individual gifts to commemorate their time with the project.
So, what is the future of FLOW? Your continued support and enthusiasm will be vital to help MWHG protect the unique wetlands on the Peninsula for future generations. MWHG volunteers and members of the FLOW team will be hosting weekly wetland conservation activities from September - we hope to see you there! You can hear about upcoming FLOW volunteering activities by subscribing to our volunteering news.
Do keep in touch with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, and check out our FLOW page to see the outstanding results of the project, including our free Trail Guide which allows walkers to discover the beautiful sites restored over the last five years.
Sincere thanks and best wishes,
The FLOW Team
The FLOW Team. L to R: Field Officer Chris Drake, Communications & Engagement Officer Emily Sabin, Project Leader Jane Reeve, Website & Social Media Officer Nicola Timney.