A major bird of prey reintroduction initiative in the North East has been given a new award in recognition of its long-term benefits to the local community and environment.
The Northern Kites Project, which reintroduced the bird as a breeding species to the region, was given the Project of the North award by SITA Trust at the Centre for Life in Newcastle last week.
Northern Kites was singled out for the accolade by SITA Trust, from all of the projects it had supported in Northern England since its foundation.
Established in 2004, the Northern Kites project released 94 birds in Gateshead’s lower Derwent Valley. The first birds bred successfully in 2006, raising the first wild kite to be born in the region for 170 years. The initiative was a world-first in reintroducing the spectacular birds of prey birds into a semi-urban environment.
The reintroduction was backed by a massive community engagement programme. Over the life of the project made face-to-face contact with almost 60,000 people at over 250 events and more than 100 schools in the region took part in the Adopt-a-Kite scheme.
The Northern Kites project was managed by the RSPB and Natural England, working in partnership with Gateshead Council, Northumbrian Water, The National Trust and Forestry Commission, with additional funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and SITA Trust.
On making this award Marek Gordon, Chairman of SITA Trust said: “This particular project was chosen to represent the work enabled by the Landfill Communities Fund because it demonstrated so well what a partnership of community groups, experts, volunteers, public and private sector organisations can achieve. This project involved and engaged people of all ages, from all over the region and its lasting legacy – magnificent birds of prey taking to the skies and breeding in the wild after a break of 170 years - is testament to how a dream can become reality when we all pull together.”
Collecting the award on behalf of the project, Peter Robertson, the RSPB’s Regional Director for Northern England said: “Northern Kites is a great example of what can be achieved through partnership working. By combining our respective resources and expertise we were able to reintroduce the kites in to the area and also to engage with and inspire the local community and wider region about these amazing birds.”
For further information contact:
Chris Collett, Communications Manager, 0191 233 4317/07885 834889
Jools Granville, Communications Manager, SITA Trust 01454 262940 / 07870 253048