Buzzing for nature


Broadcaster and wildlife expert Chris Packham is springing into action to lead a water company’s own ‘Nature Watch’ initiative.

He will be at Northumbrian Water’s Durham headquarters (on Tuesday 22 March) to launch the second year of the company’s unique employee scheme to protect and enhance the natural environment.

Three hundred people from Northumbrian Water in the North East and from it’s Essex & Suffolk Water company signed up last year to carry out their own wildlife survey on an area of land at, or close to home.

Together with their families they spotted 18,858 different creatures in everything from window boxes, their own or a friends’ garden, allotments, nearby parkland and elsewhere and improved habitats to help nature flourish in future.

Animals, birds, reptiles, butterflies, amphibians and insects, right down to the humble earthworm, were all recorded.

This year the scheme is being extended to, not only include the hundreds of people who took part previously, but also including pupils from dozens of local nurseries and schools.

Reporters and photographers are invited to interview Chris and John Devall, Water Director, between 10.45am and 11.30am in the courtyard garden in the middle of Boldon House, Wheatlands Way, Pity Me, Durham, DH1 5FA on Tuesday 22 March.

John Devall said: “As a sustainable business we already play a major role looking after the environment and managing water catchments, reservoirs, treatment works, nature reserves and sites of special scientific and natural importance.

“Our ‘Nature Watch’ scheme encourages our people to take that way of life home with them and to change the natural habitat a little, maybe with a bird box or wildflowers, provided by the company.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to take care of the environment and improve it for generations to enjoy and we want our ‘Nature Watch’ project to engage everyone, both young and old.”

Chris Packham said: “The average garden size in the UK is about 160 square metres and if you take off space for things like sheds, garages, concrete and paving, the average garden still has about 100 square meters in which nature can flourish.

“So the hundreds of people taking part at Northumbrian Water and Essex & Suffolk Water have their eyes on many hectares of land and will make a big impact.”

Notes: Northumbrian Water’s Nature Watch is an initiative in response to the UK ‘State of Nature’ report which assessed the trends of 3,148 species and showed that hedgehogs, butterflies and bumblebees were among many creatures suffering dramatic reductions in populations.

People who took part in the scheme last year were given a ‘plant-able seed’ thankyou letter and their choice of a gift of either a bird box, a bug hotel, a tree sapling, wildflower seeds and book or a children’s bug explorer kit.

Please note that the only time available for the media to meet with Chris Packham is from 10.45am to 11.30am. Reporters and photographers should arrive no later than 10.30am and should let Alistair Baker know if they will be attending.

For further media information contact Alistair Baker 0191 301 6851 / 07711 793493.

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